Follow my blog with bloglovin Linda B's Blog: December 2012

Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 in Review

Highpoints of 2012:


  • Participated in 4 Jewish craft show venues 
  • Created and sold a new wire wrap design I named the Orbit Necklace* and Earrings
  • Had carpal tunnel surgery in November and my skin is finally healing and in 1 layer


*Orbit Necklace Yellow




  • After surgery, I was able to create this simple bracelet:




  • Spent a spiritually recharged weekend in Michigan with friends.
  • Discovered a new auction site called Outbid where I can host my own audio auctions. 
  • Added Tommy the kitten to our family



For 2013, my word is SIMPLIFY


After I finish the taxes, I want to go through closets, drawers and files and discard items we no longer use. I'm a packrat and keep a lot of papers that I probably don't need. 

I plan to use the organization drawers and bins I picked up this year. 

Some of my Jewish jewelry and other handmade jewelry pieces will be remade.

These are just a few of my goals. What are your goals for 2013? 


Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas

I'd like to thank all of my customers and blog readers.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas



Sunday, December 23, 2012

Etsy Team Captain Gift

I got a surprise in the mail a few weeks ago and wanted to tell you about it. I'm an Etsy Team Captain (the EtsyChai team - the Jewish team) and Etsy sent all their captains gifts. 

This is the package when I opened it. 


This has a postcard asking for feedback on what we like about Etsy and what can be improved. 


This is a discount card for some tools and a sticker that says "I buy from real people"


More stickers and in the middle is the Etsy Team Captain badge for 2012. 

The stickers on the left are: 
I quit my day job
Addicted to Etsy Stats (so true)

The stickers on the right are:
I buy from real people
I favorited you last night
and the bottom is a Keep it Real sticker


 The best gift in my option is this 2013 Etsy Calendar


Here's a view of 2 pages. 


I'm planning to use it (once I find it after taking the pictures, I put it in a special place.

Did you get any Secret Santa or other gifts that you like? 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Books and Bookmarks

Do you use bookmarks? I'm an avid reader and have been gobbling up books by James Patterson, Janet Evanovich, Debbie Macomber, Bill O'Reilley and Carol Higgins Clark. 

One day when I was reading, it occurred to me that I have a ton of books and scraps of paper on my nightstand. So, I wrote on my bookmark to blog about this. I decorate with books and they are useful to raise lamps to read in bed. 




Scraps of paper I use as bookmarks



So, here's the thing: I HAVE nice bookmarks that people have given me as gifts and some I even bought. I even make wire beaded bookmarks. 





I'm going to start using my pretty bookmarks. I'm worth it, right? 

What do you use as bookmarks? Do you "decorate" with books, too?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Feline Friday

This morning,

my alarm clock 


was: 

Sammy, the alarm clock


His method: attacking my feet

And it's a good thing because I discovered I didn't set it last night. 

Hope you have a wonderful Friday and a Merry Christmas


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

December - Etsy Shop Review - BBA Team

The December Challenge is all about looking back over the year and reviewing your Etsy Shop.  Can you thing of one thing to do that will help improve your shop?


  


How can I improve my Etsy shop? 

Since I'm not creating much of anything while recovering from carpal tunnel surgery, it might be possible for me to take on 1-2 listings every week in my Etsy shop. 

I am promoting and chatting with my teams again, so I will not set red-hot time limits to achieve these goals:

- Make more Etsy Treasuries and Artfire Collections to promote others. 
- Think about reintroducing featured blog featured sellers on my blog

Expired listings:
-Review photos, reshoot if necessary
-Rewrite descriptions before renewing or move to Artfire where I don't pay to list 1 new item. 
-It may be time to take apart older jewelry items and remake them into new designs. 



Tags & SEO: 
-I've been keeping a document on keyword searches in my Etsy shop, it's worth going through the list and incorporating some of these words into my listings. 
-For example, a search shows Dreidel jewelry vs. (Hanuakkah) Dreidel Earrings that I list. 


Jewelry:
-Replace sterling silver with silver plated findings. My clients aren't all that interested in sterling silver jewelry. I can list it as an option (in a listing, for an additional cost), but having it as a more expensive item has not been worthwhile for me. 
-Decide about discontinuing bridal jewelry line, except for earrings. I have had 2 customers order multiple pairs of earrings for their bridemaids, but the necklaces and bracelets are not moving. While I enjoy making them, it might be best for me to add "Special Occasions" to my tags, too.
-Gemstone jewelry is one of my favorite things to create - with a pendant and a beaded gemstone necklace, but in this economy, the price point might not be attractive for my customers. My favorites might become mine and no longer for sale, and others may need to be designed, using chain or cords. 

This is one of my older designs - Pink Pearl Rose Quartz Necklace which might need to be designed. 

What improvements are you working on for your Etsy shop? 


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Thanks for the Etsy Treasuries and Artfire Collections

Here’s to the good folks at Etsy and Artfire for including my work in their Etsy Treasuries and Collections. Please show all the items some love.

 

National Chocolate Day Shades of White
t_choc t-white
It’s Better Handmade Christmas Cardinals and Hearts
t-christmas t-card
Celebrate Hanukkah Treasury Sunday Blog
t-han dorene

 

Thank you everyone and Happy Holidays.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Exhibiting at Shows and Lessons Learned

In November and December 2012, I participated in 3 synagogue Hanukkah Bazaars. My specialty is creating Jewish jewelry and kippot, so I was excited to be there.

Pros:
  • 1 of my new customers who purchased 2 headcoverings from 1 show suggested my name to the 2nd show, so I attended.  
  • They used a central checkout system, so I didn't have to worry about change or payments.
  • Part of my show sales went to the synagogue(s) as a donation.
  • I was able to get my name and business cards out there into the Jewish community.
  • My first round table set up (way too much)






 Cons:
  • The number of jewelry vendors allowed was not limited, so there was a a lot of competition.
  • All items were not handmade - Handmade cannot compete with resellers (especially jewelry resellers).
  • The number of attendees and foot traffic was light.
  • At 1 of the shows, I did not make back my fees, and the community is not my target market, so I won't be back next time.


Thanks to my hubby and schlepper


What I noticed was sold by others at these shows 
  • inexpensive mass-produced jewelry (earrings under $5)
  • vintage mass-produced jewelry
  • handmade jewelry around $15-20
  • Avon
  • scarves, hats
  • kid's items, toys





  Lessons Learned and future considerations for me:
  • Ask if the show features handmade items
  • If it's a mix, consider lowering booth fees (only 1 table)
  • Limit the amount of items displayed*
I used a round table for the first time and wasn't sure exactly how to set up. Usually, I move jewelry around during the show. At the last show, I began putting things away, reducing my display choices. When I limited the quantity of available items, people purchased or stopped to asked questions about my jewelry and kippot.




Now I understand why some of the successful Etsy sellers produce a few variations of the same item. Too many choices of my handmade jewelry designs overwhelm people and instead of purchasing, they walk on.

I always bring too much jewelry to shows, figuring people need to see it all in person. 

My Show Specials:
  • I emailed some clients and friends a discount coupon (3 friend showed up)
  • Bracelets, scrabble tile and glass necklaces under $10 will be 1 section of my display 
  • I'm hoping that these smaller items will sell and help me earn my booth money back.
What lessons have you learned at shows?


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What’s the perfect necklace length for you?


Women who wear jewelry tend to wear similar necklace lengths, but have a few variations depending on the clothing you’re going to wear the jewelry with. Here are some examples:

16” Choker or princess necklaces – are perfect with summer Ts and scoop necks - I only have 1 necklace that is 16” and it feels like it is choking me.

18” necklace – this is comfortable for me and is quite a common length in snake chain necklaces with a lobster clasp included. I usually add a wire wrapped pendant to this so the total length of the necklace might be 1-2 inches longer. Works well for bridal jewelry, too.

18" - Blue Sodalite Gemstone Wire Wrapped Necklace - I can switch up to a sterling silver chain for an additional cost


20” My antique pink Swarovski crystal galactic necklace



22” My Black Swarovski Crystal Avant Gard necklace is a total of 22", including the clasp


24” - My Green Dendritic Jasper Serpentine Marble Pend Necklace is 24" (the gemstone pendant is 1").


26” My Blue Wire Crochet necklace- 3 strand is 26" – I did include a clasp, but this necklace can also be slipped over your head.



This article was inspired by the article “Short or Long, Necklace Making Tips for Perfect Necklace Lengths” by Beading Daily

What necklace length do you prefer?

Friday, December 07, 2012

Feline Friday

I'd like to introduce you to the newest member of our family, Tommy. We got Tommy through a couple of John's coworkers who were evicted. We were supposed to keep him for 30 days until they found a new place ... you know that story, right? He was 2 months when we got him, so now he's almost 4 months old. 


Tommy is also a new staff member, helping with jewelry pictures. And, in the background you can see Sammy sleeping on the bed. 

Tommy rearranged the earrings this way for the picture. 


Here's a picture of 3 of our 4 boys, Tommy, Sammy and Buddy in the front.


Fritz had to find out what Tommy was up to, going into the cat food container. And yes, I was getting ready for a craft show, so you can see part of jewelry display and my toolbox on the left. Fritz is standing on my portable office with calculator, pens, ruler and ring sizers ... 


We think every day is Caturday, how about you? 


Monday, December 03, 2012

Chanukah is ... Updated 12/6/12

Chanukah -- the eight-day festival of light that begins on the eve of the 25th of the Jewish month of Kislev -- celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, of purity over adulteration, of spirituality over materiality.

Blue Swarovski Crystal Dreidel Earrings



More than twenty-one centuries ago, the Holy Land was ruled by the Seleucids (Syrian-Greeks), who sought to forcefully Hellenize the people of Israel. Against all odds, a small band led by Judah Maccabee of faithful Jews defeated one of the mightiest armies on earth, drove the Greeks from the land, reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and rededicated it to the service of G-d. (Note from LB: This is the true reason to celebrate Chanukah.)

Copper & Black Hematite Beaded wire kippah


When they sought to light the Temple's menorah (the seven branched candelabrum), they found only a single cruse of olive oil that had escaped contamination by the Greeks; miraculously, the one-day supply burned for eight days, until new oil could be prepared under conditions of ritual purity.

To commemorate and publicize these miracles, the sages instituted the festival of Chanukah. At the heart of the festival is the nightly menorah (candelabrum) lighting: a single flame on the first night, two on the second evening, and so on till the eighth night of Chanukah, when all eight lights are kindled.

On Chanukah we also add the Hallel and Al HaNissim in our daily prayers to offer praise and thanksgiving to G-d for "delivering the strong into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few... the wicked into the hands of the righteous."

Source: Chabad

This year, we light the first candle on Sat., Dec. 8 at sundown. The first "day" of Hanukkah is Sun., Dec. 9. Are you having latkes?

Note:
To answer the question Dorene had about why gifts are given at Hanukkah, I did a little research. It is, as I suspected, to imitate Christmas gift giving. But, there is more information. You can read it at http://www.myjewishlearning.com/holidays/Jewish_Holidays/Hanukkah/At_Home/hanukkah-gifts.shtml (it's pretty interesting, I think).


Happpy Hanukkah!