Thursday, September 29, 2011

Hello Blog, I'm Not Feeling You Today.

So howzabout a bunch of pictures of handmade blown glass?

Silver Lake Studios.

Robert Kaindl.

Lino Tagliapietra.


Light Opera.

Sonja Blomdahl.

I can look at and post these things all day long. You will not find any blown glass at either My Etsy or my Artfire shops

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My Brush With Greatness

I hear Andy Rooney is retiring from 60 Minutes so I get to relate this story once again.

A long, long time ago when I was much younger and less hideous, me and my BFF worked in the same building were 60 Minutes is taped. The DEA also had offices in the building and we were always getting bomb threats long, looonnnggg before 9/11. This fact has nothing to do with the story I'm relating. Just thought I'd mention it.

So. . . it's Friday night. My and BFF are all tarted up and ready to dance the night away at the Copa. Really. We were going to the Copacabana. It was that long ago. We're outside the building trying to hail a cab and Andy Rooney walks out and tries to hail a cab too. Well, we were not gonna stand for that. We were there first. We walk out onto the street and act as pretty as we can. It doesn't take long before a taxi screeches to a stop in front of us.

The taxi pulls off and the driver slows down a bit and asks, "Hey, do you girls know that guy?" He indicates his rearview mirror.

We turn around and see Andy Rooney chasing the taxi down the street, waving his hands and yelling. He chased the cab for the whole damned block and, lemme tell ya, the blocks between the avenues in midtown Manhattan are very long.

I turn to BFF and say, "We're gonna be on TV. 'Doncha hate it when young tarted up girls steal your taxi? I know I do!'"

P.S. We did NOT steal his taxi. We were there first. He shoulda worn a mini-skirt and glitter make-up.

Yeup, that's how I remember it. Except with much less tables. We went there to disco the night away, not watch a show.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Still Trying To Find Ways To Make Money

. . . that don't include being pushy and obnoxious. I've started re-listing on Etsy. I am re-listing the jewelry as new items as an experiment. Etsy used to list according to recency, which meant you had to list as often as possible to show up in a search. They have changed their search from recency to relevance. I am not sure how that works. If you list your item as 'earring, chandelier, crystal'-- pretty standard search terms-- and 100 other sellers use those same terms, how does Etsy decide who will be listed on top and who will be listed way on the bottom?

So far I have found that the only difference the relevance search has done for my items is to drop them more quickly from the top of the search page. They still show up near the top of the search page when they are first listed but they drop very quickly thereafter.

The one thing this new Etsy search thingy has done is to make me write really boring descriptions of my items since Etsy insists they use item descriptions as part of their relevancy algorithm. Soooo. . . I am now going to delete the earrings I de-listed and add them again one by one with new, boring descriptions. Let's hope that helps. Here's the first example of a boring listing. Contrast and compare to the other listings. See what I mean?

Over at Artfire I've gotten a whole lot more looky-loos in one day than I ever got on Etsy. This could be due to the fact that I had to ask a question in their forums. Talking in the forums tends to drive up views since people wanna know where the hell your coming from and what kind of crap your selling. Here, take a looky-loo at the crap I'm selling on Artfire.

Ya know, one of the ways I can try to sell more of my crap is to stop calling it crap. Must work on that. Got a list going now.
  • Smile
  • Say "Hello"
  • Don't call your jewelry "crap"

Yeah, I'll be on my first million in no time!

Today's beauty shot is a mosaic from Chest of Hope, a money raising art project for cancer. Well, not for cancer, that would be stupid. Nobody's for cancer. If anything, it's an art project against cancer. You all know what I mean.

Monday, September 26, 2011

I Needed You, My Invisible Friends!

Yesterday's Astoria Market Fair was a major bust. The time before I made enough money to cover the table and the beer and food me and Hubby ate and drank. Yesterday we sold a total of no earrings, no bracelets, no necklaces and no boxes. Making a grand total of negative one hundred and ten dollars. That's table, food and beer. We still had a blast. There were live bands. The first, a cover band, rocked out. The played Led Zep, Steve Wonder, Bon Jovi, Earth, Wind and Fire, The Doors-- all the songs old folks like me and the Hub could groove to. Except P-Funk. There was no bop-gun to shoot Sir Nose D'Voidoffunk with.

And, as always, the other vendors were the best. Friendly, lovely people quick to lend a hand and give advice. The painter next to me told me she made a thousand dollars at Astoria three shows ago but she barely made table the last two show. "That's how it goes. Sometimes you make a killing, sometimes it kills you." I'm a little bloodthirsty, I'd like to kill and kill again.

Another thing I'd like to do is to somehow get this show mobile. I'd like to be able to pack my crap up, load it on a luggage rack or similar and haul it by public transportation all by my lonesome. This will require me to buy something else. I have decided that I cannot buy another damned thing for selling jewelry until I make something selling jewelry. In the beginning I sold lots of stuff but, not only did I put every dime I made right back into "the business", but the month of September was a big, gigantic bust making me quite leery of sinking more money into an enterprise that sells nothing.

What I am going to do is open up a second internet storefront. This one with Artfire. From what I understand, Artfire is free for a month and then you get to choose from a Basic Plan, which is virtually free, and a Pro Plan, which is 11 dollars a month-- no listing fee or percentage paid. On Artfire I plan to list my boxes, necklaces and bracelets. Earrings and pins will remain at Etsy.

Now all I gotta do is figure out how to take nice pics of the boxes indoors. And how to sneak in links to two sites instead of the one Etsy site. How's this picture?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Crass Self-Promotion Only

So far I've finished making all 6 boxes and have filled the boxes with cute stuff. Right now I am sifting through all of my earrings, bagging the ones that are not getting re-priced and re-pricing the others. Because it would be pretty stupid to do it the other way around.

This is all for tomorrow and my second time at the Astoria Market. I'm expecting the traffic to be even lighter than the last time due to all the rain that's been predicted. If you're in Queens tomorrow swing by. Unless you're a crazy stalker/ serial stabber. Then stay away.

For those of you who refuse to click on links, the address is:
Astoria Market
At the Main Hall in Bohemian Hall
(Next to Beer Garden)
29-19 24th Avenue
Astoria, NY 11102

Also for those of you who refuse to click links here's another one for you to ignore. Don't click. Nothing can make you, you link ignoring superstar. You never liked the letters 'a', 'h', 'r', 'e' or 'f' any way.

Friday, September 23, 2011

This Is Not A Paid Advertisement

In the mail yesterday was the mother of all jewelry-making catalogs. The Fire Mountain Gems and Beads Jewelry Makers Comprehensive Catalog 2011-2012 is almost fourteen hundred pages of jewelry making porn.

The first page-- first page! and several pages thereafter are dedicated to metal clay. Metal clay involves a lot of tools, which is bad enough, but the clay cost more than silver wire-- and I can't afford silver wire. So I super can't afford the clay.

And my ability to buy silver has fallen. The Astoria Market will most likely be a bust. It's supposed to rain and rain and rain. People don't usually go to gardens when it rains, even ones where beer and not plants is the main attraction.

The Hofstra fair is looking not at all doable. Real life in the form of expensive tree removal, expensive glasses and a death in the family (sad and expensive) has drained my set-aside money and I won't be able to swing the $125 fee. And after I spent so much preparing for it. I don't feel too bad about those expenses, though. I've used everything I purchased for the Hofstra deal at Astoria Market, except the folding table.

I've also learned that there are tons of Fall Festival Fairs, many indoors. I'll be looking into hooking up with some of those. Now, if only I was able to get my traveling earring show up and going without having to bother Hubby. All I need to do is learn how to drive and buy a car. Or figure out how to get all that crap on a public bus and/or train.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'll be in my bunk. With my catalog. I hear it has a new Swarvoski crystal effect centerfold!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

5 Things I Didn't Know Two Months Ago

1) The Portuguese Man 'O War isn't a jellyfish. It ain't a fish and it ain't jelly neither. They are a collection of organisms. Like a whole colony of crazy-looking stings.

2) Your homeowner's insurance can drop you for no reason at all and without warning. Me, I think there may have been a "no cursed Indian Burial grounds allowed on property" clause.

3) Melissa and Jenny McCarthy are first cousins. Their fathers are brothers. If you ask me, Jenny should have passed on a few skinny genes to Melissa and Melissa should have shared some of her I'm-not-a-retard genes with Jenny.

4)Laughing Cow cheese wedges are real cheese and not processed cheese stuff, like my other favorite "cheese"-- squeeze cheese (you may know 'squeeze cheese' as 'cheese in a can'. You can stop that now). It is not processed cheese stuff but real, good old-fashioned, really bland tasting cheese.

5) Cloisonné is like stained glass work in miniature. Those are actual soldered pieces of metal inlaid with enamel. Ancient cloisonne used teeny, tiny gemstones.

EDITED 9/27/11 Removed broken pic.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

One-Handed Tutorial: Endless Series Update

There has got to be a better way. These one-handed tutorials made on my bed (I'm telling you-- mattress + ass = fusion. It'll happen one day) in terrible light make for some god-awful tutorials. Plus, I never remember to spruce up my stubby fingers and grubby fingernails. That's before even mentioning the fact that when I get into a groove when making something, I forget to take pictures for the garshdanged tutorial! That's right. The very reason why I'm making the piece of jewelry is for a tutorial and I can't even remember the most important step in the 'tutor' part. I end up taking apart something to do it over again.

The above is to show the pain that I go through for you, dear reader. Notice the singular? That's because I know there's at least one of you out there. Hey, if you don't mind, lemme practice on you a bit for Sunday, since it's only you and me here. We'll get to the tutorial, I promise.

Hi! How are you? Do you see me smiling pleasantly? Yes, yes- I made this tutorial all by myself. You say you want to copy it? Why? It's freaking terrible. There are other Tree of Life tutorials out there made by people who know what they are doing with nice manicures and unstubby fingers and clean fingernails. WTF is wrong with you anyway? Oh BTW, wanna buy some crap at my Etsy shop?

Hookay, gonna need more work on my people skills. Maybe start right off with a pitcher of beer. Beer makes me friendlier. Now, why are we here again? Oh yeah, the Tree of Life pendant tutorial. Tree of Lifes are nice because they're pretty simple and straight forward but can look really fancy once they're done. The one in the tutorial doesn't look fancy at all. It was the best I could do one-handed.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Civility 101

Four years in college and not once was I offered Civility 101 and, boy howdy, I could have used it. This Sunday Hubby and I are going back to Astoria Market hoping to sell enough jewelry to cover our drinking, like the last time we were there. What I need to learn between now and then is how to interact with the public in a way that shows how much I appreciate their interest in my junk without sarcasm, or being patronizing, or letting the public catch on to how damn stupid they are and especially, not wanting to clock a biotch at least once an hour. In short, I need to be more like Hubby.

Let's take a few common senarios and do a typical me reaction and hubby reaction:

Senario #1-- Someone approaches the table in the first half hour or so.

Me: (smile)
Hubby: (smile) Hi! How ya doin'?

See the difference? Hubby is right there with a friendly greeting. Me, I don't know that person and can already see exactly how they are doing. They're doing fine and shopping at a craft show. And if they aren't doing fine and are dying of eyebrow cancer-- I don't wanna know. Therefore I do not ask. You'd be surprised how many people will break social convention and answer 'How ya doin'?' without the word 'fine' thrown in.

Senario #2-- Someone approaches the table in the seocnd through third hour.

Me: (really forced smile)
Hubby: (smile) Hi! How ya doin'?

Hubby is just as fresh and sincere as he was all during the first hour. Me? My ass is hurting and I'm already tired of people passing by, touching everything and not buying anything. Really, why must people touch every single thing on every single table? By the time they leave the market, they must be drenched with every bacteria and virus known to man.

Senario #3-- Someone approaches the table in the fifth or sixth hour.

Me: (not even bothering to look up from my iPod Touch) grunt.
Hubby:(smiling) Hi! How ya doin'?

Where?! Where does the man get the stamina to be so friendly for so long? How can he nod sympathetically when some random and strange fat man tells him all about his gout? How does he not even notice when his friendly question is ignored and the public acts as if he's invisible or, even worse, annoying. I gotta tell ya, individual people can be very nice. They can be tired, hungry, curious, happy and the whole gamut of human emotions. But The Public? The Public is stupid, pushy, stupid, greedy, smelly, rude and stupid.

I won't even tell you how fast my husband has to jump in when The Public has been studying my Display Thingy chock-full of earrings for 15 minutes, fingering every single one, pulling some down to look at more closely at them and then asks "Are these earrings?" Before the words "Can't pull the wool over your eyes" has even started to leave my lips, Hubby jumps right in with, "Yes, they are. My wife specializes in earrings, although she does have other things for sale. . ." And he does it with a genuine smile. That man, he is a saint.

Today's beauty shot is silver clay. One day when I'm rich, I'm gonna get my hands on some silver clay and I'm gonna make this or something like this. This is doable, I think, and really cute.

After that, with a great deal of practice, I may be able to pull something like this off. I can't imagine the planning that went into cutting and molding that pendant. And then to fashion so many leaves juuust so to make the ring. If I were a rich girl (Ya ha deedle deedle beedle beedle bum)

Last but not in the least bit least, My pared down Etsy. Notice the prices. It had to be done. Sigh.

Monday, September 19, 2011

I Am Too Disorganized To Hope To Make A Dime

My display thingy is awaiting its molding. That's not gonna happen until Friday or Saturday. I will have to watch The Boy make them so that I can learn how to make the angle cuts with the chop saw my own damned self. I've made 4 of those 'gift boxes'-- the decoupage boxes with either a pendant or a ring inside. What I need to do and am putting off doing, is taking everything down off the Etsy (please visit, yadda, yadda) and starting all over again.

I could deactivate them one at a time. Edit them and then reactivate them. But I've dragged my feet so long on this that I'm going either sell them at the old prices at Astoria Market or have much cheaper prices on the internet than at face to face sales. You know, I should be deactivating and editing right now, instead of writing in this here blog.

Ayeup. I should get right on that. This second. No more procrastinating. Jump to it-- chop! chop!. I'm getting to it riiiiiight noo. . .. Hey, I didn't do a pic today! What should this picture be of? I want it to be personal. Something that when a reader sees it, they'll learn a little something about me and what kind of person I really am deep inside. Lemme go search the internet for that one, perfect picture of the inner me.

Found it!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Yay For The Comforter!

Last night Hubby pulled the comforter out of the closet and we snuggled. So different than the summer when, if Hubby accidentally in his sleep unconsciously threw an arm around me, I'd yell, "Don't touch me! I'm melting!" Because I'm such a loving wife.

What does that have to do with crafting? Nothing except I may get the backyard back. Lemme tell ya, it ain't easy trying to put frames together in a bedroom on a bed. Plus, nobody likes sleeping with sawdust. I can ignore the haunted lob-sided shed, the five foot tall overturned tree stump and the smashed fence-- mostly. But I cannot ignore the waves of bloodsucking MFers that not even citronella candles can disperse. The last time I was out there I spent more time smacking my legs than woodworking. When I got back into the house, my legs were covered in blood and black gunk, I apparently caught quite a few of those evil disease vectors right in the middle of eating me alive. I looked like I was hit by shrapnel.

Finally, today's wire wrapping piece that is not-yet-on-my-Etsy-but-hey-click-here-to-check-it-out-anyways is this here anhkross. Kinda Christian, kinda hieroglyphicy.

Welp, gotta cut this short. Must get screws. Confession time: my woodworking skills are pretty hit or miss.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Soon The Mattress Will Be Fused To My Ass

In order to avoid the cursed old Indian burial ground that is my backyard, I have moved all display thingy operations inside and onto my bed. You would think that woodworking would be impossible to do in bed. You would be wrong. With today's modern marvels like portable, handheld power tools and lazy, old fat women anything is possible.

Work on the display thingies came to a screeching halt when, after I drilled the pilot holes, I could not find a chuck to fit the screws. This problem was not solved until my son came home, looked at the collection of crap on my bed and said, "Hey, here's the bit for the Phillips screw." If the preceding makes no sense to you, I'm happy because that means you have no clue as to how monumentally stupid I am. If you understood my day-long brain fart, I'll give you a few moments to stop laughing at me.

Since I was in the throes of mental numbness and couldn't work on the display thingies, I made rings instead. They're to go into the boxes I'm making. The box the rings are sitting on top of in the picture will not make the cut as the epoxy I used to glue the adornments on turned an ugly color. And it was a very cool box, too. The lesson I learned: use clear drying mosaic glue. The rings, by the way, are not on my Etsy. That doesn't mean you shouldn't visit it.

The boxes and rings should make it to Astoria Market since they have invited me back. Astoria Market invited me back, not the rings (damned free floating pronouns). Like I reported when it happened, I had fun at the craft show but didn't make any money. I didn't lose any money, but I didn't make any either. When I mentioned the re-invite to Hubby, he excitedly said (well, as excitedly as Hubby ever gets) we should do it again. This surprised me at first. But as I thought about it I realized that this craft show was as close to hanging out as me and Hubby have gotten since I lost my job.

We used to hang out twice a month. The Nautical Mile, Loki's, South Street Seaport-- hell, even Buster & Dave's. However, without my job every single dime of our disposable income disappeared. At Astoria Market we met new people, socialized with the other vendors, drank very good beer and ate some delicious bar food-- all for free! Well, not for free. We had to pay for the beer and food but the jewelry I sold made up for it.

What I mean is, if you're in Astoria on September 25th, come by and say 'Hi'.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Kinda Precious: Carnelion and Amazonite

Using rubies and emeralds is nice and all-- at least I think it would be nice and all -- but budget constraints limit the amount of precious stones I can buy to exactly zero. But that doesn't mean I have to limit myself to plastic, resin and glass. Don't get me wrong, resin and glass can be beautiful (screw plastic. It always looks cheap) but there is something about a gemstone that's just. . . sensually gorgeous. And if you go the semi-precious route, you won't have to slash the pockets of Hasidim diamond dealers in the middle of Times Square in the middle of the day in the middle of the street (I saw this happening once with my very eyes).

Take carnelian, for example. These can be bought for as little as 6 dollars for a strand of 8mm rounds. I find it beautiful and interesting. I have seen it in a solid caramel red color but I think the variegated type is more visually interesting.

That's a carnelion at the bottom of these long drops. Of course it isn't an 8mm round but it was still plenty affordable.

Amazonite is always blue and I have a particular liking to it. Early on in my jewelry making experience I bought a strand of square amazonite and made the first pair of earrings that I thought worthy of showing off to friends and family. They were so nice my daughter and niece fought over who would have them.

Here are amazonite squares in a pair of earrings. Not the fought over ones. Those a long gone.

And on a totally out of left field note, I feel compelled to say that I did, in fact, work on the inventory spreadsheet yesterday. I figure if I do at least a page a day, it'll get done in ten days. As opposed to doing no pages a day whereupon I can drive myself insane with guilt for all eternity. Also done yesterday, work on the mini-display things.

P.S., you can find the earrings pictured above for sale at my Etsy shop. Get 'em while they're cheap.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Back In The Swing

Vacation is over. For me, anyway. Yesterday I got supplies for the mini display thingies and stayed up 'til 5 am making boxes and jewelry to go in them. Lookit.

Closed box:

Opened box-- Surprise Jesus!:

Today the plan is to get Hubby to fire up the grill sso we can keep each other company as I work on the display thingies and he makes us all delicious food. It'll be fun. Or it would be fun if our backyard wasn't a cursed mosquito filled old Indian burial ground. Did I tell you? Yesterday (yes yesterday ! When was Irene?) the men came to remove the tree. And they did. Except for the part of the tree that's IN MY YARD! Yeah, we paid them and they cut down the tree all the way to the uprooted part. The part that's pushing over the mishuginah shed and crushing our fence. When he got to that part he said that he needs machinery to do it and the machinery wouldn't fit so. . . good luck with that gigantic tree stump! And then he left.

Not on the to-do list: Finishing up the spreadsheet. Because I just don't wanna. It's all in a notebook anyways. Who needs modern technology? Well, I do but I'm too lazy to make it work. I'll just have to re-adjusted it when I raise the prices at my Etsy shop. Where the prices are still low, low, low, low, low.

Anyone who wanted to add Playworld! at the end of the last sentence, here's a video just for you.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Didja Miss Me?

See, what had happened was. . . hubby was on vacation. Which means I'm on vacation too. I didn't mean to be on vacation but somebody had to keep him company as he laid about doing nothing.

I didn't do absolutely nothing. I did get a tax ID and a vendor's license. A vendor's license is needed in my state in order to do outdoor craft shows and flea markets. I also ordered more business cards. These will be needed if I'm going to change my prices.

What didn't get done: Any jewelry making; spreadsheet filling out; display thingy building; and, of course, blog posts.

About changing my prices-- I don't wanna do it. I know I have to do it in order to have a chance at a real going concern, but I just don't wanna. I am cheap. I look at some of these pieces of jewelry on sale and think "They have got to be kidding!" Only they are not kidding. And I won't be, either.

Another thing I need to get a handle on: How to take pictures of jewelry that isn't earrings. I have a bracelet, multiple bracelet/earring combos, and two necklaces (one is an earring combo) that I could put up on my Etsy ( My Etsy. Take a look. Buy something before the prices go up. They will go up. Eventually. I swear.) but haven't because I have no idea how to take a nice picture of them.

In not-crafty news. I begged hubby for a puppy. He says "No way, Josefina!" We've got two cats and they make enough mess that this lazy family barely deals with. So I say, "How 'bout an aquarium?" And hubby is cool with that. So. . . what should I put in the aquarium? My choices are:

A Chilean Rose Hair Tranantula.

A Striped Knee Tarantula.

Or an Anole Lizard.

Please don't tell hubby what I plan to put in the aquarium. Nor my daughter. If she found out, we may not get her back into the house. When we first moved into the house, the backyard was filled with junk. As we were moving a pile of rotted lumber and iron weights (don't ask me, I had just moved in), we uncovered a teeny, tiny garter snake. I mean this guy barely made it out of the worm sized category. And he was kinda cute. My daughter ran screaming until she was hoarse and did not go back into the yard until there was snow on the ground We moved here in the month of July.

So, um, jewelry. I should make some. I should take some pictures of some. Hubby goes back to work tomorrow and so will I.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Thing Always Take Longer Than Anticipated

How long does it take to write down the name, number, description and price of 98 pieces of jewelry? Ten hours, that's how long. I had expected to fill the notebook and a Word spreadsheet yesterday. I also expected to get the dishes done, cook dinner and get to Home Desperate for more lumber. I was so very wrong. On the bright side, I did get to sleep before daybreak, unlike when I was bagging and tagging.

After the spreadsheet, which I expect to take a few hours (which means it'll take a couple of months), I am going to have to change all my prices. The numbers, in the process of being crunched, are not adding up to much of a profit. The days of 5 and 8 dollar earrings will have to go. I feel bad about this. I mean, really bad. Do you know how many times I've looked at a pair of earrings for sale and said "Pffft! You have got to be kidding me! Who pays that much for costume jewelry?" You know who? Everybody, that's who. Even the mass produced, machine made bracelets from China that are sold as impulse buys at 99 cent store counters cost 5 dollars. That's 5 dollars at the 99 cent store!

There, I think I've convinced myself that raising my prices will not condemn me to the fiery pits of Hell. Almost. Now the problem will be-- how do I go about doing this. I am seriously leaning towards deactivating everything in my Etsy at once and slowly re-introducing every thing at it's new price. This way I can re-bag and tag accordingly.

So that means you should hurry and visit the shop. These guys won't be eight dollars for long!


Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Everything is bagged and tagged because of the craft show, so now is the perfect time to make an actual inventory list instead of relying on my own memory. Which is a very bad idea. Sometimes I forget my own children's names and I only have two of them. ("Eb. . . Jus. . . you know who you are!" You've done that, right?). Surprisingly, I do remember all my pieces. I remember making them and naming them. I just don't remember exactly how many I have nor how much I'm charging for them.

My pricing system goes something like this: What is the price of the materials in this pair of earrings? I dunno. The Swarovski crystals are pretty expensive but the resin beads are damn cheap. These beads were given to me, so they were free. . . um, $5 dollars worth of material? That sounds good. I'll charge eight bucks for it.

I have a sneaking suspicion that even if I sold every piece I've already made, it would not equal my expenditures (again, the number of pieces is unknown to me. For some reason, this fact bothers me the most. I have no idea how many earrings, bracelets, rings and necklaces I have made. None. I R dum) which are partially collected in a plastic bag. My expenditures, I mean. I have a plastic bag full of receipts. These are, by no means, all of my receipts. Just the ones I remembered to put in the plastic bag.

To top all of this off, I have absolutely no idea how many pieces I've sold and for how much. If the piece was purchased through my Etsy-- come visit, buy something and add to the chaos. Do it now while the prices are dirt cheap!-- I have a record of the sale. If the piece was not purchased through Etsy, I have no record and no idea. And I sold a lot through not-Etsy.

Today is re-do day. I will add to my bag of receipts the purchase of one (1) composition notebook into which I will put each piece of jewelry, what it is made of and how much I am charging for it. I will also add more lumber to my bag of reciepts-- for two more, much smaller, Display Thingies. But that will be a story for a different blog entry.

Today's pic is something slightly different. Instead of Art Nouveau it's Art Decco, Nouveau,s angular, geometric cousin.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Fun, Informative But Not At All Lucrative

This fair was held inside in conjunction with a beer garden. In fact, most of the fair-goers walked in from the beer garden. Many of them had condensation slicked glasses of delicious looking beer. The beer garden had wait service for the vendors at their tables. I love beer. Do you see where this is going?

But let's start at the beginning.
How this fair worked: You ask a thousand questions through e-mail (this is very important as you'll not have another opportunity to ask many questions once the fair starts). You paypal your table fee. You get an e-mail back with your table number. You show up at Bohemian Hall a little early because you are eager and chomping at the bit. You find your table number, which was kinda superfluous as the table has both your number and your name written on a sticky paper. You set up.

After spending two days worrying and planning, the planning part paid off big time. It took less than 20 minutes to set up the table:

A few things I learned about my display. I need a mirror. I should make either another gigantic Display Thingy or two smaller ones to flank it. I need a way to showcase my bracelet/earring combos.

The first sale happened as soon as the doors opened to the public. 2 PM start time, 2:05 first sale. Cha-ching! This is great! This is gonna be the best thing eva! I'm gonna make a mi. . . um. . . hello? Two hours pass with only a few looky-loos going by. But there was entertainment.

An hour in the Cupcake Girls showed up and totally pissed off a vendor to the left of me (vintage jewelry). They sold mini two bite cupcakes for a buck. As if that wasn't enough, they wore micro-mini skirts and an apron-- at that's it. They were at the table directly opposite mine, which made Hubby happy. Very happy. Especially whenever they had to replace sold cupcakes on their display. This is because they had to bend over to delicately place each mini-cupcake on it's display stand. They sold a lot of cupcakes. Hell, I bought two. They were nice girls.

An hour and a half in, me and the hubs broke down and bought a mug of beer. We nursed that beer for an hour. But that seemed to break the ice. The vendors to the right of us (original art) also purchased themselves glasses of beer. A quick look at the beer garden's menu showed how economically stupid buying a mug of beer was. One mug of beer-- $6. One pitcher of beer-- $14. Hubby noticed this pitcher enticement when, one by one, the vendors around us started buying pitchers of beer. After nursing our mugs we bought a pitcher too. And then I asked the original artists, "Have you spent more on beer than you've made?"

"I think that's true for everybody. Except the cupcake girls,"

In the end, we did sell more than what we spent on beer as the last two hours things picked up considerably. But not enough to make up the table cost AND the beer. The other vendors, however, were a treasure trove of good advice. All the jewelry sellers (and there were quite a few of us) told me that I am selling my stuff too cheaply. It wasn't because they thought I was underselling them, I don't think. It was more like I was devaluing everyone's efforts. Here's one conversation I had:

"Wow, did you hand wrap those earrings yourself?"
"Yeah. I don't use machines."
"That took you how long?"
"Oh, I dunno. Two or three hours each, maybe."
"And you're selling them for $8?"
"The sterling silver ones are $25."
"Materials aside, you've got to pay yourself!"

Oh and the reason I got to talk to many of the jewelry sellers, besides there being very few buyers for the first 3 hours, was The Display Thingy. Everyone wanted to know where I got it. When I told them I made it (no, I didn't mention The Boy. Why would I? It's not like they'd care) they all wanted to know if I'd consider selling it. No kidding, I got two serious offers for it. Nope, not for sale. It was like pulling teeth just to get this one. And now I'm thinking of making more-- for me.

I would be remiss if I did not mention my wonderful and talented table partner, Hubby. He has table sat fairs in the past, although usually not selling things (he works for a non-profit and is on the board of two other non-profits that frequently set up information tables at street fairs). He'd smile, say hi to everybody. He offered them cards if they didn't like what was on display. He was everything I was not. I have a problem pretending I want to talk to people that I have absolutely nothing to say to. I find it awkward. "Yeah, hi. So. . . what?"

The beer helped.

Next month, either Hofstra or West Hempstead street fair.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Display Thingy

Tomorrow I do not think I'll be making a blog entry as I'm sure I'll be running around worrying and in no shape to type. The Boy came home at 2, just to drive me that much more crazy, and finished framing it.

Just now, with the last bit of sunlight, I painted it.

I tried searching around to see how much something like this would cost me to buy already made but I can't seem to find anything like it.

Aaaahhhhh. Now I feel all better.

You Wanna Sell Jewelry? Do NOT Follow My Lead.

Whodathunk a daggone framed piece of chicken wire would take so long to make? The Display Thingy remains undone. This is because I have to rely on someone who is not me to finish it off. I had just about had it and was going to frame the thing without the mitered corners but yesterday The Boy finally got his chop saw out and cut and attached. . . one piece of molding. . . before going off to a block party from which he still has not returned. He assures me over the phone that he will finish it today. Which doesn't make me all that happy because it still has to be painted and I need it done by TOMORROW.

The state of the Display Thingy. Note in the background our former work table, smashed into pieces by that bitch, Irene.

I did go to the only place I know of around here that sells earring displays but they only have tiny little six inch high piece of acrylic that would hold, at most, 5 pairs of earrings and make no visual statement at all. Not what I need. Why do I live with such procrastinators? Why do I constantly want to kill the ones I love?

The answer to at least one of the above questions is: From you, Mom! I learned it from watching you! I've known for a while now that I need better inventory tracking. My system up until now worked like this:

1. If the piece is upstairs in the bedroom, they are unfinished, need repair or refinement.

2. If the piece is in the box on the dining room table, it needs to be photographed.

3. If the piece is in the drawer in the computer table, it's ready to go.

4. Put all pieces in a small zip-lock bag.

5. Put all the zip-lock bags into two bigger zip-lock bags- one for silver and one for gold.

6. ???????


I also have a large zip bag stuffed to the gills with receipts. I have no idea what the total is. I do not know the total "worth" of my inventory and I do not know which one of these two numbers is bigger. I do not know what system will replace the above system. In fact, I have no idea how to keep track of pieces, prices and expenditures. To make matters worse, I have no idea where to find a clue as to how to do it.

So totally not the way to run a business. Perhaps I'll re-name this blog: How NOT To Do Anything.

Friday, September 2, 2011

I'm Too Old To Be Breaking Night

I've always wondered what it took to be invited to a craft show. Was it secret contacts in the shadowy world of tchotchkes or under-the-table exchanges of batter-dipped deep-fried dough? Nope, turns out all you need is some sort of natural disaster which causes many cancellations, a holiday weekend and an Etsy with an address close to where the show will be held. At least that's what I think prompted my invitation to the Astoria Market on the 4th by the very patient Diane.

Now you may wonder why I accepted a table for September 4th when I spent the last few days crying about how I'm behind schedule for a craft show on September 24th. The first and most important reason is because I'm coo-coo for Coco Puffs. The second reason is because I didn't want my first experience to be with a big, giant, expensive, jury-paneled, need-a-license type dealie but it was far too late in the season to find a smaller, less expensive, friendlier option. And now I have a smaller, less expensive and friendlier option.

So I spent all of last night (and I mean ALL. I finally got to sleep at 5:30 am, which explains why this entry is so damned late) tagging, mounting and bagging every earring I had. I figured it would be the perfect time to take an inventory of what was on hand but I lost count. I think I have about one hundred earrings. And six finger rings. I'm sure about the number of finger rings.

I did not think it would take that long to tag and bag my earrings but I would be damned if I was going to go to sleep before I finished. And, to be honest, the original goal was to tag, mount and bag everything, not just the earrings. However, I am kinda stuck on how to present the bracelets and necklace and the fucking sun came up right in my eye. It surprised and blinded me. So I pretended my goal was to just finish the earrings and laid down right on top of my wooden lap desk and went to sleep. Another day I was happy I work in bed.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Tools I've Never Used

The only tools I've ever used making jewelry are my pliers and cutters. I do have two different cutters and 5 different pliers, though. Wait a minute, I may be lying. I also have a plastic mandrel. But that's pretty much it. Although I really could have used a jig for these two earrings.

Back when I made all of my own jump rings (that was before I started incorporating chains in my designs) I would have loved a coil makingabob. And a saw. But I didn't have one and I didn't use one. Now I buy jump rings becau. . .

You know, I can't go on. I can't continue pretending that here isn't a 40 foot tree that's fallen in my backyard and onto my neighbors house that I cannot get rid of. Plus, there's something dead back there. A mole, a cat, a raccoon. . . something very dead and very stinky that I am not about to go investigate. There are grown men who live in this house and they oughta be good for something. And that something is investigating the smell of death coming from behind the construction bags of crap.

I am now going to start another 8 hours of calling landscaping and tree removal companies in hopes that one of them will be able to come here and, at the very, very least, give me an estimate on what it will cost to regain my sanity.

Oh yeah, Don't forget to check out my Etsy. Buy some crap. It'll help me with the cost of tree removal, which I'm sure is gonna be more than a dollar.