Monday, December 3, 2007

The Business of Craft Online

I hear many artisans worrying this year about slow holiday sales. Just like traditional retailers, individual craft sellers and gallery owners rely on this sales period for the bulk of their year's revenue. And slow sales now make for difficult times.

One of the business lessons I've learned this year is that it may not be wise to focus exclusively on internet sales. Certainly, marketplaces like Etsy, Smashing Darling, Indie Finds and Aussie site Mintd are opening up some new venues for sales by independent artisans. But I think people are still somewhat wary of a purchase based on photos alone, especially a higher-end craft purchase. So much of the allure of handmade goods lies in things one needs to experience in person - texture, subtle color variations, the way a piece of jewelry sits on the body. When buyers can't experience that first hand, they may turn to another source. I'm working hard to get my jewelry into local retail stores and galleries, where customers can see what they're getting first hand.

But I do have online shops, and I want them to do as well as they can. Because there's such a limited opportunity to showcase your products in a small onlins space, one of the keys to online sales is product photography. It makes sense to invest time and money in good equipment and good photos - you don't need to go spend thousands of dollars on a high end digital SLR and studio lighting equipment, but a good light box (homemade is fine) and, most important, the right light bulbs, are essential. Here's an example of how lighting affects photos. This picture was taken in my homemade light box (corrugated cardboard, with white tissue paper sides), using two nvision 27 watt daylight balanced compact fluorescent bulbs from a big box hardware store.

The next photo, of the same piece, was taken in a light tent purchased from TableTop Studio, using two 30w trumpet top daylight balanced bulbs. The green background is a piece of cardstock. The white to black sweep background, which real photographers can achieve with good lighting and experience, is a paper background that I purchased.

The difference is, I think, dramatic, and the lights were the single most critical piece of equipment. I find that customers respond much better to high quality, professional-looking photos. Good clear photographs are also critical for applications to juried shows.

One of my goals for next year (yes, I'm planning for the slow time in the midst of the holiday rush) is to continue to work towards improving my photos. I'm even considering sending a few pieces to a professional who specializes in craft photography to see what happens.

In the mean time, I'm going to finish my holiday shopping - and continue buying handmade!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Holiday Sales and Business

Now that we've survived the infamous Black Friday and Cyber Monday, I'm thinking about this year's sales patterns and how to plan for 2008.

Business thinking can be tricky for artists. So many creative people struggle with the idea of asking for money for their work, no matter what they think about its artistic merit. I think it's particularly awkward when we've started a conversation with a potential customer that centers on the work itself - we get to talking about design and color and style, and then it seems strange to bring money into this relationship that's started to develop as a personal one. I know that, when I speak with people at craft shows, I end up with lots of intimate information about their lives. For some reason, stories about crazy mothers-in-law seem to come up more often than anything else. ;-)

In all seriousness, though, art as a business has its own nuances. As individual producers, our businesses are limited by what we can produce with our own hands. The idea of coming up with a design and leaving the construction to someone else isn't appealing to me right now - but for many artists it's the only viable way to a significant income.

Liz Fuller's blog, More Than We Know, offers advice, information and insight to women entrepreneurs, and she's featured a few artists (including me!) lately. Check out her site for more thoughts about art and business.

And now for something completely different: I have to share this new design, because it's so close to my heart. I call these "Sarah's Style" earrings, as a nod to my six year old daughter. Sarah has her own inimitable sense of style and quite definite opinions about not following the crowd. I hope she'll hold on to these traits!

Happy Friday, everyone! Here's to a restful and renewing weekend.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Want More Color?

How's this for bright and fun? Etsy's Whirlwend seems to be catering to one of my big weaknesses: fun felted bags and goodies!

I would be thrilled to receive this bag as a gift. I'm just sayin'. :)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Cyber Monday? At least it's not the mall..

So, today's supposed to be the big crazy online shopping day. I did get up really early (not so much by choice), and I've made a few purchases, but at least I wasn't standing outside in the cold or fighting over a parking space.

This week, I'm looking for gifts for younger people in my life - my children, my niece, some young cousins. I want gifts that are unique, safe, interesting for the kids, and full of bright color. How adorable are these little Waldorf-style dolls from Etsy seller germandollsfor stocking stuffers? I want a set, but I can't decide whether to spread them out among the younger kids or just give my little daughter the whole set so she can have a family full of these soft babies.

I love the colors of their little outfits and the mix of skin colors. Just beautiful.

So, get out there and shop! And buy handmade. It's so much nicer.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Buying Handmade for the Holidays - How Does Your Flower Grow?

So, if I'm serious about this Handmade Pledge, I'd better get shopping!

The biggest problem is that the more I browse around for gifts, the more things I see that I want for myself. ;) My wish list is getting really, really long.

Here's my Trunkt wishlist - some really, really beautiful work there:

Stone Soup Jewelry's Trunkt Wishlist

And my Etsy browsing is endless, I think. I want to share a couple of cute flower finds today.

My newest favorite shop is Happy House Quilts, with some really cute hair accessories, lovely greeting cards with felt pins attached (these would be great for gift wrap), and best - craft kits for ornaments, felt hair accessories, pins, etc. I have a niece who'll be getting one of these.

I'm also loving Peg Grady's flowers made from recycled aluminum cans. Again - great for gift wrap. I'm trying to waste as little as possible in wrapping gifts (I'm always consumed with guilt at the idea of all that paper being tossed after such a short life!), and these are not only made from recycled materials, but can have a life of their own after they're removed from the gift. Wouldn't you love a collage of these in a wall frame?

Next? COLOR. Lots of it. Stay tuned.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sublimely Ridiculous

Today's workspace is one that I love not only because of how it looks, but because of what comes out of it. Etsy seller Artsy, featured this week, has an eye for the silly and sophisticated. This is upcylcing with a BIG wink. And a work space that's orange, to boot - an underappreciated and truly fabulous color.

When I get down to serious work on my studio space (I promise, it's happening), I want one of Artsy's assemblages on a shelf in there for inspiration.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Last week, when I was blogging about great bags, I mentioned Mandinka, who puts together bags from men's suiting fabric and finds a new way to look at something familiar.

Today, I'm loving the ties from Etsyian toybreaker, who continues the spin on men's fashion with fabulous ties. If you've given your dad a boring tie for every holiday for the past 20 years, shake him up a little with one of these:

That one is cool, though if you're looking to make a different sort of statement, there are noose neckties, too. And these ties are made in a truly fabulous studio space. See how great design comes from a great environment? Check out toybreaker's Flickr photo group to see more of this great studio space.

What's going on for me today? Some reorganizing at home, and a promise to myself to get at least a couple of hours in my own workroom. I'm thinking pearls for the rest of the week.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Different Kind of Room

As I sat last night and thought about more workspace images to share, I found myself drawn more and more to the thoughts I had yesterday about a workspace being an intellectual or emotional space. And the One Laptop Per Child project provides just that. This isn't an artisan project, per se, but there's plenty of creativity and great design in both the concept and the execution here.

I love everything about this program. I love the fact that the laptops run on Linux. I love the fact that there's a solar energy panel. And the idea that this project will make new kinds of education available to children who have so little...well, it really seems to good to be true. I hope the program works as well as it sounds like it will. My big concern for now has to do with the way the laptops will be distributed once they reach the target countries (for the donor program, those are Afghanistan, Cambodia, Haiti and Rwanda). I have my fingers crossed that the organizations distributing them to kids will hang in there and make this all come together.

What a great way to empower kids.

Monday, November 12, 2007

A Room of One's Own

Virginia Woolf was right, of course. It makes a huge difference to have a space to yourself, whether it's physical or just emotional. Taking the time to step back and THINK quietly for a few minutes every now and then is probably the one tool I use that does most to maintain what's left of my sanity. I grew up as an only child, and so I'm used to being able to solitude if I want it, and it's harder and harder to find these days. I think that's why I'm always drawn to creative work, because so much of it is solitary and focused just on the moment.

But the actual room - not just the mental "room" - is pretty important, too. In that spirit, I've promised myself that I'll get my little workspace into good order this week, and to offer some incentive I'm peeking inside the workshops of other artists. To begin - printmaker and Etsy seller Marissa Lee has this great little space - organized and calm. I love the way the photo feels.

Aren't the pink walls fabulous? And the work that comes out of this space is pretty great, too. Check out Marissa's shop!

Now, off to finish some work in my space so I can show you a photo that won't make us all cringe! Happy Monday.

Friday, November 9, 2007


It's the last great bag feature of the week. Today's indulgence is from 2 Fresh Petunias and owner/designer Stephanie Ignazio. Stephanie is creative, fun, and fashion savvy, and her bags are just like her. She's using some great new fabrics, including this pattern - "Optic Obsession" - for fall:

I've known Stephanie for a while now, and I love all of her bags. The construction is flawless (she's a bit of a perfectionist, I think), the fabrics are lovely. She has a great eye for color and line. Treat yourself!

And now we return to our day, already in progress. Hope you're all gearing up for a perfect weekend. My plans involve at least a couple of hours spent locked away with a book I want to finish, and some work repairing a hole in my closet (it's in my shoe rack. I need a new pair of boots.).

Thursday, November 8, 2007

And Now for Something Completely Different...

I love it when someone finds a fun, quirky twist on the ordinary. Etsy seller mandinka has done exactly that with these fabulous bags made from men's suit coats.

I love this concept. Not only are the bags a gorgeous mix of color and texture, but incorporating the labels and buttons is, I think, a stroke of genius. It's like a little wink - an acknowledgment of the original purpose of the fabric, and of the style elements that went into the suits, and a really creative way to see something ordinary in a completely new light. Just fun.

I'm putting one of these on my Christmas wish list. Which is getting longer by the moment. Sadly, my list of gifts already purchased for others does not compare in length, probably indicating that I'm greedy and selfish, but really, it's all in the realm of the theoretical. It's not as if I'm spending money that should go to gifts for others on myself; I'm just spending time and thought on myself instead of shopping for everyone else. And I'll get to that in due time, I promise.

And, in that spirit, a little shout out to my mailing list subscribers: look for an announcement today that can give you the best of both worlds - some savings on gifts for other people and a little extra for yourself! If you want to get in on the secret, email me and I'll add you to as a subscriber...

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Fabulous Color

I've got more terrific upholstery bags to talk about, but I thought I'd throw in something a bit different today. Etsy seller lusitania has some gorgeous felted pieces, including this great little bag:

And it's even better when you look at the back!

There are some very cute felt beads and other goodies in this shop, too. Check it out!

I'll be listing a few new pieces of my own later today, once I have some more coffee. I'm also cooking up a few ideas for holiday sales now that we're into November. And did I mention that there's FREE SHIPPING on everything in my Etsy shop right now? Just in case you want to get control of that Christmas list early.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


Good rainy morning to all! We're still adjusting to the time change here, which means that my kids are quite literally up before dawn. I continue to wonder whether they were switched at birth with my real babies in the hospital, and if some family somewhere has my kids, who've been acting sensibly and sleeping sweetly in their little beds for hours at a stretch. Imagine. Yawn.

At any rate, more fun stuff today. Was I content to leave my weekend show with only one funky handmade bag? Course not. My booth was just down the aisle from Holly Canoni of Pookabokit and her gorgeous bags, many constructed from upholstery fabrics with rich colors and delightful texture. My new treasure is a backpack, much like this one:

And it's not just the bags that are fabulous. Holly and her daughter, Beth, were warm, friendly and really funny. They made some slow times at the show a little more interesting (and believe me, after spending 10 straight hours in a cavernous exhibit hall with concrete floors and nonstop canned Christmas music, I needed that). Drop them a line or look for them at their next show - I promise you won't be disappointed. The website doesn't begin to do justice to some of the beautiful pieces Holly has constructed.

And now I'm going to sit and stare at the walls for a little while longer until I really wake up.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The first step is admitting that you have a problem...

Well, I'm back from the huge weekend craft festival. Interesting experience for me, in many ways. I learned a great deal about what NOT to do with a booth set-up, and how important it is to research shows to determine whether your work is a good fit, and how important good comfortable shoes, no matter how ugly, really are. I do hope that my feet will forgive me some day soon.

I also indulged myself a bit, after all those hours of standing, and, well - I bought a bag. And then I bought another one. And I'm considering more. There were a few vendors there with really interesting bags, and anyone who knows me knows that I have some, er - issues - when it comes to overbuying bags.

So let's just go with the addiction and make fabulous bags this week's blog theme. One of my purchases over the weekend was a Carogi bag. I'm telling you, some of the fabrics I saw were unbelievable. These bags are made from high-end upholstery fabrics in some really funky designs with lots of great color.

They're not all my style, but still - the workmanship is lovely, and the designs are sure to attract some attention.

Stay tuned tomorrow to see my second indulgence. And in the mean time, please check out my Etsy shop - I'm adding quite a few new designs this week, like this one:

and I'm giving the whole shop a new look, trying to pull things together a bit more and integrate the design. I'd love to hear your feedback!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Candy Hangover?

How are you holding up today? I didn't raid my kids' Halloween bags as much as I feared I might - but now it's early morning and they're still in post-sugar rush sleep, and here it sit with the rest of the candy. It's LOOKING at me. It knows I'm here. Eep.

On a slightly less intimidating note, today's orange crush is a piece from one of my favorite Etsy sellers, neile. Her butterfly pendants show off some of nature's loveliest work.

Isn't that just beautiful? And rest assured that the butterflies whose wings grace these pieces have died of natural causes.

That's my Thursday morning goodie. Now to begin another day of my mad rush to prepare for this weekend's enormous show. I've had a blast and I feel incredibly productive after the past couple of weeks, and I have a nice stock of pieces ready, but my poor fingers are not pleased with me. Calluses, cuts, scary scratchy hands...I could have covered the rest of my body in black or white and just taken my hands out trick or treating as a terrifying monster costume last night. Let's hope a few days off will help them!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Elegant Orange

Happy Halloween!

Continuing this week's celebration of orange, I'm featuring a fun print from studio1212, whose charming dog portraits are almost enough to make you forget about the shedding and chewed shoes. "Proper 1" is a lovely rendition of what I hope will be my next dog - a standard Poodle.

Now, get out there trick or treating, and save some for me!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


More orange today, this time as an accent color. It's almost Halloween (of course, if you asked my 6 year old, it's been "almost Halloween" for a couple of months now). And so, we need...MONSTERS. Scary ones. Creepy, crawly, nasty monsters with big bloody fangs and faces that turn even the bravest of men into whimpering piles of fear.

And I've got just that. Here's something from Mint Conspiracy that will scare the pants right off you.

OK,well, maybe not. Cute, though, isn't he?

You can read more about these little beasties at Jill Christine's blog.

Tomorrow, maybe I really WILL scare you.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Orange is the New Black

First of all, a cheer to the Red Sox! Fun World Series this year.

Now, the business at hand. This week's theme for fabulous indie work is a color that I've somtimes hated, sometimes loved. Lately, we're in a love phase. Orange can be a little tricky, but the artisans I've found do lots of interesting things with it.

Monday's find is this great Giclee Poppy Print from Etsy seller Modern Art Everyday. I could cover every square inch of open wall space in my house with this stuff.

More orange to come tomorrow!

Friday, October 26, 2007

New Feature Coming Soon!

Happy Friday, all!

I'm working on a collection for a feature I'm going to be starting this Monday - a Design Theme of the Week. I'll introduce the theme on Mondays, and then will feature an item from an indie artisan each day that embodies it. I've got some ideas brewing already - colors, foods (of course), cultures, news stories - it should be fun. I'm looking forward to sharing some of my favorite artisans.

For today, though, a little plug for my Etsy shop. The moon has been absolutely breathaking for the past couple of days (and with these obscenely late World Series games, I've had plenty of time to look at it). It's a classic spooky Halloween full moon, often surrounded by clouds swirling by. And at midnight last night, it was fabulous.

My Lunar Surface Earrings are out there, a nice way to think of the moon even if you go to bed at a decent hour.

Enjoy this gorgeous fall weekend - and do get out and have a look at the moon.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Nervous Wreck!


There's a lot for me to feel nervous, excited, jumpy about today.

First of all, the World Series (or, as my daughter calls it, the World Serious) starts tonight. I grew up as a Phillies fan and now I'm in Red Sox Nation. Anyone who knows the history of those teams knows that their fans don't ever really rest easy.

Second, I've got a HUGE craft show coming up next weekend - the Christmas Craft Festival at the World Trade Center in Boston. We're talking a three day event with attendance estimated at over 30,000. It should be fun, and exciting, but holy glue guns, Batman, that's a lot of crafters and a lot of shoppers! I'm now alternately worried that I won't have enough jewelry to last the weekend or that I will be lost in the shuffle and won't sell enough to recover my (rather hefty) booth fee.

And finally, I've had a lot of coffee this morning. A LOT. I was hoping to work on a coffee pendant to go with my Epicurean collection, but I'm thinking a saw is not the ideal tool for me when I'm this highly caffeinated.

Yours in jitters....

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Fall Classic

A little sleepy again today, this time because another loved one took time away from my sleep. But staying up late to watch the Red Sox win was probably worth it. ;) Now I'll have to be sleep deprived for the rest of October watching those late World Series games. Ahh, the things we do for our children and our childhood allegiances.

In honor of the red hot Sox, I thought this might be appropriate.

Check it out in my Etsy shop!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sunday Shopping

It's a beautiful fall day, but while everyone here gets up and ready for the day, I'm doing a little virtual shopping. I'm looking at one of my favorite indie style blogs, Modish, and dreaming at the moment of redecorating my house from top to bottom.

And check out Modishoppe, the blog's sister site, for some really lovely indie finds! It's a nice little online storefront - I'm hoping to sell some pieces there soon, too.

Once I head out for the day, I'll be enjoying a walk in this lovely fall weather and a stop at the Dunstable Artisans annual show. I'm going to be picking up a beautiful sweater I ordered from weaver Kim Niles and looking for some other treats for myself.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Children, Sleep and Stargazing

Ahh, motherhood. Such joy, such fulfillment - even when your child wakes you before dawn on a Saturday morning. Even the dog is still asleep.

So here I sit, with a LARGE cup of coffee and a bright-eyed 2 year old, ready to share with you something I created when I was feeling both more awake and more exuberant about the joys of motherhood. The Sun, the Moon and the Stars:

I made this pendant with my daughters in mind, and the two bezel set stones are their birthstones. The idea, which is explained at length on my web site here, is that our children mean the world and more to us, and that we'd give it all to them in a heartbeat. Even when the precious little darlings rouse us from our beds at some ungodly hour.

It sounded more special when I wasn't propping my eyes open with toothpicks.

Oh, and these would make lovely holiday gifts for other sleep-deprived moms, don't you think? ;-)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Be Still, My Heart

I've given in, and I'm not ashamed of it. ;-)

I've been saying for years that heart jewelry was overdone, especially when you look at what comes in those little aqua boxes...but now I'm making hearts.

I started playing with the idea when a customer at a craft fair approached me with an idea for a heart-themed pendant with the initials of two loved ones incorporated. She'd been looking at heart shaped stampings with engraved letters, and that wasn't quite doing it for her. So I came up with this - two closed, stylized hearts that link together but move around freely, with handforged letters fused in place.

In the process of forming the hearts, I've also made this Nested Hearts pendant, with a tiny heart suspended from a larger one. I think I'll end up giving a piece like this to my newly pregnant friend (seems like a nice symbol of life growing from life, don't you think?)

And there you have it. Love someone today!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

More MOO and recipes, too!

I have my cards from the fabulous people at MOO and I couldn't be happier with them. Funky little things, these. I'm planning to use them as promos at my upcoming show in November - I'll have a basket of MOO cards on my table, each with a little surprise discount on the back ($5 off purchase, or free extras, for example), and I'll invite browsers to pick a card and apply it to a purchase right then and there. Here's a shot of my cards:

Now, the recipes. My Epicurean Collection jewelry has been quite popular (people must be hungry!), and I'm having a lot of fun with it. From now on, I'll be including a recipe with each piece from the collection. Here's what I've got so far:

Garlic Clouds (little savory puff pastries, and they are heavenly, indeed) to go with this pendant

A really lovely Vanilla Cinnamon cupcake for this one. There's a lot of butter involved, so you'll need to be brave. ;)

One of my favorite Thai lettuce wrap recipes, with just a touch of heat, for these Chile Pepper earrings.

All of the recipes are my originals, or my variations on something I've discovered while wandering through my frighteningly large cookbook collection. More to come!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Shopping Tip of the Day

I recently discovered Artisans Market, a lovely little online shop with tons of handcrafted goodness. There's some furniture here that I really think I must have. Take a look!

I've set up a gallery of my own on Artisans' Market, too. Check it out here!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I'm Baaaaaack...

Hello everyone!

I'm back, with the resolve to stick around and keep posting for a while.

Lots going on here - and I'm ramping up for a busy holiday season and looking around the Web to see what I can share. I'm going to be posting daily with a recommendation for either a great site for cool product reviews, or with a particular favorite handcrafted item that I've found.

Today's plug is for Rare Bird Finds, a great blog with a nice snide sense of humor. ;-) Oh, and the fact that they featured my Aspen Leaf Pendant recently doesn't hurt, either!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Farmer's Market

I love this time of year in New England - I end up at one of the local farm stands almost every day to revel in the gorgeous summer vegetables. Last week, I bought a head of lettuce so beautiful it could have been a flower. And it really is true that fresh, locally grown food tastes so much better than the sad things we buy in huge supermarkets that have to travel thousands of miles to reach us. I'm working hard to focus on eating local foods and to make sure that my kids learn about eating responsibly, both for the sake of their own health and the health of their environment. I have a long list of books waiting to be read, including Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and Frances Moore Lappe's Hope's Edge: The Next Diet for a Small Planet.
On a more frivolous note, I'm working on some food-inspired jewelry designs. I have a garlic clove pendant in my Etsy shop now, and I've got more to come later this week:

Enjoy midsummer, and eat well! :)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Shape Sorting

My newest earrings are apparently my 2 year old daughter's favorites. I stacked black cube beads on sterling silver backgrounds, and when Heather saw them, she said, "Good shape sorting, Mommy!" :)

Speaking of blocks and shapes, I've found two Etsy sellers to add to my favorites - both of whom make beautiful wood jewelry. Snowgalvin's pieces, like this beautiful bracelet, are inspired by furniture (I love this idea):

And I'm going to get myself one of ShrkB8's great wood rings:

What are you coveting today?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Back to this space after a too-long hiatus. I've been working on some new metalsmithing skills, and renewing some old ones that I haven't used in a long time. I'm really happy with some of my new pieces, and still working on developing them.

My particular favorite is my Flower Garden Necklace:

I've got earrings to match, and am expanding on this idea with a flower box and flower pot set, to be listed on Etsy soon. I found some lovely little glass beads in interesting shapes to use as "flowers," and the flower box will have trailing peridot vines, as well!
These pieces require some patience and dexterity, and some days I feel a little dizzy after focusing on soldering all those flower stems, one at a time - but I still like the results.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Lampwork Dreams, Part 2

This week's glass artisan is Deborah of Red Dog Designs. As a dog person, I'm particularly fond of her shop name, and touched by the fact that it was inspired by her long time canine love, Redford.

Deborah has been working with glass since 2001, full-time since 2004. Her love of color, metallic tones and variations in texture makes her beads distinctive. Deborah prefers to work with the inspiration of the moment, and so each of her beads or sets is one of a kind.

She says that ancient designs are a big part of her inspiration, and that's evident in some of her patterns - my particular favorites, in fact.

She works out of her home studio in coastal North Carolina, accompanied by her second red dog, Lucie. When she's not making beautiful glass or covering her kitchen countertop with beads (I'd be happy to come over for dinner and help clean off the counter ;) ), Deborah enjoys fiber arts.

Deborah's beautiful work is for sale in her Etsy shop and once a year at the Bead Renaissance show in Tucson, AZ (February 4-11, 2008). And now I'm off to buy some of her fabulous work myself!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Lampwork Dreams, Part I

Anyone who knows me and my work knows that I have a bit of a "thing" for bright, funky lampwork. It borders on an addiction, actually...I shudder to think how much time I spend browsing around looking at pictures of beautiful glasswork.

I've decided to do a series of features on some of my favorite glass artisans, so that I can show off their work.

Kris of CreationsByKris has a fabulous eye for color and bold, graphic design elements.

Kris lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons and three cats. She's an elementary school teacher, and lampworking is a part-time venture for her, but she says her head is always filled with visions of color schemes and beads.

Kris works in her garage studio, creating beautiful little pieces of art, and she's only occasionally interrupted by a ping pong ball. :)

See more of Kris's beads in her Flickr gallery .

I'm waiting for some lovely cobalt and lime beads from Kris's studio now, and I'll post pictures of my finished work with them when it's complete.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Host a Virtual Trunk Show!

So...I've managed to schedule a couple of trunk shows of my work at some local venues - a paint-it-yourself pottery place, a dentist's office (hey, after digging around in mouths all day, I'd want to treat myself to some fun jewelry, too), and a friend's house. But the bulk of my sales are either at craft shows or online, and I needed to find a way to expand from there.

I've decided to start offering the opportunity for customers to host Virtual Trunk Shows. How it will work, basically, is that the host/ess will invite friends, family, random people on the street, whatever, to shop in my Etsy shop for a given period of time (a week or two), and I'll give the host a special code for customers to enter. Then, based on sales from the virtual show, I'll offer the host some incentives (a certain percentage of total sales in free jewelry, a credit for booking additional shows, etc). Seems easy enough, doesn't it?

Anyone interested? :)

Monday, May 14, 2007

What should I do next?

Thinking about ways to make this blog more interesting...I'm considering a few different ways to feature fellow Etsy sellers. There's so much talent out there, and so many funky things on Etsy. But I need a theme of sorts. Maybe I'll start with the simplest thing and feature artists from my part of Massachusetts (west of Boston). Ideas, anyone?

Sunday, May 13, 2007


I went to a lapidary show yesterday. Quite the experience. Saw lots of beautiful things, lots of not-so-beautiful things. Met some really interesting people, and some unsavory characters. Funny when you ask someone, "What's this stone?" and get answers like, "Oh, that's Eastern European Mashuganite. Very rare." Mmm-hmm. It's so nice to see creative genius like that put to good use to fleece unsuspecting bead buyers. I'm glad to be a part of this highly ethical industry.

I picked up some great new stuff from vendors who didn't scare me, though, and I'm itching to start playing with it. So keep checking my Etsy shop for creations of beauty beyond your wildest dreams (or at least some nice new earrings). I found gorgeous aquamarine and rhyolite, which are among my favorite stones. And while you're shopping, please take a look at the earrings I listed to benefit autism research. It's a cause near to my heart, and while this is a small gesture, it's something.

My 5 year old's musings, in honor of Mother's Day: her preschool teacher asked her what her mom does to take good care of her, and Sarah's response was, "She gives me foods I like that are healthy and also foods I don't like that are healthy." Fair enough. :)

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Designs for Spring

I was up early on this beautiful, cool spring morning - I had all the windows open and was awakend by the sound of birdsong. Cliched, but really quite lovely. :) This is one of my favorite times of year, when the flowering trees are at their peak, the new green foliage is out, and the sun is here, but when mornings and evenings are also still cool and damp and really quiet. May mornings are times when I don't mind so much that I'm not a city dweller any more...

I've got some beautiful new beads from my dear friend Pam (check out her work at and time to play with them today. I have lots of new treasures, too, in muted shades of peach, earthy greens, and blue. I'll be listing more earrings on Etsy this week, and I'm hoping to get some necklaces out there, too, now that people aren't wearing turtlenecks and pulling up their coat collars.

Do you have favorite color schemes or stones that you like to wear? I'm always happy to hear about what my customers like best. Let me know!