Monday, November 28, 2011

A New Holiday Treasury from Design Style Guide!

Treasury from: RSS Designs In Fiber
Holiday Celebration Decorating

Ceramic wall sconce hanging vase

From: Willow Tree Pottery


Old World Style Silk Flower Arrangement

From: Silk Florals by POMA


Pinwheels in Blue Mosaic Wall Hanging

From: Memories in Mosaics


Recycled Juniper Candle Holder

From: jn3 Hand Crafted Woodworks


Mission Arts and Crafts Table Lamp

From: Grand Prairie Woodworks



From: mfeganart


Holiday Decor - Poinsettia, Anemones, Ranunculus

From: LLC


Flower Centerpiece Lace Doily - Garnet Red Flowers in Evergreen Lace - Nature In Art Decor

From: RSS Designs In Fiber


Red Teapot / Handmade Pottery

From: Pat Parker"s Stoneware Pottery


Red Fused Glass Bowl

From: Lynne's Art Glass


Man Cave Coasters, Deer Design

From: My Little Chickadee Creations


Coiled basket wired beaded edge

From: SewDanish - Scandinavian Textile Art


Monday, January 31, 2011

Which Cutting Board Material Is Best?

Inlaid Wooden Cutting Board
   Many people in the pro-wood camp point to a study conducted by Ak, Cliver and Kaspar in 1994 at the University of California at Davis Food Safety Laboratory that seemed to suggest that wood possesses anti-microbial properties and that surface bacteria die within minutes. In reality, their findings were that the bacteria actually were drawn into the wood through capillary action. Once inside the wood, the bacteria no longer reproduced and eventually died off.

   Another argument in favor of wood is that, since wood is porous and allows bacteria to retreat into the grain where it is trapped and dies, there is actually more of a chance of getting bacterial contamination from a non-porous, plastic cutting board.
   While you should certainly throw away an old plastic cutting board that has knife cuts all over it, you can plane or sand down a thick wooden cutting board and be good to go for years to come. Wood is considered a “warm” material, and having a wooden cutting board on display in your kitchen can enhance the feeling of warmth and welcome and give even a modern kitchen a hint of rustic charm.
  A final check mark in the pro-wood box is sheer longevity and tradition. Wooden boards have been used by people for hundreds and hundreds of years. High quality wooden boards can be heirlooms passed down from generation to generation.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Best Deal Going for Online Craft Sales!

There are many places online for artists, crafters and sellers of vintage or supplies for those who make things to sell. But never has there been a better place and price to help you put your wares out there than the "ArtFire Group Deal"

For the bargain basement price of $5.95 a month you have access to a top notch online venue for Handmade, Design, Supplies, Media, Vintage and Fine Art. There are no long term contracts to sign, no commitment past the first month at $5.95. You can cancel at any time or take the time to read all the real advise you have access to on ArtFire, work on your shop and become a successful online seller.

ArtFire  has worked hard to put together some of the best SEO available to individual sellers. ArtFire listings consistently show up early on Google and other search engines. Their 45 day guide offers great tips on how to succeed as a seller on ArtFire. There is a thread by one of the founders that offers the best one on one help for taking better photos I've ever seen. You have several choices on payment methods besides PayPal. They have a customer service phone number with REAL people to answer your questions. Online help is quick and responsive, often after business hours and on weekends!  The internal search engine actually works!The list goes on and on. There is an optimism in the forums with very little of the drama and snarkyness found in many other forums.

This is a limited time offer, so whether you already sell online or wish to start click on this link NOW and find out all about the best deal you'll ever see for access to over 60 MILLION potential customers a month, all for $5.95!

That's over 100,000 people for ONE CENT!

IF THE DEAL IS NOT ACTIVATED your card will not be charged $5.95 or ANY OTHER AMOUNT and your current account status will not change

Here's the link:  ArtFire Group Deal

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Path To Better Online Photos

I have read a TON of good advise on taking great online product photos. I don't claim to have any magic solution that will suddenly transform you into a world class photographer but perhaps I can share with you some of the tips that will lead you in the right direction.
Number one seems to be learn your camera. I've had the same camera for 5 years and learned more about it in the past month than the 4 11/12 years I've been struggling with product photos. Cheapo or pro quality cameras are both capable of good online photography IF you know how to work the camera, or at least how to work around it's limits.
#2 Seems to be lighting. Daylight or equivalent bulbs are very helpful as are led flashlights to create some controlled highlights. Play around with different angles of light and camera placement.
#3, Get artistic. Whether with props or camera angle and or zoom in on a detail. Try for at least one photo that does more than just show the product. The more you experiment the sooner you'll find something special to pull in those customers. Sell more than the item itself, sell a look or mood. Go look at professional advertising photos with an eye towards how you could stage the scene similarly for your product. Watch your view counts for what works.
#4 learn whatever photo editing software you are using. I've used PhotoShop for years and thought I could manipulate my images fairly well.... HA! My 15 yr old daughter has been helping me clean up my photos and between the two of us (and advise from several online forums) we both have learned a lot. ALL photos need SOME editing.
#5 (my own lesson) Don't be afraid to retake your photos. Yea, it's painful and time consuming and we all would rather be in our comfort zone of working on our chosen art/craft, but we all know a few photos and words are all our customers have to use to decide to click on that all important "add to my cart" button.
My photos come a long way in the past year, and I still have a ways to go. It's all about time, but all the inventory in the world is not going to help me if I can't sell the stuff.
Here's some links to some very helpful posts:
I'm sure there are more tips out there, but these have helped push my photos to a higher level .Hopefully some of these tips will elevate your photos too.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Online Auctions During a Heat Wave

Not a great idea.
I had been checking Craig's list daily looking to score a pair of storage cabinets to keep some of my inventory clean and organized. One posting led me to an auction company running an online auction for a large office that closed. I found just the items I wanted and placed a pair of bids on 2 steel storage cabinets that would be perfect for my needs.

All went well till the auction was about to end. The auction rules were that if a bid was placed in the last 2 minute of bidding, they would add 2 more minutes to the closing time, and another 2 minutes if another bid was placed, and so on. GREAT idea, stops all the blasted sniping that goes on over on Ebay.  Also the closing times for the 91 items in this auction are spaced @ 1 minute apart so you can easily keep up with numerous lots that you are interested in. All in all this auction was well put together.

Now comes the problem. We are having one of the hottest, most humid days in Chicago this August. probably about a gazillion A/C units are all straining to cool off every enclosed space in the area. Just about 10 minutes before my first item was to end we have a little blip in the electric service...and shuts off my computer.
RATS! So I start going through the steps needed to get the computer back online and BAM the power dips again! Now I'm getting frantic...and ....upset ( I'll use the nice word to describe how I was feeling). SO 3/4 of the way getting back online ... yep... the #$&&@!! power dips AGAIN!! Now I'm livid, I'm ready to jump in my truck and look for an electric service truck in the neighborhood and let the guys know what I think of their service! GRRRRRR.  I finally get logged back in and I've been out bid...but it's not closed yet so I slam in a bid and wait the two minutes....YAHOO....I won!  But wait .... my tale is not over.... I still have one more item coming up to close, in 28 minutes.

Now what are the odds that approximately 10 minutes before the close of my second item is to close that ANOTHER power dip shuts off my computer? Well it happened......and AGAIN half way through powering up the computer. COME ON!!! What did I do to deserve this?? Only 2 shut downs this time and I managed to fend off another bidder and win the second of my cabinets.

Now that a day has passed I'm a little calmer, but still in disbelief that five times yesterday my computer shut down at a critical time, and those were the ONLY times it did that.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I've been "TAGGED"

Actually, I think this is my second "tagging",  I deleted the first notice of being tagged because I had no idea of what it meant. What can I say? It's tough to keep up with all the things out there on the web. LOL
I was Tagged by Apparently if you get tagged you need to write 10 things about yourself on your blog ang tag 10 other bloggers.'s mine, now go do yours!

1. One of my earliest memories of making anything involved 2 things that would occupy a major part of the rest of my life. The neighborhood kids would scrounge up any lumber we could find and make push cars with prized buggy wheels that were saved from the dump and re-used many times. The nails we needed to build these cars were bought by the pound with pennies we earned by returning pop bottles for the deposit.

2. I spent more than 30 years as an auto mechanic, 25 years with one company.

3. I built my first set of cabinets when I was 17. I needed storage space in Dad's garage for all my "car stuff" and never liked open shelves. I liked things out of sight and neat.

4. I love old Chicago Bungalows. I'm living in one now that was built in 1923. It's the third Bungalow I have lived in. It is about 5 miles from the hospital I was born in and 4 1/2 miles from the high school I went to.

5. The only home I have owned that was not a bungalow was the one I designed and built on a few acres 20 miles south of here. It was totaly modern with cathedral ceilings that went to 15'.

6. When I'm not fixing a car or working in my wood shop (excuse me, STUDIO) I love to go fishing with my buddies. The highlight of which is our annual trip to Lac Seul in Canada for a week (9 years and counting).

7. Besides woodworking  I do stained glass and can fix anything in the house with the exception of electronics. I can't get the magic smoke back into those little black boxes, no matter how hard I try!

8. I do 99% of the cooking and grocery shopping for my wife of 21 years and 2 teens (the Son is driving now and the Daughter is into makeup & hair) Lord help me. I also have a 30 something (I know the age, but I'm not telling :-) ) and an 11 year old Grandson, both of which have lived with us off and on (off right now, whew!)

9. My newest gig is driving a school bus, part time. You can read more of that story in an earlier blog post.
Things have settled down, somewhat, but the stories I could tell....not so much about the kids, but the biggest challenge has to be the IDIOT drivers ariound here..... I don't even want to get started!!

10. I'm a confirmed tool nut and pack rat. For my entire life I have had a problem with too much "stuff" (that's not what my wife calls it). It has got to the point that I'm starting to agree with her edict: " For every box or bag of "stuff" I bring home, TWO must leave." Sell it, give it away or toss it out, it makes no differance, get it out of the house!  Of course as soon as I get rid of some "stuff", I'll need it & have to go buy more! LOL

10 others that I want to tag??  HMMMM.


Tag you're it!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

More Blogs than you can shake a stick at!

I've had a shop over on ArtFire for almost 3 months and not sold a darn thing. Just a few weeks ago I joined a guild. They started something called a Hit Parade where one shop from the guild gets promoted for a week. Today started my turn as a "float" in the parade.

I have been featured in no less than 5 Blogs in one day!!!:

WOW! not to mention numerous tweets, FB posts and posts to the forums over there.

All this from a guild that is about a month old & has 48 members, about 1/2 of which are really active.

I am so impressed!

Now....... If all this results in at least one sale, I'll really be happy!

My studio views went from 1007 (in 12 weeks) to 1249.
That's 242 in just 24 hours!!!

For anybody trying to sell a product on any of the craft marketing sites I highly recomend you join at least one ACTIVE Guild or Street Team. the friendship and support are worth it themselves, but add this kind of promoting blitz, it really is ...PRICELESS.

OK, I'm done bubbling