My adventures on the information superhighway...

This blog chronicles the activities of my Etsy and Artfire shops, and my adventures as both a jewelry designer and information specialist.

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Coming in 2011...

Well, now that there are very few shopping - and shipping - days left until Christmas, I expect that my shop will slow down a bit. I'm looking forward to a little break, but I'm also planning ahead to 2011.

I'm always influenced by nature and the seasons, so most of my new creating will be white, crystal clear, or pale, icy blue. Greys will figure prominently as well.

Last winter I created this Ice Crystals bracelet. I plan to create similar bracelets and coordinating earrings, perhaps from these lovely crystal quartz and white agate beads.

These lovely pale blue beads of chalcedony, blue lace agate, and aquamarine remind me of the frozen waterfalls we see while skiing, and snow on a blindingly sunny day.

Grey has figured prominently in my fall creations as it was one of the "it" colors of the season, and I'll continue to create pieces in this lovely neutral hue, especially out of Petoskey stones.

These beads have been selected to be earrings and a necklace, respectively.

And of course who could forget paua shells? Grey, but also every color of the rainbow the paua shell is the perfect complement to the iridescence of snow and ice.
These gorgeous, wine colored pearls will be the perfect addition to my January creations which will feature garnets heavily.

And as February approaches, I'll begin to add more items featuring amethysts to my shop.

And in other news, I'm planning on re-starting my semi-regular interview feature, and I've got the next interviewee all lined up for January, so tune in to see who it is!

I'm also happy to announce that my Metallic Coral Rose Antique Brass Ring was featured as part of Handmade Highway's Craftjuice Tuesday today. Check out the post here.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Big announcements

It's been a few weeks since my last post, but I've got big news this time so I wanted to wait until I was completely ready.

First off, in honor of American Thanksgiving, I'm having a sale in my Etsy shop! I've taken advantage of Etsy's new coupon code function and have created this code: THANKS10 which will give you 10% off anything in my shop, before shipping. The code is good through midnight on Nov. 29th, 2010. Here's a helpful article on how to redeem coupon codes on Etsy, but basically you just enter the code in the "shop coupon code" box upon checkout.

I've spent the past week creating, taking pictures, and writing descriptions like crazy so that my shop is as full as possible. As someone who is both American and Canadian I'm so very thankful to be able to celebrate this wonderful holiday twice each fall, and I'm happy to pass that feeling along to you with this sale. Here's a selection of Autumn-hued items presently in my shop:

Secondly, I'm happy to announce the Grand Opening of my Artfire shop!!! The focus of this shop will be slightly different than my shop on Etsy. Instead of wirewrapping and semi precious stones I'll be focusing instead on resin flowers, and vintage glass and metal findings. The idea is to produce modern pieces with a romantic, vintage vibe. I am, for the most part, inspired by Victorian culture, and the Romantic literature of the 19th century. Right now I mostly have rings and hairpins in my shop, but I plan to add more earrings and brooches, and I'll be creating coordinating bracelets and necklaces in the new year.

I'm also happy to announce that I've had the opportunity to do some guest blogging in the past few days. First, I was the guest finder for the Oh Canada! Team Friday Finds feature last week Friday. I filled in for new Friday Finds "finder", Leanne, of LeanneDesigns. And I was given the opportunity to do the Shotgun Shopping post this past Monday on the Handmade Highway. I had a lot of fun doing both, and am reinspired to write more frequently, here, on my own blog.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Preparing for the Holidays: Gift Giving

Well, although we've only just finished celebrating Halloween, it's time to start thinking about the upcoming holidays. More and more I prefer to do my shopping online, and living in Canada the shipping can take quite a lot of time as the postal system gets clogged up with holiday deliveries. Also, not surprisingly, my favorite place to shop recently have become Etsy and Artfire, but with their growing popularity it's best to start early!

I've got a fairly extensive list of people to buy for, both male and female, with widely divergent tastes, ranging in age from 3 to 83. While some people are always incredibly easy to shop for - my mom, for one - some remain extremely difficult (no, I'm not naming names), and some have begun to pose more of a challenge recently - like my teenaged nephew. It seems that the older kids get, the harder it is to find something appropriately "cool".

I find that it's so much more fun to give unique gifts to my friends and family knowing that they're going to be the only ones in their circle to have them. Many of the items I've ordered in the past have been graciously customized in some way by the seller, and that just makes them all the more special.

I started to do a little preliminary shopping and research this past week, and in order to organize my thoughts, I've created a few treasuries on Etsy. Of course, I started my search close to home, focusing on the offerings of my own team - the Oh Canada! Etsy Street Team.

Since I have so many women to buy for, my first treasury focuses on shopping for the ladies, and is entitled: Canadian Holiday Gift Ideas - For the Ladies

My second treasury, Oh Canada Team Holiday Gift List - Quebec Artisans features some of the extremely talented artisans that live and create in my home province of Quebec.

I promise I won't overwhelm you with a barrage of gift lists, but I do intend to keep curating gift themed treasuries as we approach the holiday season. Because virtual shopping is fun!

And did you notice, I've learned how to make my embedded treasury pictures clickable? I'm pretty proud of that ☺

Friday, October 29, 2010

I was in the Etsy Finds!!!

I'll apologize right off the bat, this is going to be me, shamelessly boasting as well as doing a post-and-run, but I couldn't let this day go by without marking it on my my earrings were featured in the Etsy Finds!!!

This is a first for me, and I've been riding a wave of excitement all day, well, since early this afternoon when I finally figured out why my shop was getting so many views.

Late last night I listed two pairs of fairly similar earrings on Etsy. I tweeted one pair, and also listed them on the Team Oh Canada! Facebook page (I'm the page admin). I left the other pair alone because I was, quite honestly, exhausted. Life ensued this morning, and when I finally got a look at my computer I was shocked to find that I already had 190 views!?! On the pair that hadn't been promoted in any way, shape, or form??? That's so many more views than I average per day, I wondered what the H was up? I checked around and found that my savvy teammates already knew what I did not: I was in the Etsy Finds!!!

Here's the pair of earrings that made it in:

And the scary thing? I totally agonized over the lead picture. Actually, I thought that the picture above looked a teensy bit overexposed and I almost chose one of the ones with the black background instead. (My husband assures me that I'm nuts about the overexposed bit...I guess I'll ask him the next time I list something!)

Here's what my Craftopolis page looked like earlier tonight:

The day ended with 1059 total views, 13 shop hearts, 209 on the featured earrings, with a number of hearts on other items as well. I also made three sales!

And I'm also happy to report that my Oh Canada! and Créateurs d'ici teammate, Caroline of KhalliahDesign was also featured in the Etsy Finds! Woot!!!

Yes, that's me, well, my earrings, next to the cute pumpkin hat.

So, thank you from the bottom of my heart, Mike, who was Etsy finder today. I've noticed that Mike often chooses Canadian shops or focuses on our great nation when he's the finder. I don't think he's Canadian??? But maybe he just has an affinity for us ☺ I'm actually an American transplant myself...

though I've been here for 16 years now, so if he's interested in Timmies, hockey, snow, and friendly people...I urge him to visit more frequently ☺ We're actually pretty good with the written word, comedy and ..., music ..., and art too! And, seriously, if he wants a tour...I'll be glad to give him one! This is a wonderful country, and I'm so very proud to be a citizen, and amazingly happy to be a part of it.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Beach stone treasures

So, my last post was about driftwood. It seems fitting that this one should be about beach stones. While oceanside beach dwellers and vacationers are accustomed to collecting shells, those of us that frequent inland lakes - especially the Great Lakes - have a habit of picking up beach stones. Those smooth, flattened rocks that have been tumbled by nature's tumbler - the Lake.

I grew up just a stone's throw from Lake Michigan, and continue to return there each year. My great-grandfather captained a number of Lower Lakers, the slang term given to freighters that ply the Lower Great Lakes and St. Lawrence, and I spent my summers, and part of my falls, sailing and swimming in the Big Lake. In fact, I'm proud to say that I've gone swimming in ALL FIVE Great Lakes. Some in very chilly weather!

While I've been collecting beach stones, driftwood, glass, and other things from the beaches for years,I only recently started , to display them in old-fashioned blue-hued Mason Jars. I got the idea from an article in Martha Stewart Living way back in '03, of all places - I preserve sand as well and I label each jar with the origin of its contents - I find that it makes a nice display in our den.

I've also started to use beach stones in my Etsy creations. Some are sandstone, some are limestone, and some aren't identifiable past their main type: igneous, metamorphic, sedimentary. And that's with a geologist husband!

And some are Petoskey stones. That coral fossil rock peculiar to Michigan. The state stone. And the elusive beach treasure for countless children who comb Lake Michigan's northern beaches.

Some of my beach stones are stones that I found myself over the years. Some were found by my husband, son,
or mom and given to me. And some have been found by my super supportive Dad who lives lakeside, and who's been sent on a mission to find more! In any case, they're beautiful, unique, and certainly a statement for anyone who wears them.

Please check out my Flickr album and my Facebook page for photos of my many ring styles, as well as my Etsy shop. I'm more than happy to take custom orders ☺

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Beauty of Driftwood

This is going to be kind of an odd, reflective post, but I promise, I am going somewhere with it. People have asked me about my pictures - which I find incredibly flattering -
and I do work really hard on them, but one of my "secret" ingredients is usually a simple piece of wood. Photography-wise, I find that it can help with the colors when you've got a mostly automatic camera as I do. But I also feel that it adds a personal touch, a piece of "me" in every photograph.

Because it's not just plain old wood that I use in my photos. It's driftwood. That gorgeous, wave-tossed and smoothed sun-dried
type of wood that can only be found on the beaches of lakes and oceans. And I've been collecting it since I was a little, tiny child. I've even made several mobiles out of driftwood with my Dad, one of which hangs even now in my office.

I grew up less than a 30 minute drive from the Big Lake - as we call it back home. From May to mid-October I spent as much time as I could there, in, or on, or walking next to, the water. My great-grandfather was Lower Laker ship captain, and I've either been in, or on, the water ever since I can remember.
Driftwood has always been a wonderful natural resource for climbing, sitting, dragging or writing in the sand...or providing people and bridges for elaborate sand castles. One of my greatest joys has been imparting my love of the lake to my son.

It's a wonderful thing to sit on during bonfires...or to roast marshmallows with ☺

A number of people in coastal regions use it as a kind of lawn art.

And it provides wonderful memories and incredibly gorgeous photo opps.

As Fall takes its place in the seasons, I feel more and more a bittersweet pull towards the sunny beaches and sparkling waters of the Great Lakes. Because I really do enjoy the truly gorgeous Autumn we have here in Canada and the Northern US, and I absolutely love winter, but in the back of my mind I'll always be hearing those waves, feeling that amazingly fine-grained sand against my skin, and waiting for it to be warm enough to go in the water again. And keeping all that souvenir driftwood around the house? It helps me get through the brutal Canadian winter ahead...

*all photo credits are mine, or belong to family members.
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