Saturday, January 26, 2008

Thoughts on Selling...or not

Okay, so I am seriously disappointed with my jewelry sales on Etsy as I am sure is the case with lots of others. I was reading a blog today by another Etsy seller(jewelrybytara) who made some excellent points about internet selling. Instead of whining and looking for symapthy from other people about the lack of sales-especially in the forums, which is REALLY annoying me, it's time to re-evaluate what you are doing and what you are selling or not. Instead of taking the time to write and whine in the forums...try using that energy and time to improve your products, come up with better descriptions, photos, and so on. So, that I what I am going to be working on for the next several days. I have bracelets that have been sitting in a shoebox for over a year and can't sell them, so I am taking them apart and selling the beads. This is really killing me, but this stuff is taking up space and I have to let go. I have probably hundreds of pairs of earrings that I may do the same thing with, or maybe I will save them for craft shows. The jewelry I have listed now on etsy I will just let run until it expires and will not relist. I am hoping that my key chains, magnets and bottlecap items will start moving. I will also be introducing more of my items made from recycled paper. I redid my Flickr folders and have one especially for my paper stuff. Once most of my jewelry is gone off the site and into my supply shop, I plan on starting other crafts, such as candles and soap, maybe mosaics. I have come to realize that there are too many jewelry sellers both online and at craft shows/farmer's markets. I am still trying to find my niche and what people will buy from me other than supplies. I love making things and the satisfaction that comes from someone oohing and ahhing over my stuff and buying it. Another thing that worries me is the state of the economy here in the USA. I am praying that we don't end up in a recession. People are struggling with high gas prices and the housing boom appears to be heading down the tubes as well. A major mortgage company here in Tucson shut down over the summer leaving lots of people without work. So, if people are broke, there won't be anyone to buy our crafts. So, this was just somethig that was on my mind and thought I would jot some thoughts on the subject.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

New recycled paper projects and zipper pulls

I have been a little busy with new stuff. I made a few bottle cap zipper pulls. I also made a new batch of paper "pulp" and made a bunch more easter eggs that will be magnets. I also made a couple of flowers that will also be magnets, a big heart that I think will be for display for my upcoming shows and made another pencil holder. I need to get some glaze so I can finish it. Oh and I got real creative and made a saguaro cactus...kinda reminds me of a pickle, though. LOL This will probably be a magnet as well. I need to get more magnets too. I have more ideas for decorating pencil holders other than painting flowers on them, which by the way is the ONLY thing I can draw. I can only make one at a time because I am using a heavy glass container as a mold and it takes forever to dry, like a week. I am looking for plastic things to use instead, but haven't found anything yet. My photos show the stuff that I have done already, just waiting for the rest of the eggs, flowers and beads to dry. Ho hum...

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Lucite/Plastic Beads

This is just some free writing about lucite. I was racking my brain to come up with something to write about to update. I thought, well what the heck, I'll ramble about lucite! I was never a fan of plastic beads until recently. Lucite is so pretty! I have some lucite beads that look like they could be gemstones! The blue ones remind me of sodalite. I have seen a lot of flower type lucite beads and whatnot lately on both Etsy and eBay and they seem to be very popular. I have to clue as to what to do with the large fancy ones that can be stacked on top of other flowers. I look at them and think..."huh"? You gotta be kidding... I have stumbled across some really cute plastic charms, like cats, hearts and even some cute striped round beads that I may consider buying. I made some basic heart earrings for Valentine's Day and added white pearls to them for extra color and have them listed on Etsy as seen in the Etsy mini over there>>>>>>>>.

I made another pair of earrings and a necklace from the same hearts and hoping to sell them at upcoming shows.

I also learned an interesting tidbit about Lucite beads. Apparently they are cut from a huge mold and aren't pressed, so they don't have a seam.

Bakelite was used for beads around the 1920's and became obsolete after WW2. I am sure these are highly collectable and pricey. I wouldn't know the difference between Bakelite and Lucite. Maybe I will do some more research when I am bored on a Saturday afternoon...

I tried to find some info today, but most of what I found on the net was for shops that carried lucite beads. Didn't help much. Drat.
By the way I have some lucite available in my supply shop BeadsOutWest!
Editing to add a nice tidbit about Bakelite from
Bakelite is a plastic which was made around the time they were making things out of a plastic called catilin. It was used for a variety of things from jewelry to utensils and handles on dressers and appliances. It is very collectible. To tell if something is made of bakelite you can rub your thumb against it and you will smell a certain chemical smell.
Awesome! Thanks so much.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Etsy Supply Street Team sale this week!

Etsy Supply Street Team is having a sale! Just type in ESST in the search box and get ready to feast your eyes on some of the BEST Supplies being sold on Etsy!

Sale starts January 16, 2008 and runs through midnight January 20, 2008.

My sale is free shipping for any combination of purchases $5 and over to anywhere. Please wait for me to send a revised invoice from PayPal BEFORE paying.

Monday, January 14, 2008

First Farmer's Market Experience!

On Sunday the 13th, I participated in my first Farmer's/Artisans Market show here in Tucson at Civano Nursery. The weather was perfect, temps around 70 and sunny. I met a few other artisans who were great! There were other jewelry sellers, natural soap, photography and fresh fruit and vegetables and others. Sales and traffic were a bit slow for all of us, including the nursery. My guess is that people were out doing other things since the weather was so nice. Despite the sucky sales, I went home semi-satisfied and the best experience was that my ego was stroked by a lady who gushed over my cha-cha bracelets and the guy in charge of the market, Ken, had nice things to say as well. I really needed that because I am constantly questioning whether my stuff is good enough or not, since so many people look and walk away. I don't know if my prices are too high or too low, too ugly or funky, or?? It's tough to sit there and watch other people get sales, especially when I need the money so much. This is my only source of income at the moment and I really want it to work. I will probably do the market again as long as the weather co-operates. I am considering doing other markets, but it depends on how much the fees are. My project for the week will be checking on prices for other markets here in town. I am not selling anything on Etsy, so I need to get my stuff out of the shoebox and in the people's faces. I am not ready to give up yet, I just need to find the right niche and the right place for my stuff. I am considering trying other crafts since there seems to be an influx of jewelry makers and sellers. I want to try candles or mosaics, but this will be much later in the year. I need to have cash to buy all of the materials that I need, plus instruction, as I have no clue as to what I will be doing. :) Here's to better sales in the future!!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

No "new" projects...

Still working on bottlecap necklaces, I've made about 20 so far. I am preparing for a small farmers market show that I am doing tomorrow. I had to make my displays from stuff that I had at home. Hopefully I will start earning enough money to buy real displays, tables and an easy-up tent... But they look nice, so no biggie. I'll take some pictures and post them. I listed two of my bottlecap necklaces on etsy, here is one of them: Well, gotta run, I need to find a cover for my table for tomorrow.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Another new project...

Bottlecap necklaces...

I purchased a sheet of images from Saven Sense on Etsy and created a couple of necklaces for my daughter. I am having a bit of trouble with the ink fading/running when I apply sealer. I used Aleenes Paper Glaze and Triple Thick Glaze on top of that and I came to the conclusion that the Triple Thick stuff is too strong for ink even with a coat of paper glaze, so I will have to leave the Triple Thick off. I worked on these today and they made me crazy. I have a few other images that I thought I took pictures of, but I guess I will do that tomorrow. I am doing a small show on Sunday and I want to bring some of these with me, so I will be busy again tomorrow. Work, work....hopefully all of my hard work will pay off, soon I hope! :) I am a starving crafter at the moment!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

My latest project...

I have made some Easter egg shaped magnets to sell at future shows....this is just a few of them.
Wow!!Another item in my line of recycled paper creations!
I started making things from shredded paper over the summer and I am trying to come up with new things. I had a huge pile of junk mail, reciepts, papers from both my school and my daughters and ran it all through my shredder and made a mushy pulp like clumpy clay stuff and started making things. I have made snowman ornaments, pins, magnets and earrings....beads...bowls molded from two liter soda bottles and plastic bowls...I made a pencil holder for my the easter eggs...I have also molded some flower forms and will make magnets out of those, too. Also working on hearts and cactus!! Additional pics can be seen at:
I am proud that my junk paper isn't in the landfill. My mom shredded a bunch of her old checks and that batch of paper was part of the stuff that my biz card holder bowl was made from. Kewl!!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Today's Feature...

From time to time I will be featuring items from both of my shops.

Today I will be featuring my latest creation, keychains.
I have added keychains to my line of goodies in my jewelry shop on Etsy!

I have several different styles to chose from in different colors and sizes! I made all of these with glass beads, heavy gauge wire and lots of love. Makes a nice handmade gift for a special person! Easy on the wallet at under $5.00 each.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Why Buy Handmade?

This is a very good article that another Etsy seller wrote(sorry, but I don't have the name!!)that was passed along to me on MySpace and I wanted to post it here on my blog. Check it out:

Why buy handmade?
Because once upon a time there were shoemakers who made shoes, and you bought then from the shoemaker... they lasted, and they were lovingly made... The bread was baked by a baker, who did what they loved doing, and you could taste it. It tasted like love, a nourished your body much better than the empty processed stuff of today. Because People still DO make things with love, and THEY ARE better! You can feel the love when you touch, taste, or feel, or see it!
Lets bring the humaneness back into our purchases, and buy from the makers again! Why give your money to corporations that farm out work to 3rd world countries at ridiculously low wages, exploiting the peoples, and feeding their greed. Know where your purchase was made, and by whom, and that they got a fair price for their wares, and so did you. You also get the satisfaction of knowing that you are able to talk with the maker if something is wrong with it, or if you just want to say thanks for making such a great… whatever. Not only that but buying handmade you can usually work with the artist/artisan to get the perfect product, even if that means then creating one for you.
You also know that your input sways the next or newest product in however blatant or subtle ways. So you know that your needs and desires are creating the trends, not some corporate bigwig who probably doesn’t even use/wear/get your product.
When you purchase handmade you also feel special, knowing that you are giving your money to the peoples, instead of the corporations who have nothing to do with the creating/creative process, who’s main concern is making a profit. Not that us artisans don’t want to make a profit, but we are actually making these items you/we purchase.
So do something good for your soul, for your peace of mind, for quality over quantity, and buy handmade!
Support independent artisans and phooey to the corporate crap and sweat shops! (added by me)
You can find all things handmade at

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

About me
My name is Carol and I am originally from the Chicago suburbs-Joliet, IL. I now live in Tucson with my daughter and my family. I have always had an interest in creating things. I can remember making wreaths and other wall decorations as a teenager. I also made macrame plant hangers that I learned how to make in Home Ec in junior high. A few years ago, I made hair barrettes from beads and safety pins. I enjoy cooking and baking as well. I am 6 credits from graduating with a degree in Culinary Arts that I can't really do anything with. No experience=no job. Right now I am conteplating as to what to do with school. I may switch majors or I may try to make a living with my crafts. I hate the bs that comes with jobs and little satisfaction or appreciation for my work.
I have two shops on, one for jewelry making supplies and one for my crafts, mostly jewelry, keychains, magnets and cell phone charms. I also make beads from recycled junk mail and other paper that would have ended up in the landfill. I made snowman Christmas ornaments, magnets, pins and earrings from the same material. I have made bowls and I am currently working on a pencil holder for my desk and heart magnets for Valentines day.

My Etsy store fronts are: and
My new blog is here!
My flickr photos are at:
Squidoo lens:
My Space:

I got into the bead biz first on eBay a few years ago. I began selling beads after a failed attempt at making hair barrettes from beads and safety pins. I sold off the rest of the beads that I had and found that the beads sold better than the finished products, so Beads Out West was born. I bought beads in lots and divided them up and sold them. I began attending the annual gem and mineral/jewelry/bead shows here in Tucson and bought things there for my shop. I left eBay after the last fee increase nearly two years ago and found Etsy shortly after. I started making things again around that time and decided to try to sell my finished work. It's been slow, but I am selling off Etsy at various shows. I have only done two so far, but have plans to do more in the next few months. The last show I did pretty well. I sold more in one day than on Etsy in a week.
I get inspiration mostly from reading bead magazines and craft books. Sometimes ideas come to me when I am browsing the beads at stores or shows. Bead Style is my favorite magazine. I check out craft books from our local library. I also like Tammy Powley's work.
The next craft that I want to do/try is candlemaking. I also want to try silversmithing,lampwork beads,leatherwork and wirework. Much ambition!
My next creation will be bottlecap necklaces. My daughter likes Hannah Montana, so I will be making her a couple of necklaces with Hannah's picture and will also sell them in my craft shop. I also want to make pendants and various jewelry from scrapbooking embellishments. I want to buy a wigjig and make earwires. I also want to find some cute lucite/plastic beads and pendants to make kitschy stuff.
I have so much ambition, but not enough money to do it all. So I guess I will take it one project at a time.
Thanks so much for learning about me. I hope you found it interesting and entertaining...LOL