Monthly Archives: March 2008

Too Much?

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My love of gnomes is once again revealed in its full glory! Isn’t this the coolest gnome stool? Designed by Philippe Starck, it may be the coolest gnome EVAH!!!! This groovy stool and companion pieces are available at Hive.

I wonder if James would protest too much if I suddenly replaced the end tables with a pair of these guys?

LEST

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To quote dictionary.com the meaning of the word lest is:

1. for fear that; so that (one) should not (used negatively to introduce a clause expressive of an action or occurrence requiring caution): He kept his notes by his side lest faulty memory lead him astray.
2. that (used after words expressing fear, danger, etc.): There was danger lest the plan become known.

Unless of course you are a lampworker with nothing to fear, but the siren’s song of the water bucket. Then lest means Lampwork Etc Street Team. A street team is a group of like minded artists sharing promotion, sales, and business ideas on the online sales site Etsy.

You can find works by the LEST group by plugging in LEST in your search bar on Etsy and we will be having a team sale running April 1-7. Check it out!

Oh Snap!!!!

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Snapshots, pictures, photographs….I never realized what goes into marketing and selling items that your customer can’t pick up and fondle, caress or lick! That is until I started selling my work online and my oh my what a learning experience that has been!

I started out photographing my beads with a hand-me-down camera from my MIL (thank you Cookie), but it had no macro setting. Getting a decent pic was pretty difficult.  I researched and read and stalked the dpreview site for all the talk about the digital revolution. I haunted the Ritz photo sales guys and all those kids working at Best Buy, trying to find just the right camera for my and my budget!

41yr33m6a3l_aa280_.jpgI finally had made my decision and went and ordered the Olympus Camedia C-60 Zoom with super macro! My baby, my pride and joy, my beloved Oly with the lithium rechargeable battery and 6.1 mega-pixels of love! I drove my childrend through the cold December in an overheating van 45 miles to get my little darling! It was love…..an unrequited love though as the Oly didn’t love me!

light-tent.jpgI read some more! I built a cumbersome lightbox with pvc pipes and white foam core…this proved to be too cumbersome (read, I kept knocking it over and it would take me an hour to set it back up). So then I found a cheap light tent on Ebay, I got a copy of Photoshop Elements 2.0. I took pictures outside, inside, on white, on gray, on slate, on glass…until that fateful day that Gabe started kindergarten.

On that beautiful autumn morning, my darling child #2 grabbed my 8.2 ounces of cinematic sweetness and chucked it across the room! I truly believe he was trying to give me the thing to take a picture of his brother heading off to the school bus for the first time, but instead my C-60 was dead.

Dead, so very dead that it had to go back to Olympus for a 2 month and over 200 buck restoration. So the hunt was on again and this time with seriously limted funds as I had a huge repair bill for my baby as well as the need for a new snapper. After all it is pretty darned difficult to sell stuff online with no photos…..I guess I could sketch them, but I don’t think my customers would get an accurate representation of my work!

41j6dk6n2kl_aa280_.jpgSo, I went with a less expensive model of Olympus…the D525 Zoom, which has served me well as the original camera came back to me and after about 4 months of clicking away, it began to eat memory cards for no apparent reason. My beloved Oly C-60 had betrayed me once again and now the love has gone completely!

Fortunately for me, the cheaper Olympus does its job and does it fairly well as I take tons of pictures and then spend hours editing, reviewing, color balancing and cropping before my work is ever seen online, but sadly I’m not as attached to it as I was the D525. Maybe, the next camera and I will have a cosmic connection…maybe a Canon this time around or a Fuji….I”ll know the right one when I see it!

It’s all for you baby!

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It has come to my sad realization with James being out of town this past week, that I am complete chaos. Uncontrolled chaos and disorganization. Since I am the stay at home parent in this family, most of the home type stuff falls to me…the shopping, the cooking, the cleaning. Dare I say it, the “womans work”! In the past three days though, I have not cooked one meal, washed a dish, folded any clothes…hell, the wet towels have left a funk in the laundry hamper and I’m pretty darned pleased that they even made it to the hamper and aren’t still on the bathroom floor! What is on the floor is enough cat fur to make a not very pc winter coat and a McDonalds Egg McMuffin wrapper. I realized that if left to my own devices long enough, I might be one of those people with dirty dishes and crap piled neck high that are featured on How Clean is Your House? even though I’m loathe to admit it!

So, I suppose it is a good thing that James will be home tonight and I’ll be spending the afternoon putting the shine on since I would hate for him to come home to a messy house, no food and the dreaded funk in the laundry hamper since he pays for it all without complaint. I guess the least I could do is the dishes!

His Name is Sven….

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Sven the GnomeSo, I’m not really the sentimental type. I don’t hang onto ticket stubs and or press flowers from my husband in the phone book. Heck, my poor kids still don’t have filled out baby books and they are 5 and 8! I don’t really do collections of stuff like my 8 year old who has a penchant for Pez Dispensers and pocketknives. I’m the only beadmaker I know that doesn’t even collect beads!

However, I do have a secret love. I love gnomes! Yes, garden gnomes….gnomes like the Travelocity Roaming Gnome. You know, the ones with the red cone hats and long beards! Gnomes and I go way back…back to 4th grade when gnomes were all the rage. I have long since lost my Gnomes book (although, I think I need to find a new copy as my bookshelf is not complete without it) and the decorations in my Gnomes Christmas Crafts book are about as out of date as duck stencils and faux rustic ladder back kitchen chairs. Still, I pore over it every year, thinking this will be the year I hide an almond in the porridge or I carve my own gnome crossing sign with my trusty x-acto knife while baking a yule log!

My secret was safe though until this past fall. I gleefully exclaimed how I loved gnomes while looking at a garden catalog. Unbeknownst to me, my mother-in-law was taking copious mental notes for her Christmas gift giving. While I love my husband, I must admit, I have another love…..his name is Sven and he is my gnome! Sven is a gnome of the garden/house variety. He protects us as a family and takes care of the kitties when we are not at home (mainly he referees) . When the weather warms up, he will go live in the flower beds and enjoy the sunshine, but for now he is casting a watchful eye over the living room to keep us safe and secure.

Is That The Best You Can Offer?

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This was the newest question was posed on Flaming Hot by Susan Sheehan this week, “What do you say? What are your views on discounts? “

This is such a tricky subject for me, coming from a “traditional” retail background…my gut instinct is to immediately offer a discount if a customer asks for one, but over the past few years I’ve come to value myself, my time and my work more and that makes me realize that a discount isn’t always a bargain.

In the traditional sense of retailing, the markup is such that an automatic discount of 25% or so is taken practically when goods hit the store shelves or racks. In an artisan made world, it isn’t as easy to say, “sure, I’ll take 25% off that” or “if you buy X number of pieces then I can give a discount”. It isn’t any easier for me to make 100 pieces versus 10 pieces as it is for goods that are automated in their production. In fact, sometimes it is much more difficult. The repetitiveness of making one item over and over can be quite numbing. The uniqueness and handmade nature of our work is what makes it special.

The few times I have offered “wholesale” pricing, I have regretted it as it has led to a cycle of never being able to change my pricing with those customers or that buyer wanting ever more and deeper discounts which have led me to be resentful and angry with each order as my costs for glass, electricity, propane and other supplies have gone up and up and up.

With all that said…will I discount? Generally speaking no, I don’t, but it never hurts to ask!