Saturday, November 29, 2008

I got the goldmine

So you know when you're in a relationship with someone and it's all new and shiny and you get kind of obsessed and forget about all the other stuff you're supposed to be doing?

That's kind of how it is with me and 1000Markets. I'm featured on the Community page there, so I've been blogging there, nearly daily. You can catch up on the last five or six blog posts here.

I also set up a Market there for Seattle artisans, called 'Handcrafted in Seattle'. Check it out. I think over time, it'll grow, which will be neat. It's got a bunch of my EtsyRAIN buddies in it already, which is cool.

So that, and getting ready for the REI Holiday Bazaar on Tuesday is what's been keeping me busy. I still have about 5 pairs of earrings and a few bracelets I need to make - yikes!

But I wanted to post here to assure you all that I haven't forgotten about you. I'm just infatuated with my new love :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Your cheatin' heart will tell on you

OK, I'll admit it. I'm a cheater. Etsy has been good to me for about a year now, and actually pretty awesome for the past couple of months in terms of traffic and my sales, but I have strayed. I saw a mention of a new handcrafted market site called 1000Markets, so I went to check it out earlier this month.

OMG, it is a *gorgeous* site. And I am a sucker for great web design. It also has a more "grownup" vibe than Etsy. Based on the items Etsy chooses for the front page and articles, I think Etsy's target market (or maybe the folks who run the site) is the 20something hipster crowd. And there's nothing wrong with that.

But when I saw 1000Markets, I fell in love. It's just so *pretty*. It reminds me of going to Pike Place Market on a Saturday and seeing the different arts, crafts and food vendors. Browsing around the site, it just felt right to me.

So I applied for a shop there. Yes, you read that correctly. They have to *approve* your request to open shop, and everything must be handcrafted. I got approved in about a day, and that same day was featured on their Community page as having a cool shop. Yippee! That was a nice surprise. I even sold a pet tag to a fellow merchant on the site.

Anandi at 1000 Markets

It's a startup, in what they're calling "Sneak Preview" mode. But it's open for business. One of the best parts about it, besides the stunning design, is that the staff is very hands on and willing to answer questions. They're very encouraging to the new merchants, and I feel like our suggestions are welcomed.

They have a philosophy, which one of the founders outlines on his blog. It's really well written and inspires a great deal of confidence.

One of the neat things about it is that the payment system is through Amazon. Tons of people have an Amazon account, so that makes it easier, and I have knowledge about Amazon and third party merchants from my previous job, so that's kind of neat too. Plus you all know how I love Amazon Fresh.

The other thing I like is the community/social networking aspect. There's a blog built into the site, each shop has a "Wall" to leave comments like on Facebook or MySpace, and the whole concept is about smaller Markets within the site, where likeminded merchants get together to sell their gorgeous handmade work. It just gets me all warm and fuzzy inside.

OK, I could go on and on about the things I like, but one of the things that's truly amazing (ok, two), are that the site doesn't charge any listing fees, only a fee when an item is sold. And as one of the staff put it, that makes their goals align with ours, and they are motivated to help find ways to help their merchants make sales. What a novel concept!!

And the other freakin' awesome thing is that on the home pages, and Market pages, the listings and shops displayed are randomized, so everytime you go there, you see something different. And you and I could both navigate to the site and see completely different items. So I've been surprised and startled to navigate to the site and see my face on the front page as a 'Featured Shop'. Crazy, but awesome.

So I'm giving it a try. I'm not abandoning my Etsy shop, just branching out. It's wise to have eggs in many baskets, right?

So if you get a chance, and want to find some unique gifts for the holidays, check it out - the picture above links to my shop, and you can browse the site from there as well. Enjoy, and do tell me what you think of it!

Friday, November 14, 2008

It all boils down to the parts that we play

Yikes, I haven't blogged in ages! But that was intentional, because I got cleared by the Project Management Institute to sit for their certification exam, and since I had taken a prep course for it a few weeks ago, I wanted to take the test as soon as possible. I ended up scheduling it the day I wrote my last blog post, so most of what I've been doing between then and now was either filling Etsy orders or studying for that exam. My brain is a little fried right now.

But the good news is, I PASSED. I'm a certified PMP (no, it's not pronounced like 'pimp'). Yay!

So now I can de-stress, and go back to making stuff. And maybe attempt to get our house back in decent shape. It looks a bit like a tornado hit it, since neither TJ nor I are good at putting things back when we're done using them.

And Spike rolled around in something mighty stinky on his last trip to the park, so he needs a bath, STAT. Maybe that'll be my fun activity for tonight - wrestle unruly beagle into the tub and keep him there while he's wet and squirmy. It's quite a workout.

Projects up ahead:
1. Make 6 dog tags plus 1 periodic table copper keychain
2. Package up and send out a magnet order
3. Finish personalized charm bracelet for a coworker
4. 4 pairs of earrings for the winner of my donated item at the company charity raffle.
5. Necklace and bracelet, plus barrette on request from my parents.
6. Figure out exactly how much money I've spent on supplies since 2007. (yikes.)

And that doesn't count any of the things I need to make for the upcoming Holiday Bazaar at REI. Yikes! But I am really looking forward to it, now that I don't have that PMP exam looming over me like a little black rain cloud.

So, what are y'all up to??

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The places we exist

We've had an eventful past couple of days here at the House of Peanut. Unfortunately not all of it good, or of our choosing. But we're getting back on track now :)

Sunday I finished and mailed the necklace and earrings set for Katie, the winner of my custom jewelry set in my high school's charity auction last spring.

custom beaded lariat necklace in vintage black czech glass

Monday night, Dave and I went to see DragonForce, a power metal band. I wasn't a HUGE fan of them, but liked a few of their songs, and it was an inexpensive show and you all know how I love metal. So I was only marginally excited pre-show. And then we got there, and it ROCKED. The two opening bands, Powerglove and Turisas, were INCREDIBLE. Powerglove plays metal renditions of old video game music.

Turisas dresses up like Vikings and has an electric violin and an accordion as part of their band. Oh, and they're from Finland (of course!) Here's an awesome cover of a disco song by Turisas:

It was the total rock spectacle and so much fun! Totally worth the $25 and I found 2 new bands I like. Not a bad way to spend an evening!

Tuesday was Election Day! And my guy won! I voted in the morning, didn't have to wait in line, and got my sticker.

Unfortunately, yesterday was also the day that TJ's appendix decided to call it quits. Our doctor sent us to the ER instead of having us come in, and we sat around and waited, got some tests, and then TJ had to get the stupid thing removed. He also got to spend the night at the oh-so-luxurious Chez Overlake in Bellevue, and got to come home this afternoon.

I do have to give props to Overlake Hospital for their free wireless Internet so I could keep up on some personal and work email while I was waiting and also obsess a bit over the election results.

Sadly, I had to miss the Matt Nathanson concert tonight (what is it with concerts and illness??) and the next time he returns to Seattle he'll probably be playing at Key Arena given the number of times I've heard "CMon Get Higher" on the radio. Oh well, such is life. The Microsoft dude I gave my tickets to (for free!) better be having a good time, dammit!

Oh, and Trista received her birthday gift from Paul that he designed and I made for her. So I could finally post this custom personalized bracelet in my Etsy shop, in time for potential holiday shopping. This is what I wanted to blog about earlier but couldn't.

custom personalized handmade mommy mother bracelet

I am really pleased with the way it turned out. I was so nervous to work with the more expensive sterling silver sheet after spending all my time on copper and nickel silver, but I guess the practice paid off. And I cannot thank TJ enough for introducing me to my Dremel for all the polishing/finishing steps. Rumor has it that Trista likes it, so that makes me happy.

I'm working on another one for a friend's wife, but since it's a Christmas gift, I can't post that here until next year. But it'll be fun.

In other exciting Etsy news, I doubled my first year sales already in the past 6 weeks! (Actually, it happened before that because I got orders for 10 stamped ID tags and for 5 tags and lumped them into the same order, so Etsy only counts those as 2 sales even though they were 15 items total.) If it continues, I'll hit this year's goal of 104 sales in a couple of months. Woot!

Well, it's that time, and I should get some sleep. Tomorrow is a loooong work day ahead of me to catch up on the past two days, plus making sure TJ is supplied with pills, English muffins, and hot chocolate.

Hopefully your past couple of days have been good ones!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

I hope the Devil don't remember my name

I started making jewelry because I *LOVE* jewelry. I have a lot of it, and most of it is fairly inexpensive. Except for my Fabulous Wedding Jewelry which lives in a secret lockbox and comes out only once a year or so.

Well today, I walked from work to a nearby shopping center to get some exercise and stumbled upon a craft fair at a church. In addition to the crafts, there was a bit of a rummage sale going on too, and they had some amazing vintage jewelry, and some more contemporary pieces, for REALLY cheap. Apparently they were 50% off because they didn't sell last year. I had $8 in cash, and got all these items, plus a few more - talk about a screamin' deal.

I had first intended to look for pieces to disassemble to make new jewelry but some were just so darn cool that I had to keep them for myself, intact :)

horseshoe necklace

I know, it's probably a cheap knockoff of some Tiffany & Co. piece, but I love its simplicity and sparkle. So I'm keepin' it to wear.

Thai chandelier umbrella earrings

These earrings made me wince at first because they're so huge and elaborate, and I'm not a giant-chandelier-umbrella-earring kind of girl. But they're clip-ons, and the flower attached to the clip is *fantastic* so I thought they'd be great for disassembly.

When I got home and looked at these a bit closer, I nearly fell over when I saw this:

Siam chandelier earrings sterling silver

They're sterling silver!! And I paid $1.75 for them. Not only that, but the stamp says "Made in Siam" which makes them officially vintage, since it seems that Thailand hasn't been called Siam since 1949. How awesome is that? I'm still debating whether to keep them as-is or take apart and make something smaller that I'll wear myself.

The next few items have a theme, so my guess is that they came from the same owner:

train engine necklace

old airplane pendant

gold and silver train necklace

While the silver train engine and plane are adorable, I'll probably recycle those into something for my shop. But I am *totally* keeping the whole-train gold and silver necklace. I typically hate mixed metals, but this is absolutely DARLING.

I also am not a huge fan of gold, but loved these tiny delicate earrings with a pressed flower captured inside resin (and only $0.50!):

And remember a few weeks ago when I mentioned helping a fellow local Etsy seller set up her shop? Well, she came through on her promise to make me something fabulous. I am *in love* with this necklace she made for me. It's long, so I couldn't get a good picture of the whole thing, but it's made from a recycled rosary, and has all sorts of bits and bobs on it. It's truly a sight to behold:

So I probably need to step up my game a bit to do this fantastic jewelry some justice. I've been wearing my blah jeans and sweats to work, and Tim Gunn would be appalled. So here's to next week being a little more fashion forward. :)

And do let me know what you think about these pieces. Am I crazy, or are they really as cool as I think they are?

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