Sunday, June 27, 2010

Logging my favorites...Annie Leibovitz

This is the first installment of an ongoing log of my favorite things.  Once a month I will post a favorite.  It might be a person, or a place, or even a event.  Hopefully it will help you get to know me a little better.  I'd love your comments and I hope to make some connections through our mutual enjoyment of these treasures.

Photographs by Annie Leibovitz

Leonardo by photographer Annie Leibovitz

 The Ladies of L.A. (Sharon Stone, Anjelica Houston, Diane Lane) by Annie Leibovitz

Obama Family Portrait by Annie Leibovitz

She is "a photographer of celebrities who has herself become a celebrity." For the past 25 years, no photographer has delivered more photographs of the people we most want to see than Annie Leibovitz.  Her pictures are recognizable for their intense lighting, and above all, for their unique and surprising poses. In magazine spreads and advertising campaigns, Leibovitz has demonstrated that she is a master of projecting the popular culture of our time.

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

The clock is always ticking!

Time is a precious resource in all types of business.  When it come to managing time when running a partime craft business there never seems to be enough of it.  With marketing, designing, listing, shipping, and so on on my plate time management  is a must. 
  • Time Management Tip #1: Make it easy to do your job.
As a jewelry artist, the key to successful time management revolves around creating new items for my shop on Etsy. To make that easier, I decided the expense of a dedicated studio space in our townhouse was well worth it. I juggle a professional project management career and running a small partime business.  My creative time would be far less if I didn’t have a work space set-up all the time.  Whenever I have a few minutes to be creative I can just sit down at the workbench and create without having to drag all the supplies to the kitchen table. My time is spent creating, not setting up a work space. This is how I make it easier to be creative.
  • Time Management Tip #2: Break things down into smaller tasks.
I simply cannot predict when and how much time I'll have to work on jewelry.  Because of unpredictable business interruptions and family obligations, I have to do my Esty tasks in small chunks. This allows me some small chance of completing things in one go rather than having whatever it was that I was doing interrupted. I set time for marketing, designing, photographing, listing, shipping, etc. as separate small tasks throughout the week.  I get a feeling of accomplishment when I complete each of the small tasks toward the end goal.

No matter how hard I work at my time management skills, there is always room for improvement. Working from home, having an online business, being on the computer all day, make it way too easy to get distracted and loose my entire day answering emails and convos, chatting on twitter, checking your shop etc, and I am guilty of all these things.  To be successful and make money, I had to learn to buckle down and be productive. I'm still working on this but the steps above have been a step in the right direction...

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

You don't have to be the schmoozer....

If you are looking to expand your Etsy business by social networking but haven’t been seeing the results you want, keep these four principles in mind:
  1.  Networking is about making a connection with people, not making a sale on the spot.
  2.  Be your natural self.  People can smell a put-on or sales pitch a mile away.
  3.  Look for connections you can make for your new contact.  Focus on being helpful to your new contact rather than focusing on what they could possibly do for you.
  4. Prioritize following up.  Set aside time each week to periodically reach out to your contacts to see how they are doing and what you could potentially do to help them.
Networking is about building a strong network; it is not about collecting business cards or making sales. The best networking tips to remember are to be authentic, be professional, and be selfless.

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

I'll show you mine, if you'll show me yours...

So, like so many other folks out there I'm starting to think about holiday shopping. ( I know, I'm way ahead of myself again),  I'd like to do most of it on Etsy this year.  Thing is, I find Esty a bit overwhelming unless I have a particular shop or item in mind.  But there's so much great stuff lurking there!  So I thought I'd ask you seasoned Etsy shoppers: what are your favorite Etsy shops?  I'm always looking for undiscovered treasure.  I've shared a couple of my favorites below....

 Left to right; top to bottom:

  1. Amber Alexander, Dancing Bears:
  2. Tea Party Hats, Spring Lavender:
  3. Ali Bali Jewelry, Silver Bird Pendant:
  4. X Moon Bloom, Pet Hat Monster:
  5. Noble Gnome, The River Earrings:
  6. Pogo Shop, Jacob:

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Mother Nature Knows Best.......

These are Geode Agate Slices that I acquired on my recent trip to Colorado.  I've used them in my latest necklace designs.  As you can see, the gray, gold, bronze, purple, ruby and white tones which swirling through the Geode stones are proof of Mother Natures' unique talents as an artist - not too hurried, but outstanding workmanship. Like a lot of us artists, we never seem to make more than one of a kind - neither does she!  The center of each Geode is lined with sparkling tiny crystals which are called druzy. Druzy is formed by water droplets collecting and calcifying on the host gemstone. The result is a collection of tiny glistening crystals that reflect the light beautifully.  These enticing pendants are sure to attract attention, and speaks to the unlimited and unmatched beauties to be found on our planet.  Check out my Etsy shop for additional information about each pendant.
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Friday, June 11, 2010

How to make a photo mosaic...

There are lots of options for making photo collages. You can do a Google search for "photo collage" and find a bunch. But here is what I do: I use a site called Big Huge Labs to create mosaics.

Once you have picked the photos on flickr or from your personal photos file, go to Big Huge Labs and find the Mosaic Maker. Then let the fun begin. ;)

Here are some directions to make the layout that I used for this mosaic – four pictures, with a gray frame.

At the top of the page, you will see the command "Choose Layout." Click on the drop down menu and choose the option – 2+2 with shadow.

You can choose the colors for your frame by clicking on the white boxes that say background color and border color. A color wheel will appear, and you may scroll over it and click on any color you like (I chose white background and grey border).

For "Space between Images" I usually choose 2 pixels which gives a rather narrow border, but this one is totally subjective -- use whatever you like.

You will be asked to choose 4 photos to fill this layout. Note that they go across from the top row #1 & #2, second row #3 & #4, etc.

Once you have chosen your photos, click "Create." If you wish to edit it, click on "Edit" at the top of the mosaic. Then you can go back and delete or change any photos, background colors, etc. When you are satisfied, click on "Save" at the top of the page.

I hope this helps all of you who want to learn how to make a photo mosaic.
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She's such a "Debbie Downer".....

Just a quick comment about the Etsy forum: Enter with Caution! I try not to get caught up in the emotional bickering that sometimes goes on there. I always respond to forum questions with a positive, supportive reply. I believe that a nasty gram response does not help anyone, least of all the person sending it. Remember, everything said on the forum, stays on the forum forever. Getting noticed on Etsy should be because of your great product, not your ‘Debbie Downer’ attitude! Treat others how you would like to be treated, it works every time.
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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Keep it "Fresh"....

Favorite Artist:

Your listing description shouldn't say that your beautiful handmade item has a lovely pastel palette perfect for Easter - in September!

If you have a seasonal description, you should update it seasonally. The above was a really blatant example, but season descriptions can creep in subtly. Minor changes to make your listing "fresh" can make a difference.
Prior to last Mothers Day, I listed my bookmarks under the Tag of "Mothers Day", complete with a holiday-themed description. I ended up selling a few bookmarks, but none have sold since. I don't want to stop listing my Bookmarks in my shop - they really can be a great gift any time of the year. So, I’ve Just reworked the listing and wrote a less seasonal description. Hopefully by updating the description and renewing the listing I will get some additional sales.

Remember keep it “Fresh” and renew often to bring more traffic to your Etsy shop.
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Thursday, June 3, 2010

It's easy being GREEN......

Each trip to the grocery store ends with “paper or plastic?” For those with an armload of fresh veggies and juice boxes – with no canvas bag in sight – the handiness offered by the grab and go plastic bag may possibly win out. But then what?

Plastic bags are most often compared with that prehistoric pest of the earth, the cockroach; once in the home, they’re a crunchy nuisance that refuses to exit quietly. Both will outlive the human race by thousands, if not millions, of years. Both tend to harmoniously cohabitate (and multiply) in the dank, dark, space under the sink. I believe it is time to eradicate the pests.

On your next shopping trip, reconsider your use of plastic bags and take one of the fabulous canvas totes or fused recycled plastic bags available on Etsy. I love the totes that I have featured above, and there are literally hundreds more available; I’m sure you’ll find one that strikes your fancy. Our planet and future generations will thank you.

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Rock Hunting in Colorado

I just returned from a wonderful vacation in Estes Park, Colorado.  The area is a rock hunters paradise.  I purchased several geode agate slices to transform into pendants for my Etsy shop.  I love the deep colors that were available in the West. I will post pictures as soon.
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