Crunch Time

6 Hands (my mom, sister, and myself) will be at their next show in May. That might seem like a few months away and that I have plenty of time to get ready for it, but in reality, it's tomorrow and I'm already behind. Okay, okay, so maybe not tomorrow, but it seems like it's just around the corner. I have a regular day job and many other interests that can sometimes get in the way of my love of knitting and beading. Unfortunately, I can't sell my musical abilities or my amazing coordination of Walton Arts Center productions and special events at the show. I can only sell my scarves, knit bracelets, and earrings.

I'm lacking in craft show inventory. I'd like to think if I took all of my scarves and bracelets, that they would fly off of the shelf. But in reality, I need to take varied items in varied prices and a lot of them in all colors. Whew. I have some work to do. It's easy on Etsy to post what you like and only what you like because you aren't on a deadline to get it sold in 3 days. Craft shows are a bit different.

I've been busy creating new earring designs and different styles of knit bracelets this week. I'm pleased with what I have so far but want a bit more variety without straying from my mediums. Two of the new bracelets are found above and blow. There are some serious focal beads on these and are a bit different from my usual smaller beads. I'm counting on the fact that they will appeal to more people than my usual. I have a couple in my shop and I'm not sure if I'll post these or save them for the show in May.

Speaking of craft shows, go to the AREtsy Street Team blog and read up on some awesome show tips.


Yo-Yo Ma Once Said To Me...

No really, he did, just today. He said to me "You must be the architect of your own life". It was in relation to balancing my passion for the arts in my life. I love playing piano, bassoon, teaching bassoon, teaching music, teaching music history/appreciation, performing arts management, jewelry making, etc. I can go to work at an arts center and still be a bassoonist. I can still teach - teach my friends - teach my coworkers - teach students - just teach. I can still play - play at work - play at home - perhaps play in a symphony - just play. It goes on from there, I'm sure you get the point.

This conversation could not have come at a better time in my life. I have been spending many hours laying in my bubble baths wondering if I'm going the right direction in my career/life. Guess what, folks? Your career is not your life. Being the architect of your life leaves what you do totally up to you. Perhaps I do work in arts management, who's to say I can't also teach music history some day? Who's to say? I'm no longer going to say.

I can do whatever - jewelry maker/knitting/bassoonist extraordinaire. And soon I'll have my bassoon to prove it.

Note: In case you're wondering why Yo-Yo Ma was telling me this, I work at a fabulous place that allows its staff fabulous opportunities like this. Maybe my being able to talk to him today was one of the reasons I didn't get some recent job opportunities I interviewed for.

Things happen for a reason.

And hey - here's Yo-Yo Ma with another artists making an appearance at Walton Arts Center later this spring - Bobby McFerrin.

And these guys have been to Walton Arts Center too - playing with - you guessed it, Yo-Yo Ma

(hehehe, Fayetteville, Arkansas gets quite the line up)


Important enough to post on both blogs

(as seen on my other blog ehwin.wordpress.com)

I've played bassoon since I was 12 years old and in 7th grade, wait, scratch that. I played bassoon starting when I was 12 years old and in 7th grade and had to abandon it at the tender age of 23 when I graduated. That was almost 4 years ago. I have not played since. To say I "played" it might be a bit of an understatement. It was pretty much everything I did.

Band was everything to me in high school. All of my friends were in band, my favorite memories were from band, my first boyfriend (and 2nd) - you guessed it, from band. I went on to major in music at the University of Texas at Austin. I started out in Music Studies (future band director) and later changed to a BA in Music with an emphasis in Musicology (future college professor). I continued to play the bassoon throughout the entire 5 years that made of my time in college.

You could say that I was a band nerd and the bassoon was more than a hobby, but a way of life. While at UT, I had the opportunity to play on a bassoon far more expensive than I would ever be able to afford. Why buy one when I had that one? There was no need, I would always have that one.

Always just as long as always ended when I graduated. I've since been without a bassoon and have not touched my lips to a reed since May 2004. I've looked into purchasing one, but without financing, it wasn't an option. You see, a good bassoon starts around $5,000 for a student model. The one I played on in school was around $18,000. I had resigned to the fact that I would simply have to go back to playing piano, a bassoon was not in my future.

I have recently been giving the opportunity to purchase a bassoon (thanks Mom!) and have been shopping feverishly. I must get the right one, affordable, yet of good quality. The good ones are hard to catch when they are for sale unless you want to buy new and I'm interested in used. I've found a few I'm going to look into further and I hope to have one within a few weeks.

This really is a dream come true - owning my own bassoon.


The Day The Views Died

Today was an interesting day in the world of Etsy. If you are an Etsy seller and haven't been stalking the threads today, go check out your item views. Notice something?

No, you're eyes aren't playing tricks on you and no, you have not entered the twilight zone. Our views are all reset, back to 1. Etsy explains it this way:

Today at roughly 2:15pm EST, there was a failure on one of our load balancing machines that rendered the site inaccessible. We recognized the failure immediately, but were unable to restore full connectivity until 3:30pm EST.

Unfortunately, tracking down the issue required all of our servers to be reset, which in turn erased all view tally data from listings. It is unlikely that we will be able to retrieve this data to bring them back, but we will try.

We're now investigating the causes of the issue, and tightening everything back up. Those that had a showcase scheduled for today will be refunded.

We apologize for any inconvenience this outage has caused, and we’re doing our best to ensure that it won’t happen again.

Well, at least we got a quick explanation, but I'm still left with a sour taste about this. I was one of the many who used the views to help determine the popularity of an item (should I make more, should I wait until it sells, etc) and the amount of views when first posted. Those things are important to shop exposure, not necessarily sales, but we all know, selling items is only part of the Etsy equation.

*sigh* There really isn't anything that can be done and I suppose it will be interesting to see what items start to get new views in my shop even though they have already been listed. For example, in the screen shot above, all items are at 1 view except my Sea Glass Kaleidoscope Earrings. Not sure what drew people into those... perhaps a treasury? Who knows, I shall go checl.

It seems as though life will go on and the sun will come up tomorrow. This isn't the end of the world, just one of the hassles of business I suppose. So I shall take the Etsy lemons can go make an Etsy Lemon Drop.


To Buy Handmade

There has been quite a bit of emphasis in my little world with buying handmade lately. I've tried to adhere to that when buying new things for gifts or for me. It's a bit hard to follow when it comes to clothes and shoes that are affordable or the obvious things like toilet paper and such. The idea is to support the artist and not the big corporations. Here's my questions - what if supporting the artists is also buying something from a large company?

My brother is an illustrator and you can find all kinds of yummy things to look at on his website, MrBiggs. We, we being the family, often have access to things he's done in it's original form. However, he is an artist that supports himself with his drawings, therefore, we often have to buy mass produced items. It's still an artist work, it's still incredible, it's just not printed in his house. Is this so wrong? I don't think so. He gets credit for it and I'm guessing he gets his cut (Brian, correct me if I'm way off with that one).

I recently (a few minutes ago) purchased a stationery set from Galison/Mudpuppy. The image on the set is seen above. My brother did the illustrations and it rocks. You can be hip and cool like me and purchase it here - Galison/Mudpuppy - it's only $9 and you get 20 sheets of stationery, 20 envelopes, and nifty stickers. Find me a better deal elsewhere, I dare you.

I'll end this with saying that I will do my darnedest to buy handmade when it makes sense, but in this case, it certainly did not make sense.


New Bracelets Posted

I will be posting some fresh, new bracelets in my Etsy shop this week. These bracelets are unlike any other in my shop and will be hard to part with. They are striking, chunky, unique, and perfect to welcome the spring months in with. Hurry on over before they disappear.

I'm please to finally have some bracelets to post. I've been stuck in an earring mode lately. Mostly due to time constraints. It's obvious that a bracelet takes a bit longer than an earring to make. I finally just took the time to make what I love the most. Hopefully it will pay off.



Arkansas - more than Wal-Mart and Tyson Chicken

The AREtsy Street Team has it's blog up and running. In the future, this blog will serve as a great place to learn about some amazing artists in the state of Arkansas. For now, it's a great please to go do some shopping (either the kind that ends with a purchase or some window shopping - either way works for us).

So go, go now and see what The Natural State has to offer:



A Good Ending

Today was a good ending to the work week. (note - work is my 8 - 5 job, not my jewelry making endeavors) It's been a heck of a work week. There have been multiple party time events, multiple event type events, plenty of stress/heartache/a few tears, and the potential for change. Yes, a busy busy week.

I didn't get as much jewelry made as I wanted to, but I finished a few earrings, my most favorite bracelet thus far (see at right) and started a washcloth. I don't really use washcloths, okay, I never use washcloths. However, the cotton yarn was colorful and it's a good way to practice some new stitching as far as knitting goes. So yeah, a washcloth is in the works. I suppose I did more crafting than I thought a few minutes ago.

Anywho, back to the end of the week part. I had big plans tonight to work on the AREtsy blog (I'll post the address when there is actually something to look at), make another bracelet or two and to finish that washcloth. Instead I watched 2 episodes of 30 minutes meals (both new to me), some Cops, some other TruTV shows (formerly knowns as Court TV), What Not To Wear, and then Dress to Kill on DVD. It wasn't a productive night, but it was a relaxing evening.

I lazily came up stairs to check the internet world out. I saw that I had one email, one little email, obviously not one single person loves me, no one. I opened up that little, lonely email to find that a bracelet sold. WOOHOO. I like that. That one little email was a bit larger than small I suppose. My sales have been surprising me like that. They come when I least expect them to. Perhaps I should pretend I will never make another sale, imagine what would come of that!

Anyways, tonight was a good ending to a long and exhausting week. Tomorrow I'll start anew and craft away... after Jazzercise and Movin' Out at Walton Arts Center.



Happy Valentine's Day

What a romantic day today can be for so many people. Gifts are exchanged, jewelry given, candy consumed (or in the case of my Sweet and I, we had heart shaped pizza), and flowers presented. It is a great time of year to give and exchange gifts. My Etsy street team, AREtsy, did just that. Sally, over at Dogwood Lane, organized a Valentine's Day swap between AREtsy members. Something that took a few hours to make, something fun, something cute, something handmade.

I sent a bracelet and some earrings over to Denise - you can read about it at her blog. I was proud of my gifts to her and was extremely happy she was in love with them. During all of this time, I dreamed (yes, dreamed) about what I would get. We have so many talented and amazing crafters/artists among the group that any of the members would have been perfect. When I received my item in the mail, my expectations were surpassed. Rita, 0ver at Ms. Rita's Beads, had outdone herself. I received the most beautiful heart shaped, lamp work bead on an adjustable necklace. How did she know that I LOVE necklaces more than anything else? Even my Sweet was highly impressed, it's sometimes hard to do that. Go check out her shop - everything in there is lovely.

In other news, I've been given a blog award by the talented Dancing Mooney. She is a fellow blog rock star and Etsian with an adorable shop full of beautiful items. I would know, I own one. The rules of the blog award are quite simple and so I shall pass it along.
* Post the award on your own blog.(Post who gave it to you)
* Indicate its original link and link to that site.
* Give the award to 5 other blogs that you enjoy, find creative and inspire you.

I shall award these lovely blogs on this Valentine's Day

Junque Rethunque - it's a Mother/Daughter team who both share a creative vision and clever blogging skills (and they are GREAT to spend the day with, I would know, it's my mom and sister)
And Now Ladies and Gentlemen - A fellow AREtsian who does some beautiful wire wrapped items. Her tree pendants are to die for. Her blog is a perfect read any time of day.
Casserole - she does a weekly word find thingy on her blog that won't dissapoint and she has some items in her shop that I coveted, until she sent me one (see felt brooch below)
Denise Felton - another one of my favorite blogs. She's fun to read and almost always leaves me chuckling a bit.
Julie Knits - one more AREtsian to round of my list of 5 AREtsians. She knits so of course I'm partial towards, her, but she always makes the cutest button rings for a kicker of a price.



I went off with my mom, sister, and the students staying with my mom from the Spring International program at the University of Arkansas to Terra Studios today. It's quite the place. They were made famous and best known for their Bluebirds of Happiness (seen lounging in my window above), but they also have plenty of other goodies made by some amazing artists. There's pottery, hand built clay items, hand blown glass, and so much more.

Even though I've taken every out of town visitor I've had out there for a shopping trip quite unique to Northwest Arkansas, I've never really explored what Terra Studios has to offer. They have a path that meanders through the woods on their property. Trust me when I say, you aren't alone in those woods (see pictures).

They also have cabins for artists to rent out. The prices are incredible considering the beautiful property and location. Also, you can rent out studio space at a discount if you live there. I have never considered moving out of this house until I read that. I've also never left one single place more inspired to get to work on some art projects until today. Would it be possible to be inspired every day if I lived there?


"Me" Time

I've spent a bit of "me" time for the past couple of nights and this is the product. I like it. It's a first attempt at making designs on knit items with felt BUT I had fun and will be practicing. It's only 7 months until The Clothes Line Fair - where these might make their debut (unless I get impatient and list them in Etsy when they look like I want them to).

If you can't tell, that is a little red bird on that scarflette (it kind of looks like a fish).

Not Sure I Can Top That

My gardening post with the lovely pics of my herbs from last summer got more comments than any post I've had so far. I'm not sure if I can top that. Perhaps an upcoming giveaway would bring them flocking again? Stay tuned for that.

I present to you a picture of my poor, neglected crafting table. With me on my death bed (or what I thought was my death bed) this week, I didn't feel up to jewerly making. I did get a fair amount of knitting done and plan on heading over to work on the finishing touches to a neck warmer in a minute, but those earrings and bracelets just didn't get the attention they have been getting. Scratch that, the poor bracelets have been ignored for a couple of weeks as the earrings have been hogging all of my attention. That will change, I have some bracelets I want to make... and some necklace ideas. Exciting things to come!

I spent most of this evening working on a wish list to give my sweet boy. I have my favorites on Etsy, my favorites on Amazon, and my favorites in my head. I suppose putting them on paper makes it easier but it also makes me become greedy and want EVERYTHING I see online. I tried to keep it to one, okay, two pages, but that was hard. *grins* I did tell him it could be spread out over a few years. It had CDs, DVDs, books, things for my kitchen, and the obligatory gift cards to a local yarn shop, Pay Pal (to feed the Etsy and Ebay addictions), some gardening gifties, and so on. I liked my list so much that I asked him to return the favor. I can throw that in my purse and be ready at all times for gift buying.

I'm off to finish my neck warmer.


Sick Days

I've been spending the past two days in bed with some flu like symptoms (I'm crossing my fingers that they are just flu like and not actual flu symptoms). Feeling like this doesn't really leave me wanting to make jewelry BUT it does allow me time to think about my other endeavors.

Other than watching a LOT of Food Network and wishing that I felt well enough to cook just about everything they have been airing, I've also been shopping for my herb garden. I was most proud of my herb garden last year. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed my veggies and flowers, but I really liked those herbs.

This year I've ordered Genovese Basil, Cilantro, Dill, Parsley, and Chives. I had some other items last year but didn't use them. I'd prefer to spend the money on varieties of mint and other basils than oregano and thyme that just do not get used. I haven't decided which basils and mints I want to purchase this year, but those will come to me. I'll start with my favorites right now.

And now for your viewing pleasure, pictures of last year's herb garden.


Almost There

I've been telling everyone who cares that I don't blog and visit other's blogs because I'm addicted to the internet, but because it's a good way to get the word out about your shop (and get some good reading in as well). Today proved that. My coworker/friend/fellow AREtsian , Beaded Bombshell, recently let me know that Lee Ann Westover of The Lascivious Biddies blogged about a friend of her's who has an Etsy shop. I completely took advantage of that post to comment about my shop as well.

It looks like that bit of commenting paid off today:
The Tiny Guide

Hooray! She likes my new earrings (found above). I knew she was my favorite when I heard that she was a fellow alum of The University of Texas in Austin.

See - blogging and following blogs is important. Don't limit yourself to artist and crafting blogs, branch out. Musicians have a HUGE following and if you like their music, why wouldn't they also like your hand made goodies? Makes sense to me.


Time Management

I have found myself lately with a lot of projects for other people and for my Etsy shop, but nothing for me. Sure, I sneak myself a pair of earrings or a bracelet every now and then, but I really want to do something for me.

My Sweet asked me this evening if I have used the buttons he got me for Christmas yet. No, no I haven't! I had plans on making some neck warmers in bright colors with funky buttons, but here it is quickly launching out of winter and me with no new neck warmers.

I had promised My Sweet that I would make him not one, but two scarves this year. A black and red one and a brown and cream one. I did a couple for Christmas presents and I think it finally made him want more than just a beanie from me. Well, I'm almost finished with the charcoal and reddish one (not black and red, but close) but haven't even started the other. How am I supposed to use those buttons on something for myself when I can't event finish something for him?

I have noticed that if I have any spare time I tend to sit down to make earrings. They are a bit faster than the bracelets and a LOT faster than a scarf. I need to manage my time better. Aside from some neck warmers for me, I've had bracelets swimming around in my head that I want to make and some summer knit options that I need to get started so I can begin to load them into my shop. I need to chart out my evening activities:
1. Dinner (and not dinner out, dinner at home)
2. Keeping up with life things (bill paying, checkbook balancing, general straightening up, etc)
3. Etsy time
4. Erin time (crafting for me, reading, sitting in a bath, etc)

Sounds simple... 30 minutes here, 1 hour there, 15 minutes over there.




It's Not Fair

I recently stumbled upon these lovely and oh so simple earrings on Etsy. Both are by LisasLovelies and both I could not wear on a regular basis. True, I can't wear most earrings on a regular basis due to a metal allergy I have (silver included) but these are so perfect to wear everyday when you don't feel like picking something colorful and flashy out of your jewelry box.

It makes me want to fall on the ground kicking and screaming "It's not fair".

They warned me when I got my tattoo that I might develop an allergy to some metals. It's my fault.

My sister, Punkinhead, and I went out to the flea markets today. I looked and looked for that treasure that is awaiting my discovery out there in flea market land, but I didn't find it. My sister did find me a vase full of knitting needles. The only complete set was a set of 4 double pointed needles. I'm unsure of their size, but they look good for socks and they were only $.50. You can't beat that with a stick (but I refuse to call that a treasure). Perhaps I'll find my treasure another day on another trip.

I posted my latest earring creations in my Etsy shop tonight. I really like this design and cross my fingers that they fly out of my shop faster than I can post them. A girl can dream... right?


I Found It!!!

Lookie here! A penguin and the Eiffel Tower. Thanks to OrangeCrushed, I can have my cake and eat it to.

Goodnight everyone.

Goodbye Old Friend

I'm not going to lie when I say I've been a bit discourage by my Etsy sales this month. I've had a trade and played along on the SNS Secrets thread last weekend, but not really any sales to sing about. I considered relisting a scarf yesterday. It had been almost a month since I relisted a scarf and thought perhaps that would be a fresh change from my earrings that I've been posting like crazy lately. I decided against it. I'd like my listing fees to go new product, not relistings.

So I spent the day doing some knitting and watching a lot of Rome. Late last night I logged on to discover not one, but two scarves sold. One was a scarf I never thought would walk off and the other was one I've sold 4 of before and is quite popular. I was ecstatic. It was just what I needed to remotivate myself into spending time on my shop.

Today I took advantage of my sunny window, took pictures, and posted a handful of earrings in my shop. I've finally got some of the ones I've talked about on here but had not posted until today. Go get them while you can!

In other news, AREtsy is getting together in Conway this weekend for a meet and greet. I wanted to go but just can't make it down there. Instead I'll do some participating in the SNS thread tomorrow evening. I'll have to think of a really good sale... any suggestions?