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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Monday, April 26, 2010

Mother's Day ideas and more treasuries

Well, Mother's Day is fast approaching. It's May 9th this year, which means that procrastinators like me need to start thinking hard about what we're going to get for that most special of women - mom. In my family, the month of May is especially full of gifting as all three mothers - me, my mom, and my mother-in-law - all have birthdays in that month as well. And who do you think provides the shopping list for all that gifting? Well it's certainly not my husband!

So, in anticipation of all those events I've put together this Mother's Day wish list in Etsy's Treasury East. And because I wanted to also highlight some of the beautiful work by my amazing teammates, it's composed entirely of OhCanada team members.

Usually when I create a treasury I pick items based on their color, or around a particular theme like flowers or bears or something. This means that I may include teammates, but also other shops that fit my theme. But when you limit yourself to specific shops it forces you to think outside the box, in terms of how items might flow with one another based on the properties of what each shop owner has listed, and what organizational models will and won't work.

Because I was thinking mainly of my own mother when I created this particular wish list, I picked things that fit her style. Though she can be artsy and flamboyant at times, this contrasts starkly with the fact that her favorite color is beige.

So I decided to pick one inspirational piece, and went with something that is both beige, and incredibly unique. The entire treasury is formed around this beautiful Asian-style vintage coat from The House of Hearts vintage. To counterbalance the neutral tones of the coat, I chose items in her favorite shades of blues and greens, and then added some bright fuchsia for a bit of extra pop.

I included lots of accessories because that's my mom's favorite way to dress up her predominantly black and beige wardrobe. She loves it all, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings, brooches. And of course, what woman doesn't like a little pampering? So, some handmade soap was included. A pair of slippers for chilly nights harmonized well, colorwise, with the hobo bag and fingerless gloves I'd already chosen.

Then, I went heavy on the notecards because my mom is one of those rare people that does not have email, let alone access to social networking tools, and she still sends frequent handwritten cards and letters to friends and family. I have to admit, as dependent on my computer as I am, I still love opening one of her bright, cheerful notes. It just seems to mean a bit more when someone takes the time to write it out by hand.

Links to the shops included in this treasury follow, where there are many more beautiful things to be found!

By row, L-R
row 1:
dollface deville, The House of Hearts , Tres Belle Knits and Crochet, Fosten Greetings
row 2:
Splurge , Liz-Anna's Lakeside Studio, Dee's Adornments, The Art of Zen...Crochet
row 3:
Boomerville, Simple Sundries, Maple Creek Soapworks, The Sage's Cupboard
row 4:
Ocean Pearl Beaded Jewelry, bstudio, 2 much yarn, Teacup Designs

Some announcements
First off, I'm happy to announce that my team member, Brenda, of bstudio has published a book on ribbon art. You can read her blog post about the process here. It can be ordered in Canada at Chapters/Indigo, and in the US through I just may have to take up a new craft!

I'd also like to link here to my guest post on our team blog on the subject of Canadian landmarks. My post highlights the Lachine rapids of Montreal, Quebec; their beauty, and historical importance. You can read it here.

and finally...more treasuries!

The competition to secure that promised front page spot has been fierce, and my work has been featured in a number of gorgeous treasuries. Please take a look and enjoy the beautiful pieces and excellent curatorial skills.

Fosten Greetings' "Treats for Mom"

Liz-Anna's Lakeside Studio's "Over the Rainbow"

Painting from the Heart's "Blue me Away"

"Brownie points" by bstudio

and "Canadian Metal Artists" by Splurge

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Treasury East: review and How-to

Well, yesterday and today I created my first two treasuries using the new Treasury East. Although it doesn't work quite the same as the Main or West, it's very easy to use and gives a much more immediate satisfaction since you can create a treasury there whenever the muse inspires you. Not when the clock needle hits the red zone. Now, I know it might not get as much exposure as the other two since they are capped at a certain number, but Etsy will be pulling FP features from the East treasury as well, so the potential is still there.

My first treasury, "For the Guys," was inspired by my husband's birthday, and the difficulties I have in buying for him. I read a community survey awhile back which stated that both sellers and buyers on Etsy are overwhelmingly women - no surprise there - but that's no reason not to include items for men. Women shop for men as well as for other women.

Treasuries and choices
When choosing the items to include I used a number of methods. First, I pored through my favorites looking for the lovely cedar strip canoe by millydilly that appeared in the Storque awhile back. My husband built his own 15 ft. cedar strip many years ago and it's what we always use when canoing. I knew he'd appreciate the craftsmanship of this one. I also picked this plant stand made from a maple log by bearpawrustics.

I chose this great blue cycling t-shirt by Vital Industries next. My husband is also an avid cyclist, and I had ordered this shirt for our nephew for Christmas, so I knew it was quite a hit among the guys.

From there, I started entering search terms. Wow! Talk about a lot of work combing through results. From what I could tell, the basic search box can only perform a search on two terms at a time. This wasn't super helpful when I wanted to search for things like "native quebec art". I tried to confine myself to two- and one-word searches using words like "Dave" (my husband's name), "canoe lake", "canoe", and "Algonquin Park". Searching on baja produced this great vintage find by I dating myself here? And searching "wolf" under the jewelry category produced this cool wolf ring by Evesart.

I would never normally recommend searching under a personal name, but I thought it'd be fun just to see what popped up. And it produced this great wallet named "the Dave" by RobbieMoto, this lovely photograph taken in Ontario's Algonquin Park by inthepaint, and the motherlode of Dave-ness, canoes plus Banff, this photograph by ljangphotography of what my husband always refers to as the "20 dollar bill". It's even tagged that way!

I then turned to my team, the Oh Canada! street team, to see what I could add to this great list. This classic men's shaving soap comes from soapstarcanada, and this beautiful wall hanging by taibossigai features a polar bear under the Northern Lights - bears and Northern Lights together, I was so happy! I knew I'd find something at thebackyardbear which is located in Muskoka, and was not disappointed. I chose this cute bear cub on driftwood.

Turning to one of the photography shops on our team, I found this amazing photograph of Okanagen Lake in BC by theeye. As a geologist, my husband has worked in both "ends" of the country (as well as many other spots in between), so I was motivated to find something from Newfoundland & Labrador to match my BC finding.

DO NOT enter "newfoundland" or "labrador" into a search engine and expect to get something geographic in nature! My goodness, the dog photos and dog themed items I found. Now, I am a dog lover, but this was NOT what I wanted in this instance. Whoops! Time for a new search tactic, so I went back to Etsy's front page where I selected "shop local" from the buttons on the left hand side. This produced a number of shops located *in* Newfoundland, but not necessarily about it. So I went back to combing through dogs to find Celticatphotos' photograph of Cape Spear, Nfld., the easternmost point in the country. It seems to have sold since I created the treasury, so I slotted in this beautiful black and white photograph of a wharf in Sandy Cove, Nfld. by sweetapplestudios. Here's a screenshot of the updated version of my treasury:

Ah, 3 spaces to go! I fully intended to use all my 16 slots. I went back to my team page and found this juggler hat by yoyohats. Every Canadian guy could use a new toque from time to time ☺.

I went vintage when looking for a camera, and found this cool old argus number like the ones my grandpa used to use when I was a kid at kissavintagedesign. It's even from my home state!

Finally, my favorite piece in the group. I had a hard time properly articulating what I wanted to Etsy's search engine, but by scrolling through a number of search results I found the beautiful work of SalmonberryThoughts. I chose to include the piece entitled "Polar bear sits" but it was a hard decision, choosing from so many beautiful things!

Of course, it's always a hard decision; the choice, the searching, the limits of the medium. But it sure is fun! And I have my husband's permission to add that he totally and completely approves this list! So get out there and try some themed searches. In addition to all the great pieces highlighted here, I uncovered all sorts of neat stuff that I didn't use for one reason or another, and I also met some nice people. ☺

Advanced search feature
On a related note, there's been a lot of discussion about searching on Etsy lately. I often return to the same sellers, or search for team members, so I had not recently tested Etsy's search features. As a seller, but also as someone trained in information retrieval and a professional researcher, it's certainly of interest to me, so I poked around a bit.

If you click "buy" from the front page it brings you here where you will find the option Advanced Search as the second of the buttons. That takes you to a page containing a search which will be familiar to many library users. It allows you to use quotations for searching, has a Boolean "not" function with its "- sign" feature, allows searching within categories (handmade, vintage, art and crafting supplies, and all items) and secondary refinement with categories like bags and purses, and housewares. As in, the categories that are "suggested" to sellers when listing items. There's an option to include tags, titles, descriptions and materials. You can filter by price, and by shipping destination. Finally, you can sort a variety of ways - and "most relevant" is the default (yay!), and have your results displayed in gallery or list mode.

Fantastic! It does my library school-trained heart proud ♥ Mind you, I don't know how many buyers are going to search this way, but I am super happy to see these sorts of options and controls offered in terms of a search engine.

Oh, I'll talk about my second T-east, regarding shopping for Mother's Day, tomorrow.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Busy teammates equals more lovely treasuries!

Well, my OhCanada teammates have been super-busy this week creating treasuries in the new T-East, as well as in the Main and T-West venues. Here's a an added bonus, they are all Canadian and all-team OhCanada!

"With Mom in Mind," by Chrisssmith22

"Everyday treasures," by sagescupboard

and "For Mom," by SimpleSundries

There's something vaguely thrilling about the whole virtual shopping aspect of creating treasuries, and the whole windowshopping experience of clicking through those made by others. If you haven't made one yet, you should try it, it's easier than you think. And if you're a shopper not a seller, you should check out the tresury lists. I never knew about them before I became a seller, but they're an amazing way to find new shops and get ideas for unique gifts.

Check out the Main Treasury
Treasury West, and Treasury East today!

And as an addendum to my original post, here are two more team treasuries that I forgot to include. That's how busy the OhCanada! Team has been lately!

"Art to go", by LizAnnasOnTheLake

"What I would like for Mother's Day", by OcealPearlJewellery

Monday, April 19, 2010

Treasury East!!!

This going to be short and sweet, but I wanted to post on the new treasury option that's available on Etsy...the beta rollout of Treasury East. It's been in the works for awhile now, and was finally lauched to the community last week.

I have not personally curated a treasury on there - yet - but many of my Oh Canada! teammates have, and it looks like a lot of fun, and a great way to get some more exposure. Here are a few examples of the forerunners in this new medium...

"Wildly Violet", by ShopReinvintage

and "Oh Canada Team Treasury!" by 2MuchYarn

There are a few differences between this new treasury venue and the Main and West treasuries. For example, it's 4 across, not 3 across. Might not seem like much to some people, but on my small laptop screen that's the difference between scrolling and not scrolling to see the entire thing, so I give that a thumbs-up!!! Note as well the social networking features on the right-hand side of the screen.

A potential drawback (timewise) to this new treasury option is that if you want to "click" to add "hotness" is that you have to use your browser's backspace button as the items featured do not open in a new window like they do with the other treasuries. But you are able to see the view and clicks on the same page as the treasury itself, rather than navigating back to the main treasury list as with the other two.

I'm gathering my sources together and will be curating a T-East soon. Look for it to be featured here, as well as a step-by-step how-to explanation.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Photos again, or What to do when you're unexpectedly given a beautiful blue hydrangea

My family and I went off to church last Sunday for Easter and were rather unexpectedly and generously given a beautiful blue hydrangea plant. I happily placed it on our kitchen table where my son refers to it as a "blue tree." But as I started taking photographs for my new earring creations over the week I realized that it would make a great photographic background! Here are a few of the pictures that I took...
I'm not sure that I'll use these as the main thumbnail photo for any of my listings, but I think they provide a little variety and a nice pop of color as one of the five that Etsy allows. As you can see, I got a little carried away with photoediting of the last one. It's a delicate balance for creative types between choosing clear, representative photos, or trying for something artistic in your photos as well as your wares.

And on that note, I also took a number of new shots for some of my older items and slogged through the editing and uploading process in an effort to freshen up listings, but also to provide as clear as possible an image for people to look at.

I think that these three photos are a marked improvement over the previous thumbnail images both in their representativeness of the item, and in their ability to draw people in. I hope ☺
[Yellow quartz ovals, Garnet drops, Rutilated quartz earrings]

Other than that, things have been somewhat quiet around here creatively speaking. I just finished up a lovely custom order and am in the planning stages of making wedding jewelry. I am also looking forward to adding an artisan biography installment to my blog, perhaps bi-weekly to begin with. So check back here if you want to get to know more about the people, and the process, behind all the lovely creations in the handmade world!
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