Metalsmithing

I’ve been taking a soldering class and I’m SOOO excited!  I’m learning how to make my own findings and designs out of raw materials.  Right now, I’m working on a bracelet project.  This Wednesday I’ll solder the tiny jump rings, complete my bracelet clasp and start working on a pendant.  Here’s a pic of my bracelet so far – one side is textured and one side is completely smooth.

  Jewelry Project 1 - Bracelet

It’s lots of work, but so much fun and so rewarding!  I can’t wait until I have my own studio set up with everything I need to do this kind of work from home! 

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My Bread Begins!

img_1079.jpgWell, I made a half recipe and my bread is in the bowl ready to rise.   I’ll continue to post pics as the bread progresses…  (ok…that didn’t happen…HAHAH – sorry for not posting more pics – the bread was so good!  The aroma took over me, we ate some for dinner and I completely forgot to take pics!  I will next time.  I make this bread a lot!)

Mom’s Crusty White Bread…mmmm!

I’m about to make some bread and I’m using the recipe that my mom used to make.  It has been a little while since I’ve made bread, but I can’t wait for the smell of fresh homemade baked bread to fill my kitchen!  Here’s the recipe if you want to try it:

Crusty White Bread

2 packages active dry yeast
2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons sugar (I’ll be using splenda)
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup oil
6-6 1/2 cups flour

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.

Dissolve yeast in warm water.  Stir in sugar, salt, oil and 3 cups of the flour and beat until smooth.  Mix in enough of the remaining flour to make the dough easy to handle.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (about 8-10 minutes).

Turn oven off.  Place dough in a greased metal or glass bowl, brush top with oil, cover and place in warm oven. (Make sure oven is OFF) Let rise in warm oven until bread doubles in size. (about 45 minutes – dough is ready if you gently press your finger into it and an impression remains)

Punch down dough and divide in half.  Roll each half into a rectangle 18×9 inches.  Roll up each rectangle, beginning with the short side and when roll is complete, press each side to seal and fold ends under loaf.

Place seam side down in a greased loaf pan (9x5x3 inches).

Brush loaves with oil and let rise again until double. (about one hour)

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Bake 35 minutes or until loaves are golden and sound hollow when tapped. 

Critiquing Your Own Site

I found this information in the Etsy forums, care of Eleanor Gilpatrick .  She’s a professional fine art painter and is also new to Etsy.  She’s pretty much undiscovered on Etsy, but definitely has talent!  Check out her etsy site: Egilpatr at http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5488501 

I found her summary helpful, so I thought I’d share.  :O)

YOU CAN CRITIQUE YOUR OWN SHOP. Here it is. Does it work for you?

1. Look at the avatar.
Is it an attractive piece from the shop?
Is the color bright?
Is the Image easy to make out?
Is the image cropped enough so nothing is wasted on
background?

2. Look at the banner.
Is it color coordinated with the avatar?
If there are words, are they useful; easy to read?
Does the banner suggest the products sold or contain
some of them? Even the avatar.

3. Look at the images of the items being sold.
Are the thumbnails bright, easy to make out, and is
the color good?

Is the main image the best one of the item? Do all
the other ones add information?

4. Look at the item descriptions. Do they fully describe the item in terms of materials, dimensions, and any special information?

5. Look at the section names.
Do they reflect what you sell in language that anyone
could understand?

Do they include sections for anything special that
you might want to show together?
Do they cover everything?
Remember that an item can go into only one section.

6. Look at the Shop Announcement, Bio, and Shipping
Profile (found at the bottom of each item).

I suggest you reorganize these so that the following
is covered in the Shop Announcement and the Bio. in roughly the order below.

Read through to see where there is repetition,
defensiveness, too much intimate information, or
any self-deprecation. Edit to remove these, without
making the parts read as totally impersonal.

SHOP ANNOUNCEMENT.

Say hello and/or welcome the reader into the shop. Use the first person I or we if there is more than one person.

Tell the reader what is for sale and if there is anything special in the way you make it, or what it is for, or what it is made of—that makes it stand out–say that right away. Here is where to stress hand-made as a special characteristic, and whether made in a smoke free, or pet free environment.

Do not say the shop is new, unless you want to revise when it is not so new. How long are you able to claim you are new, anyway? Same goes for naming holidays.

You can say you hope they enjoy the shop or like what they see.

Make a statement about whether you take requests or customize the items and perhaps encourage the viewer to convo with you to get them just what they want.

IF YOU HAVE FREE SHIPPING, LIST THIS IN THE SHOP ANNOUNCEMENT–PROMINENTLY. Otherwise wait to get to the BIO for shipping issues.

Tell the viewer to click on your profile (the link on the right) to read more about you and to see your store policies

Thank them again for coming by; if you add new things often, tell that and encourage the viewer to come by again to see new things.

If you have a website, blog, or other store, give the links here,but not to sites where you sell outside of Etsy.
——————————————————-

SUGGESTED BIO

Here you can be more personal about what you do, what led you to do it, how you feel about the work, or how you make it. I do not advise telling how your spouse or sister is an inspiration or details on your pets or children. What do you want to know from a seller when you buy?

STORE POLICIES

What Payment Is Accepted?

What does shipping cost?

Where do you ship to?

Who do you use for shipping?

Put in the prices found at the bottom of your item descriptions. That includes multiple item prices.

You can offer alternative, faster shipping and prices.
You can mention insurance and make a disclaimer about responsibility for damage in transit.

Add anything about International orders.

You can give information on when you ship. I suggest you use this, adjusted for what payment you accept:

I ship within ___ days after I have been notified of receipt of payment by Paypal or when the check or money order has been cleared and deposited into my account.

You can say how items are packaged and how you send gifts, if you wish.

State your policy on acceptable reasons for returns, how they are treated, who pays for shipping, and anything on repair or exchange, as appropriate.

“This is where your book begins…

….The rest is still unwritten.” NATASHA BEDINGFIELD – “Unwritten”

I was listening to this song the other day and although I’ve heard it before and it has spoken to me before, it REALLY spoke to me this time! If you’re not familiar, here are the lyrics:(http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/natashabedingfield/unwritten.html).

If you would like to listen to it: http://www.playlist.com/node/26997322

So, I recently took the plunge to go full time with my jewelry and crafts and in January I opened my Etsy shop. Now I’m starting a blog and I’m taking, yet another step towards success at doing what I love. So, I feel like this is where MY “book” begins.

In search of guidance on the Etsy forums, I found and have started to follow a blog of a fellow Etsyian, Christina Purdue. (http://christinaperdue.com/blog) On her site, she does a progressive documentation/tutorial called, “30 days to a better shop.” I am taking that challenge in hopes that it will help me to create exactly that – a BETTER shop. Let’s hope it helps me to drive business! I’m going to track my progress in my blog.

Last night I set my short and long-term goals:

SHORT-TERM: March (I borrowed some from Christina)
1. Receive my third and fourth sales.
2. Get 200 hearts total on Etsy
3. Keep up with 30 days to a better shop series.
4. Blog every day.
5. Consistently list a few items, scattered out over the course of each day.
6. Start another shop for my wine glasses.
7. Include “goal status report” to show how much I’m making in my blog.

LONG TERM GOALS:
1. Be able to create a respectable income from my jewelry and crafts that will enable me to work from home and will provide a confortable life. (Awww, Heck! I’m going to walk to the edge on this and say that I’d love to be the “Bread Winner!” – working from home!!!)
2. Buy esssential supplies needed and set up studio space for metalsmithing.
3. Create a signature line of precious metal jewelry that I personally design and create from raw materials.

Now, I have to go let Christina know that I’m tracking my progress in my blog, so she can list my site on her blog site.

Hello world!

Hi to all! I’ve never done a blog before, but I recently started an Etsy store and have been hearing a lot about blogging.  I’m looking for ways to market my shop and I also want to help other people out like other have helped me. I’ve been told about the power of blogs, so I thought I’d give it a try. I hope it generates more business for me and for others. I’m not have exactly sure what I’m going to do with it yet, with regard to theme or topics, but I’m sure that will develop in time.

A little about me: I live near Baltimore, Maryland, but am originally from a small town near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania called “Ford City.” More specifically, I grew up in the village of Brick Church, which is a charming rural community full of warm-hearted, friendly, generous people.

I moved away from Pennsylvania when I got divorced and although that divorce started a chain of difficult events, I have reached what I believe to be the light at the end of that dark tunnel. I have found love, contentment and happiness and have begun to work from home, doing what I love – being creative! Alleluia for that!