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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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.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Where it all began

I've been meaning to post on this subject for awhile, but just hadn't gotten around to it. But today seems like the perfect day. So, where and when did my jewelry obsession begin? Many, many years ago when I was a very little girl. One of my favorite pasttimes was to play in my mom's and grandma's jewelry drawers, and to dress up in their many sparkly treasures.

I also enjoyed trying on their clothes and shoes, and accessorizing with purses. I had some jewelry of my own too...though it looks like I swiped my Dad's school ID in the last one in this grouping!

It's fitting that I should talk about how influenced I was by my grandma's love of jewelry and all things fashion because today would have been her birthday. Although she passed away five years ago after a long and rich life, I still think of her frequently and I miss her tremendously. We were very similar in personality, and always extremely close.

I always knew her only as Babe, a nickname she'd been given in childhood by her older sisters. It was such fun calling out to her in a store and seeing the shocked looks of other shoppers when my sweet looking grandma answered.

Grandma Babe took care of me frequently, and we spent a lot of time together antiquing, going to auctions and estate sales, and eating out at her favorite restaurant, Fables. She taught me to do lots of different handicrafts and made dress up clothes and costumes for me to play in. She made me toy bears and dolls that I have to this day. I even had my very own bedroom at my grandparents' house with beautiful, thick pink shag carpeting. What can I say, it was the 70's.

Here she is looking quite elegant long before I was born, probably before or after a special evening out with my grandpa.

And here she is holding a very little me, and a slightly bigger me:

I also learned many of my cooking skills from her and always enjoyed helping out in the kitchen. When my cousin and I weren't trying to eat all the olives that is ☺
This is the Thanksgiving that I got all artsy with black and white film.

Here we are all decked out in some of the first pieces of jewelry that I made, though they're quite difficult to see in this picture:

And here is how I always think of her. Dressed in bright colors, nails and hair done, and wearing lots of jewelry. With a bow in her hair from whatever gift she'd opened. And there were always lots of gifts because she was so well loved. She was never one to draw much attention to herself in public, but among family and friends she was silly and the first to poke fun at herself. And always, without fail, any celebration with Babe included Manhattans, and wrapping paper bows as personal adornments.
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