Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sick of myself when I look at you

I think I've used that title before. Oh well. I'm sick. Knock-down, drag-out, drugged up and sickly. So is my poor husband. We're a couple of sad sacks, and our dogs are debating leaving us for a more interesting family.

Since I only have a few minutes before the recent dose of Tylenol Sinus kicks in, let me get to the point. I don't have anything interesting to say, but hope you will do this very quick personality assessment for me.

Basically, when you click the link below, you'll be taken to a page where you pick 5 or 6 attributes that you think best describe me. (Don't worry, these are all positive attributes, so I'd love your honest feedback.) How often in life do we get to find out how others see us?

Evaluate Anandi Now!

The "technical" term for this is a 'Johari Window', a tool used on project teams. Project Managers love to come up with these pseudo-scientific assessments to ostensibly help teams work better together.
Ask me about the Color Assessment someday. I think PMs do this because it's fun, and satisfies their burning desire to know what others think of them.

Thanks to Jenn for the idea and thanks to you all for playing :)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Send it in a letter

I'm exploring various marketing angles for Anandi's Laboratory. Please sign up for my brand-spankin, shiny new, mailing list so you can receive my newsletters.

I promise I won't spam you. I'll be lucky if I can put together even one newsletter each month. But this way I won't have to email my entire address book. Sign up y'alls!

You can also find the signup form on the right side of the page at the top.

For those of you reading this from an RSS feed reader thingy, you'll just need to drop on by the House of Peanut in person. You know who you are :) And have you seen the new fall color scheme here yet?

If that's too hard, send me an email or an etsy "conversation" and I'll add you to the list.

Did you ever read what I wrote you?

Current obsession: Finnish heavy metal music.

In less than 2 weeks, I'm going to see Nightwish. One of the cool things about this band is that they have a female lead singer. I've been listening to their newest album "Dark Passion Play" nonstop for about a week and it's incredible.

It's familiar like 80s heavy metal, but also incorporates some elements of nu-metal (I hate that term) and the newer goth metal-pop stuff. Kinda sounds like there's some Evanescence in there, and Lacuna Coil-ish sounds. Oh, and for whatever reason both HIM and Nightwish seem to be obsessed with late 80s/early 90s Metallica. You know, before they got all soft and started to suck.

So back to Nightwish. Their current singer, Anette Olson, is actually new (and Swedish, unlike the rest of the band, who are Finnish). Her voice is totally different from the previous singer Tarja, who was classically trained and sang in a very "operatic" sounding voice. She was amazing, but I could only take so much of that type of singing, even if it did have awesome angry metal backing it up. Anette has more of a typical badass girl rock voice. And I can't think of anyone to compare her to now, unfortunately, except Pat Benatar.

Anyway, the thing that totally cracks me up is that Nightwish fired Tarja, their previous singer, via an open letter which is still posted on their website. Talk about airing your dirty laundry in public. I guess that's the difference between a corporate environment and a band, huh? This letter is so personal that it's almost painful to read - like it's something you found accidentally left on a train and weren't supposed to see. I guess no one told these boys to keep their private business, well, private.

So first there's the open letter. But that wasn't enough. There are at least two songs on their current album purported to be about Tarja's firing. One of them, "Master Passion Greed" (nice title, huh?) is about her husband, who is apparently the root of all evil. It's also one of my least favorite songs on the CD - it's too angry for me and if I wanted to listen to speed metal, I would. Rumor has it that Nightwish won't play this one live because they no longer feel that anger. I'll report back if they do. Because that's the point in the show I will go get a drink.

The other song is one of my absolute favorites - "Bye Bye Beautiful" is so catchy and so transparently angry with her. Take a look.

So what is it about Scandinavia (and specifically Finland) and awesome metal music? Is it the cold and darkness? Does the culture somehow encourage angry music vs the random emo crap that's all over the radio these days? Whatever it is, I love it.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sea winds brought her to me

Woo hoo! I've got my first craft show under my belt. This past week has been a frenzy of preparing for it; hence no blog posts. I had to figure out display, pricing, packaging purchases and keeping track of my inventory. Oh and fretting about whether I had enough to sell. I did.

So yesterday at 6:30am, I woke up, got dressed, ate a hearty breakfast and dragged myself over to the Phinney Ridge Neighborhood Association Community Center. This trip to Seattle proper made me remember why I love this city so much. The old neighborhoods are so interesting and quirky. And have giant old converted schoolhouses as community centers that people can rent for various events - very cool!

It was freezing outside as we waited for the custodian to show up and unlock the door, but warm and toasty inside the auditorium. The organizers patiently pointed us to our spots and thus began the slow process of carting everything from the car and setting up. (I was smart and had packed everything into the car the night before - lord knows I would have forgotten something if I had waited until morning to do that.)

I didn't want to spend a lot of money on this event - what if I don't like selling at craft fairs, and plus, I don't want this to take over my life. Oh wait, I think it might be too late for that.

So I used tablecloths and a beaded table runner I already had, which worked great. For display I used a few of the little props I bought at Goodwill for my photography, plus the trays we got from Jasmine and Chris as a wedding present, and the corkboard I use to hold my own personal jewelry at home. I got a couple of compliments on the corkboard idea, but I can't take credit for that one - I saw it in a book. Oh, and the 1995 Big T Caltech yearbook was another display platform because it's just a smooth solid black.

It took the better part of an hour to set all my stuff up, and in the meantime, my table sharing partner Kirstin showed up and set up all of her fabulous recycled cashmere scarves and pillows. You *must* check them out - they're gorgeous, soft, and eco-friendly. These would make great Christmas gifts. No one could walk by our booth without touching her scarves, and I think I benefitted from that attention, too.

So then it was 9am, and the official start of the show. We waited patiently. It was a pretty slow start, but Kirstin and I chatted since we had never met before and that kept me entertained for much of the day. I guess it could have turned out very differently - as most people know, I'm easily annoyed - but she was a *great* person to share a table with for 7 hours.

I was a little peeved because there was another jewelry seller right next to me - I knew there would be several, but I was hoping they'd try to space them out a bit. This woman had the craft show thing down - credit card machine, tons of inventory, quick setup. But my work was pretty different from hers so it worked out ok in the end.

Eventually people started coming by. I am so lucky to have such good friends in Seattle. I sent out an email inviting everyone I knew to attend the craft show, not to buy stuff from me, but just to come and see all the fabulous handmade stuff there.

I was *so* pleased to see Chris, Catie, Mrs. Bryant and Jenny - and pretty surprised since Jasmine and Chris's new baby Charlie was just born earlier this week. Understandably, Jasmine and Charlie were at home sleeping :) Mrs. Bryant bought one of my favorite pieces as a gift for someone - very cool.

Then Lisa came, and it turned out she works with the crafters sitting at the table directly behind me! Small world, I guess.

I had a steady trickle of both known visitors and new ones all day. Hans and Doyle showed up to chat for a little while (and buy something - woo hoo!), and so did Carey and her cutie pie son Greyson, who I haven't seen since he was a baby. Carey and I worked at Deloitte together, and then eventually she ended up at Microsoft so we got together for lunch several times (yay Mexican food) when I was still at Microsoft.

In the end, I sold 10 items, which was 9 more than I was hoping for! Of course, there's this little nagging doubt in my mind about whether my friends were just being nice. I hope not.

One of my sales *was* actually to someone I didn't know beforehand, so that made me feel better. She bought a bracelet that I wasn't sure anyone would like (except me, of course). TJ certainly didn't like it, because it was had bright orange flower beads on it.

The day passed rather quickly. I still have to work on my sales persona. When someone stopped to look, I definitely said hello and smiled, but didn't want to seem pushy so I let them ask questions before I said anything more. One lady tried on one of my necklaces, but I didn't say anything to sell her on it - maybe I should have pointed out its features while she had it on. She didn't end up buying it.

A couple of people took my business card so hopefully they'll be online shoppers later.

Thanks to the wonders of my Motorola Q cell phone and its Internet access, I could delete items from my etsy shop as they sold, so I didn't have to take even the slight chance that someone would try to buy something that's unavailable.

Next Saturday I've got another craft show in Redmond, at the Redmond Senior Center from 10am - 3pm. I think the crowd will be very different but I'm looking forward to it since it's close to home and pretty short. The organizers claim that they've advertised in several places, and I've put it up on several websites as well. As Leslie told me, it's an inexpensive way to do market research so even if I don't sell anything, I'll probably learn something.

Oh - and one of my custom orders reached its recipient on Friday - it was a set of mother-daughter necklaces. Apparently they *love* them. Too cool. That was a fun project, for which I have my dad to thank for the referral. Thanks Appa.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

My church is not of silver and gold

My new favorite song. It's rapidly becoming my new "Another Rainy Night", or "Hotel California". Kristin can appreciate that (or not). I've listened to it about 5 times in the last couple of days.

I *love* this band, HIM. They're like the evil devil child conceived when Morissey and Metallica got together. Their Greatest Hits has two awesome covers - "Solitary Man" originally by Johnny Cash and "Wicked Game" by Chris Isaak. I'm in love. I told TJ that Ville Valo, the lead singer is my new boyfriend. But only for singing. Because he's pasty, skinny and comes across as a total dork in the interviews I've read.

Oh, and they're *huge* in Finland. What could be better?

The best part? I have tickets to see them in November. YAY!!!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

If you love me then thank you

I'm not exactly on the cutting edge of what's hip and new, but I rediscovered Lady Sovereign on my iPod today on the bus. I had downloaded a couple of her songs a few months ago. Here's the video for my current favorite song, "Love Me or Hate Me":

I like that everything sounds better with her cute non-posh British accent, that she has a kickass attitude, and that she has a bit that sounds like Phil Collins in the end. Hilarious. Oh and that she's a British white female rapper. Such an odd combination, but it works.

Warning: this video has swear words in it, so don't watch if you don't like that sort of thing.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Wrapped in metal, wrapped in ivy

OK, I know my male readers (or should I say, readeR) are probably sick of all the jewelry talk and pictures. Sorry guys.

But I wanted to post what I made in my Metalsmithing class this weekend since I'm quite proud of it. This week we learned about sawing and drilling (YEAH!). We got to use the Flexshaft which is kind of a like a Dremel tool with a footpedal. It takes all sorts of attachments so you can use it for drilling and a bunch of other stuff as well. I expect to learn about that other stuff in the coming weeks.

Anyway, here are the earrings I made from a 3x3 square of flat copper sheet metal:

First I drew the shape on paper, photocopied it and pasted them onto the metal. Then I used a punch to "start" the holes, and then drilled them out with various sized drill bits. Finally, I used the saw to saw out the square shapes, then used a needle file to file all the uneven bits.

Class was awesome. I did learn that big drill bits don't work well with the Flexshaft. I also learned that it's going to take a lot of practice for me to properly load the teeny tiny blades into the saw frame, so that I don't snap them every 2 seconds. I went through about 6 blades because they snap if you don't load them with enough tension. I mean, you are sawing through metal with a tiny flexible blade that's only a few mm thick.

I'm now starting to consider buying some of the equipment to start a small home studio. The acetylene torch might be out (since my studio space is actually one of our guest rooms) but I could definitely saw, hammer and drill in there. And solder too. We'll see how it goes.

I've ordered my copy of Tim McCreight's book called "The Complete Metalsmith" which is supposedly the bible. I can't wait for it to show up.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Takin care of business and working overtime

Woo hoo - I finally got my business cards in the mail today. I ordered them 2 weeks ago from ooprint, which is an online company (of course) and they're based in Belgium. Which is kind of annoying, mail-wise. But they look so cool - exactly what I expected, and so cute in person. I picked these specifically for their unusual size.

anandi.etsy.com biz card

Thanks again to Leslie for her fabulous graphic design assistance.

It's good that I have them because I've got 2 Craft Fairs coming up:

Sat Oct 20, 9am-4pm at the Phinney Ridge Community Center in Seattle
Sat Oct 27, 10am-3pm at the Redmond Senior Center

We'll see how it goes. Other experienced folks have warned me to: have enough pieces to sell, watch out for theft of small items, and have an attractive display.

Hopefully it'll be a good chance to make connections with potential online buyers, if they don't buy something in person. Woot!

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