Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sea Jewels...

Wow - what a beautiful spring day! This morning the tide was way out... the sky was blue, the sun was warm and it was about 50 degrees... perfect morning for hitting the beach for sea glass.

I dropped my older daughter off at school and my 4 year old and I spent 2.5 hours combing the shore. She gets distracted a bit at times... throwing rocks in the water and finding bits of shells... or a stick to draw in the sand.


Surprisingly, there were a number of people on the beach - walking dogs... moms meeting for play dates... and people just enjoying the day. You can tell everyone is itching for summer. You can't beat the warm sunny days of summer that seem to last forever!

Monday, March 30, 2009

It's Show Time! Is Your Banner Ready?

Well - that time of the year is fast approaching for many of us that do shows. When I decided to dedicate a lot of time to out door vending events, I knew I wanted a professional banner for my business. I have really tried to stay handmade for all my marketing items and supporting other artists.


I came across Polymer on Etsy - and was astounded by the "Bang for my Buck" that I could get from Polymer and the quality that was delivered. I submitted my logo (as a vector image) to Paula and she was off ready to create!

For $100 (because they were doing the designing) I got a 5foot W x 2foot H 13oz. vinyl banner with hems and grommets - full color long term outdoor resistant printing. Made to last. Can't beat that!


So if you are looking for a quality, affordable banner for your shows - Check out Polymer on Etsy!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Fun Friday Find #2 - Creative with Clay

I love coming across unusual finds for table/kitchenware... recently I stumbled onto some really cool pottery with a modern flare and bright colors! This work reminds of the Southwest - rolling with tumbleweeds... rich hues of the soil.... and heading into Mexico - cantinas on every corner....

Shake your money maker with this sweet pair for $34 - ready for your table - match with your Fiesta Ware!


If you ever have wine left after you uncork a bottle - jazz it up with one of these bright and fun wine stoppers for only $18 each!


Wouldn't this gal look stunning on your Adobe wall? You can have her hanging around for $115 - I think she would fit right in!


If you haven't seen the work of Creative with Clay - I recommend you do so! Check out the following places below to shop and read more about this Fun Friday Find:

Creative with Clay Website

Creative with Clay Etsy Store

Creative with Clay Blog

Thursday, March 26, 2009

BH Member Vintage by Crystal on Martha Stewart Recap


Fellow Boston Handmade member, Crystal Hanehan, of Vintage by Crystal, was on the Martha Stewart Show yesterday demonstrating how to create her needle felted bird's nest with spun cotton stand... and old German technique that she has mastered.... just in time for Easter!

The video will be up shortly online at Martha Stewart and you can read about it there and download instructions on how to make one yourself!

And, I have to say - thanks to Crystal - Martha is now privy to the endless shopping that can be done at the Dollar Store... after all "They are on every street corner in America!" dontcha' know!

Check out Crystals Shops and Blog at:



Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Watercolor with Grace and Ease ~ Meet The Boardwalk Artist Series ~ Featured Artist ~ Mary Ellen Golden


Many thanks to Mary Ellen for such a great bio! Next week another Boardwalk artist will be featured - so don't forget to stop by!

Watercolor is considered a difficult medium by many people. My goal is to create a space in which it happens with grace and ease. My very first art teacher was Margaret Cooper in Rose Hill, North Carolina. I studied oil painting with her from the age of 10 until I went off to college at 17. She gave me an absolute love for the process and an innate color knowledge that has made my path what it is today. I hope that I can pass that on to all my students.


I have been painting in watercolor for more than thirty years. The medium still holds the same fascination that it held for me the very first time I carefully wet the paper, applied a small amount of color, and instantly blotted it with the tissue clenched in my left hand. My students to this day say that when the left hand goes in my pocket, the painting is going well.

That first watercolor lesson was in 1975 in Charleston, SC. The teacher was Virginia Fouché and I am very fortunate to have known her. She had asked me to help her teach her high school art class macrame and when we finished said "how can I repay you?" I told her that I was having trouble with an acrylic painting I was working on and she invited me to her adult class that night..We gathered in an old building in the old village in Mt Pleasant and painted in oils and acrylic..She told me if I would come to class, she would have me painting all the time...and she did.


When she attended a master class in watercolor at Rangemark in Maine, she returned and taught us all watercolor! Hallelujah! That was my media..and the brushes haven't dried out since. She immediately brought Jeanne Dobie and Christopher Schink and Ralph Smith to Charleston and we received wonderful instruction very early in our watercolor journey. Many of those in that class are among Charleston's premier artists today and I love to go back and see what they are doing...

After 4 years in Charleston, my husband John transferred to Wilmington and I opened a tiny gallery in the Cotton Exchange in 1977. When my son John grew up, we added him to the lease and grew the gallery to include his photography. He became a graphic designer and animator and has become well known online as John W Golden, digital artist.. He has shown me the delights of online marketing where I met Beachy Rustica and have been guided by her to 1000 markets and The Boardwalk. She has been an amazing mentor for me and I would like to thank her for leading me here.

Rolling Along.Very small me Lotus (not beach but still water. )Storm Watchers

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

16 Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Blog By Denise Wakeman & Patsi Krakoff

I don't usually post full articles to my blog - however, I thought this was excellent, useful information... including resources for bloggers to drive traffic to their blog. After all - great content = higher search index = more traffic = return readers and if you host advertisers = revenue! Enjoy!

16 Ways to Drive Traffic to Your BlogBy Denise Wakeman and Patsi Krakoff

You've got your blog set up and you've started posting pithy, useful information that your niche market would benefit from and enjoy. Days go by, you keep publishing, but no one comments and your traffic stats are barely registering. What do you do?

Like any website you own, you must do some blog promotion to start driving traffic to your site. Here are 16 steps, in no particular order of importance, that you can start doing now to get traffic moving to your blog.

1. Set up a Bloglet subscription form on your blog and invite everyone in your network to subscribe: family, friends, colleagues, clients, associates.
Http://www.bloglet.com

2. Set up a feed on MyYahoo.com so your site gets regularly spidered by the Yahoo search engine (see tutorial on http://www.biztipsblog.com)
http://www.my.yahoo.com

3. Read and comment on other blogs that are in your target niche. Don't write things like "nice blog" or "great post." Write intelligent, useful comments with a link to your blog.

4. Use Ping-0-matic to ping blog directories. Do this every time you publish.
http://www.pingomatic.com

5. Submit your blog to traditional search engines: http://www.submitfire.com

6. Submit your blog to blog directories. The most comprehensive list of directories is on this site: http://www.masternewmedia.org/rss/top55/
Tip: Create a form to track your submissions; this can take several hours when you first start so schedule an hour a day for submitting or hire a VA to do it for you.

7. Add a link to your blog in your email signature file.

8. Put a link to your blog on every page of your website.

9. If you publish a newsletter, make sure you have a link to your blog in every issue.

10. Include a link to your blog as a standard part of all outgoing correspondence such as autoresponder sequences, sales letters, reports, white papers, etc.

11. Print your blog URL on your business cards, brochures and flyers.

12. Make sure you have an RSS feed URL that people can subscribe to. The acronym RSS means Rich Site Summary, or some may consider its meaning as Really Simple Syndication. It is a document type that lists updates of websites or blogs available for syndication. These RSS documents (also known as 'feeds') may be read using aggregators (news readers). RSS feeds may show headlines only or both headlines and summaries.
To learn how news aggregators/RSS readers work, see this site: http://www.rss-specifications.com/rss-readers.htm

13. Post often to keep attracting your subscribers to come back and refer you to others in their networks; include links to other blogs, articles and websites in your posts

14. Use Trackback links when you quote or refer to other blog posts. What is TrackBack? Essentially what this does is send a message from one server to another server letting it know you have posted a reference to their post. The beauty is that a link to your blog is now included on their site.

15. Write articles to post around the web in article directories. Include a link to your blog in the author info box (See example in our signature below).

16. Make a commitment to blog everyday. 10 minutes a day can help increase your traffic as new content attracts search engine spiders. Put it on your calendar as a task every day at the same time.
Tip: Use a hit counter to track your visitor stats: how many unique visitors, how many page views, average length of visit. You can get a free hit counter at http://www.sitemeter.com

Denise Wakeman of Next Level Partnership, and Patsi Krakoff of Customized Newsletter Services, have teamed up to create blogging classes and marketing services for independent professionals. You can read and subscribe to their blogs at
http://www.biztipsblog.com, http://www.coachezines.com and http://www.bizbooknuggets.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Denise_Wakeman

Monday, March 23, 2009

Step Into Spring and Explore BH Member Shops on 1000 Markets!

Soon after getting the tip about 1000 Markets, from fellow Boston Handmade member Besty Baker of Stonehouse Studio, I was quick to dive in and explore!

Instantly, I was smitten by the look and feel of
1000 Markets... it has such a wonderful vibe and that "new car" smell that can get the juices flowing. I feel it attracts quality products in a well mapped out online venue. 1000 Markets is broken up into exactly that - Markets. With so many of them to delve into - it can become very consuming. To get your shop noticed you can either apply to specific markets that relate to your product or hope to be invited into one.



This way - you can gain more exposure. It is free for artists/craftspeople to set up shop and add products. 1000 Markets takes a small percentage after the sale - before you even know it - their cut is taken before the funds hit your bank account. I love that! Check the main market forum to get all the information needed for setting up shop... trust me it is so easy.

I love the sense of community within the "Markets"... you really feel like you are a part of something. There are forums and sometimes even blogs for each Market. Unlike
Etsy - 1000 Markets uses Amazon Payments for processing sales. This is a much lengthier process for the seller than with Etsy & Paypal. I do like the way the "receipt" of sale appears in your seller account. From what I have heard - it is a fairly easy process for the customer as well.

I really hope that when
1000 Markets starts advertising it really takes off. I see only good things for it's future and am glad I will be able to be a part of it!

The following Boston Handmade members currently have active
1000 Markets shops with products for sale!

Bancroft Studios
Christine Marie Art
DeShawn Marie
Kerry Hawkins Photography
Lucie Wicker Photography
Sea Glass Things
Stonehouse Studio

Check it out... explore... and don't forget to shop!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Fun Friday Find #1 - Metal Taboo

Check back every Friday as I post a new fun find of the day. This fun find for today is a cool oxidized sterling stamped ring that reads "Rock Star" for only $38.

Hey didn't you every want to be one? I remember rockin' out in the basement to the Go Go's - playing my air guitar in the early 80's. Was I the only one that loved Shaun Cassiday??? Ahhh... those were the days....

What about Queen?? Well you could be their bitch.... wrap this on your wrist for $38!


The first time I saw Axl Rose open up for Aerosmith make me think I should have been wearing this little beauty - and it's only $42. Point is - don't think you can go wrong with the fun, hip metal designs of Metal Taboo
.

Check out Metal Taboo - give them some lovin'!

Metal Taboo on Etsy

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Making Your Etsy Store Work For You: Tips For Selling on Etsy


When I first started out on Etsy - it was a bit overwhelming. I wasn't sure where to look for the information I needed in order to get my shop set up and actually noticed. There was so much to do -but where to start. I didn't have the time to browse through endless forum topics. The whole purpose of getting a shop set up was to generate traffic to my storefront - thus revenue to my bank account. I have had many people ask me for help in getting their store off the ground - so I decided to compile a few tips so help them out. Mind you - this is what I have found through trial and error - so use them as you like!


Tips for selling on Etsy:
Here are some suggestions to help you on Etsy = making sales!!


1. Have all images bright and crisp (not busy) - always use neutral background and make sure you never display blurry pictures - the first picture should have a full image of your product. Great pictures lead to getting in treasuries and possibly making the front page of Etsy - thus increasing your views/potential customer base (via when a customer "hearts" you - see under "See who hearts this shop" in the Right column of "Your Etsy")

2. Always use 5 pictures and all 14 tags when listing - in 1 of your 14 tags should be your Etsy shop name. So, with tags, try to fit as much in one field as you can. For example I do in one field: seaglass beach - and that takes up an entire field. Don't use commas to separate. It is nice to have many different photo angles of your product. Customers like this because they are purchasing "sight unseen".

3. You need a shop announcement - have a catchy tag to draw people in - but keep it short as well... You want customers to be able to see you items on the front page. Long announcements will push items to the bottom so they won't be seen unless they scroll down.

4. You need to have a complete profile with all you terms and conditions and also break these down under the "Shop Policies" as well: very, very important as it protects you as a seller and the buyer as well. I have increased my prices to include insurance - and I put track and confirm on every package so I know it got to the customer. With items that are less expensive I feel track and confirm will be enough.

5. List as often as you can - and re-list (renew) at least 1 item a day - best time is after 5:30PM. You have views that accumulate next to each of your items - the items with the most views should be "renewed" more often as they have a better chance of selling.

6. Get involved in the forums and chat - forums first and foremost - take part and also start forum discussions.

7. Find communities outside of Etsy - start a blog, join myspace and indiepublic, we love Etsy, facebook, digg, twitter and so on... promote, promote, promote!

8. Make sure you have a great banner and avatar and that it displays what you do! Make your avatar (the little square pic in the Right column of "Your Etsy") is "clickable". Try different ones until you find what works best. There are a lot of sellers on Etsy who specialize in banners and avatars if you need one made up.

9. Make sure you set up you sections and categorize your items so customers can easily navigate your store without having to go through the pages.

10. Make sure you answer all convos (customer inquires) in a timely fashion.

11. Treasuries - on the main Etsy page click the "Treasury" link in the Left column. You scroll through the pages to find if you are in one. A yellow star means one of your items has been picked for a treasury. A silver star means one of your items has been selected as an alternate in a treasury and if and item sells - your item will then be displayed. A blue star means you are the one that has created a treasury. If possible try to watch when treasuries are going to
expire - when enough do - you will be able to grab one of your own.

There is also a treasury west at: http://www.etsy.com/treasury_west.php. To learn more about the treasury go to:
http://www.etsy.com/storque/section/howTos/article/how-to-make-a-treasury-the-nuts-and-bolts/688/

12. Gift guides: Navigate through the gift guides to see if one of your items has been selected by and Etsy admin to be displayed in a category. I have had 2 of my items displayed and both sold. You get more exposure. These items are selected randomly by admins - but the look for great photography and items.

13. Once you are established on Etsy and feel comfortable join an Etsy Street Team - to learn more about Street Teams:
http://team.etsy.com/

14. If you're in the mood to list a bunch of items, but don't want them to appear at the same time in the Etsy time machine (your 5 seconds of fame), then use this technique. Make an Etsy listing as you would normally, up to stage 5, the stage where you select "finish". At that time simply bookmark the page in your web browser (and rename it to something you will recognize - otherwise the default is "Etsy Step 5". When you're ready to have the item "go live" simply return to the page and click through to finish. (This tip is from
Colleen of Tactile Baby)

15. Speaking of blogs - visit as many as you can - post comments on them and create back links back to your Etsy store (or your own blog).

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Soldier Finds Therapy in Creating Beautiful Watercolors ~ Meet The Boardwalk Artist Series ~ Featured Artist ~ Derek McCrea


Derek McCrea is a US Army Infantry Combat Soldier with two tours in Iraq with the 3rd Infantry Division, and this is his stress relief. He has always loved to paint; it allows him to express emotions on paper and relax. Derek paints in a whimsical impressionistic style in plein air settings. He was born in Albany, Georgia on February 19, 1969. He presently resides with his wife, Sheila, of 20 years and his two sons. He first started painting with oils in the summer of 1984. From 1985 to 1986 he painted under the instruction of Jimmy Peterson, a well known artist from Georgia. In 1986 he won 1st place in the Georgia Arts Exhibition.

Derek joined the United States Army in 1987 and continued self study and painting on landscape subjects in France, Holland, Germany, Italy and Hungary, painting in the plein air style. He has completed over 20 commissions in the past year. His works were most recently placed in the Shoppes on Madison in historic Douglas GA, and at Artsy's on the River Street in historic Savannah Georgia.

Derek has donated several artworks to non-profit and charitable organizations in the past: February 2007 to Christian Mission Hospital for HIV children run by Joyce Meyer Ministries in India, silent auction for a baby with PWS syndrome October 25, 2008, and the Annual Benefit on OCT 17, 2008 with Rescue Ink out of NYC.

Check out more of Derek's amazing work at his 1000 Markets site, personal website and blog!

Derek McCrea on 1000 Markets - Shop Now!
Each week we will feature another Boardwalk artist - so be sure to come back and check it out! This post was also posted at The Boardwalk Blog on 1000 Markets.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Featured Etsy Artist Product Review: zJayne

The first of Etsy and 1000 Markets Product Reviews has been submitted by Jodie Pastor of Lake Erie Beach Glass. She has sent a wonderful post about handmade artist - Jayne Pierce of zJayne.


Not only does Jodie love the work of zJayne - they have also become close friends! Check out Jodie's review below:


" I met Jayne on-line through eBay of all things. We were fellow artists who happen to join a group of artisans specifically creating ACEO (Art Cards Editions & Original) Art work! I was drawn to her art, purchased a few for my own collection, and began asking her questions. She has always been extremely helpful and has become a source of inspiration for me! Let me show you what I mean!

I love the originality that Jayne has put into these copper ACEO art cards! I had to have her do a custom for myself!
Thus, THE SNOW KISS became...

...SNOW KISS!Her creativity doesn't stop there, either! My favorite form of art that Jayne created are her altered art dolls! So, another custom was created!

My grandmother Gottsch...

Jayne created three altered art dolls using this original picture. I gave these art dolls to my mother and her two sisters as a unique and special way to remember their mother, my grandmother.

zJayne's altered art dolls have become a signature representation of her art! She is featured in a book: The Vision Board:The Secret to an Extraordinary Lifeby Author Joyce Schwarz Published by Collins Design (Harper Collins) "

Jane is very conscious of the earth and preserving her resources. She supports the "green" effort and "upcycles" to create amazing products you can use in your daily life.

Check out zJayne's wonderful work at her shops and blog below:






Check out Jodie Pastor's (aka: Lake Erie Beach Glass) shops and blog below:


Lake Erie Beach Glass on Etsy

Lake Erie Beach Glass on 1000 Markets

Lake Erie Beach Glass on Art Fire

Lake Erie Beach Glass Blog


Thank you Jodie for being the first to send in a product review! Please be sure to also check out the amazing talent behind Lake Erie Beach Glass - Jodie Pastor.

*Personal Product Review and purchase pictures, picture of zJayne sent by Jodie Pastor

Friday, March 13, 2009

Summer Is On The Way...

I love this time of year... and I start looking forward to it again every late fall... the onset of summer.... the warm sun and sandy shores beckons my sea inspired wearables! All authentic, hand-picked sea glass has been used in delivering these original and one-of-a-kind designs.


Only the best materials have been used to bring you fashion forward coastal clothing and footwear! Stock up now at my Etsy or 1000 Markets store! If you don't see something in your size - I always accept custom orders!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Today...


Today is a new day... a new day to be inspired... a new day to create... to wipe the slate clean and harness all it has to offer....

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Come Take a Stroll on The Boardwalk for Timeless Coastal Treasures!


Visit The Boardwalk at 1000 Markets to explore a plethora of timeless coastal treasures that could be yours! The Boardwalk is comprised of artists and craftspeople - all whom have a love for the coast. You can find anything from sea glass jewelry, clothing, footwear, coastal tableware, paintings, photography, soaps, kitchen hardware and so much more. Stop by, browse... or purchase something for your beach home!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Daylight Savings... Warm Weather... Spring... Summer... Bring it on!


One thing my family and I try to do a lot of in the spring & summer is sea kayaking. I love to explore the islands and inlets you can't normally access by foot. We got my older daughter a brand new single kayak for her 14th birthday last year with all the bell and whistles.


When she was in 5th grade she purchased a top-of-the-line 2 person inflatable from West Marine in Marblehead. So she got a real "upgrade" last year. We have been using the 2 person inflatable with 2 adults and one child.... however, to be able to explore to the fullest and really make day trips possible - we need to upgrade as well.


We are looking into a 2 person (with additional child seat and storage) Hobie that you sit on top. We figured it would be the safest for the sea and with a 4 year old on board. I can't wait for the good weather - we turned the clocks ahead this morning - the sun shines longer each day... our moods brighten and we feel better.... bring it on!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Momma... Do I Really Look Like a Turtle??

Let's start March 2009 off with something cute and funny - People who look like animals...

OK... this is meant to be cute and funny - not harsh. So - I have selected a picture of my 4 year old daughter when she was about 5 months. I remember when she would smile and make her funny, excited face - thinking..."what does she remind me of..."


Low and behold it came to me - a turtle! When I was showing this to my daughter she said "We don't look alike - I don't have paws!" You have to admit this is too darn cute and man do they look alike!

Well, I have to say - she looks nothing like a turtle anymore...

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