Tuesday, September 29, 2009

October is...

...a very special month for us. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Miki lost her own mother to this insidious disease, so did her sister-in-law. One of her best friends has been battling it for years and so many other women have lost women they love and care for; mothers, sisters, daughters, aunts, nieces and friends. So we are dedicating proceeds of sales this month in their honor. October is also Domestic Violence Prevention month and is yet another thing women need contend with.

Our campaign is THINK PINK & PURPLE! We will be donating 20% of ALL sales from all three shops (website, Etsy and Artfire) to "Susan G. Komen for the Cure". An additional 10% of all THINK PINK & PURPLE items will also be donated to "Women in Distress of Broward". It doesn't matter what colors you prefer or buy, you can still THINK PINK & PURPLE by purchasing something from our shops, for yourself or a friend, and know that you've helped contribute a little bit to the search for the cure.

We are joining with other Guilds, Shops and Teams for this fund raising campaign. This Fundraiser will start on October 1st and run through October 31st. Participating Guild studios will be donating a % of their sales for the month to one or both of the causes. We will be listing the shops, guilds and team sites participating in this event so you can help them help others.

***Please 'Help Us Help' these very worthy causes***

If you would like to add your shop, guild or team link to this list, please email us privately.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I'm not sure if I do or don't. My partner and I attended a local Pagan Pride Festival today and had a really great time. Wish I'd remembered my camera though. (sigh) I didn't get a lot of sleep last night and woke up early today. A little on the grouchy side and I didn't expect much from the festival.

While I didn't have a lot of sales, I did have a great time. For some reason, a lot of gifts came my way. The day started with a bit of negative energy from a group of people who got upset because of my "daring" to use the electrical outlet behind their tables. They were along a wall, I was in the middle of the room and needed electric. The organizers had told me to use that outlet and even supplied me with the extension cord. They kept telling me I couldn't do it, It was dangerous. People would trip. That's what duct tape is for and I had plenty of it.

Anyway, I decided to absorb the negative, throw it away and balance it by doing something nice for someone else. So, I did. I stepped in and calmed someone who had driven 300 miles to be at the festival and was upset with the fact that someone else had "taken over" a large portion of her spot. I figured out a solution and everyone was happy. In return, I received a beautiful silver snake chain necklace and crystal pendant. Great energy.

Then the group that had started the day with a bad vibe, gave me a beautiful plant. I was having hot flashes (lucky me) and some of the young girls were hanging out with me while I was making rings on the spot and fanning me with their fans. LOL I was talking to someone else, mentioning that I'd been there hours and not one sale and she gave me a malachite shard. Told me to put it in my cash box. So I did. I swear to you up down and sideways it's the honest truth, but within 5 minutes of my putting the shard in my cash box, I sold a necklace and earring set for $50. Amazing!

What started out as a tired, bad vibing, icky day, turned into one of the most satisfying days I've had in a long time. Cat had almost as an incredible day, reading Tarot for a lot of people, as I did. Seems there was a log of positive energy around us which drew a number of people to her. Like I said, we get as good as we give.

So, let me send out to cyberspace, some of the wonderful, positive energy that came my way today. I don't know if I really believe in instant karma, but the things that happened today have no other explanation. What you give you get. After all, one of the fundamental laws of our universe is cause and effect so why can't Karma and all the rest be true too? :)

What do you believe?

Updated 09/20/09 11:42 PM EST: Almost forgot to mention that someone is giving us two 10x10 canopy tents. No sides or anything but this will definitely open more venues for us as we can now go to outdoor craft shows with a bit of security from the hot sun and rain. Like I said, instant Karma. WOW I'm a believer.

Monday, September 14, 2009

September Featured Artisan

I'm a member of the Florida Etsy Street Team aka FEST and decided to feature one of our team members in this month's blog. Taffy Knits is a true needle-artist making some of the sweetest knitted and felted hats, bags and objects I've seen, that I just had to tell you about her. Taffy Knits creations are original, quirky and reasonably priced.

Ranging from a beautiful Brick House Bag, which we hear will be featured in DIY Magazine next month, to a Felted Tea Cups Knitting Pattern to really sweet hats, these designs are a must have for anyone who loves handcrafted art.

Now Stephanie, who started Taffy Knits has only been knitting about 7 years. "We had these comfortable evenings where my children had to read aloud to me for homework," Stephanie said, "and I wanted to be doing something with my hands that still let me be focused on them, yet doing something for me at the same time."

Apparently she is so into her knitting, that she will often burn dinner and the kids are stuck eating it. Poor babies. But her wonderful attention to detail shows. "I like to knit an item and then felt it, because it will hold that shape so firmly." she wrote "The Simmering Cauldron and the Tea Pot are good examples of those."

Stephanie loves to share her craft. She teaches at the local library, her children knot alongside with her now and their friends are becoming interested in lerning too. She is helping a whole new generation find the love, peace, serenity, fun and creative outlet in this oldest of needlecrafts.

So do yourself a favor and check out this wonderful Florida artist and tell her what you think. We all need a little encouragement and the work at Taffy Knits is truly superb!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Street Fairs

Street fairs are fun but in the heat and humidity of South Florida's rainy season, they're brutal as well. Cat and I attended the Third Second on Second Thursdays block party, pub crawl, art fair last Thursday. This is a relatively new event that 7 restaurant/pub owners in Downtown Himmarshee (Second Street) in Ft. Lauderdale thought up to try to bring more business to the area in this time of economic recession. We were even featured on the local news and you can see my partner on TV at CBS4. What a hoot!

Besides ourselves, there were a group of marine photographers with some really neat photos, a really great Zen artist and another jeweler who does lost wax casting and a lot of lapidary work making knives out of obsidian, etc. Rolling Rock beer and New Times sponsored the event and were there also. The event benefited the Riverwalk Trust.

While a small event, I managed to make some contacts and even sold two of my pieces. Cat managed to make quite a bit doing Tarot readings and being her usual bubbly self. We definitely plan on being there next month though I will hope and pray that it's a little cooler. We managed to avoid the rain up until the last 15 minutes.

We had everything packed into the carriers and had just gotten ready to fold up the tables and get the car when the heavens opened up and we not only got rain, we got a downpour that had me soaked to the skin in less than 2 minutes. Let me tell you, it's not fun being hot to the point of being soaked in your own sweat. Add a torrential downpour and while it's cooling, it's quite, quite uncomfortable. Remind me to avoid outdoor September events next year. I'm not even sure October is going to be any better. After all, it is our rainy season but I don't ever want to do this again in this kind of weather. ACK!

I have to say I enjoy going to craft fairs and events though setting up and breaking down are hard on my back. We've also got to work more on setting up the right type of display. we're still working on that. As you can see, we bought a couple of folding, adjustable tables from Sam's Club. (Thanks Yahoo Groups!) Cat found some inexpensive black tablecloths and the pretty gold scarf cloths for the tables online. I've been collecting display pieces and think a lot about how to show everything. But it's not easy. We'll be getting a banner made and perhaps next time I'll remember the bracelet display. [sigh]

But hey, I sold some jewelry, made some contacts and had a fun time. Isn't that what it's all about?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

This article is coming out of a wonderful discussion I had with a very talented goldsmith who is trying to educate people on exactly what custom work is. He writes this whole article on his site where he talks about fabricating a ring for you, or making a wax carving and then manufacturing it for you, or say you want stones on it, you may have your own or you may want to buy from him. Stones come in all qualities so you can spend most of your money on the highest quality stone or go for the glam and save. There are so many individual pieces that go into making a custom piece that people tend to shy away from it. All of the above mentioned type work is what most people think of as 'custom', but actually, anything can be custom. A simple droplet earring in the colors of your, a wire wrapped ring, with the birthstones of your children, a funky necklace made to complement your grandmother's old brooch, they're all custom pieces. The most important thing he taught me was... "If you can't walk into a store, point at something in a case and buy it, it's 'custom'. So when you think of custom work, don't think 'expensive', think 'exact'. You get exactly what you want, rather than simply choosing from what's available!

That can be a great boon to someone who absolutely LOVES this earring, but would much rather have it in silver and red, or copper and peach or any other metal, crystal combination. It's very easy to do and in some cases, such as doing this gold earring in silver, will actually cost you less. But you'll still get the bragging rights of "It was custom made for me."

The person I'm talking about I just met on the Orchid forum part of the Ganoskin Project. Pete Schlosser has 7 years experience as a gold smith in the trade, currently lives in Minnesota with his wife and is seriously thinking of moving down here to Florida. In true southern tradition, We all would be so plea-ased to hay-uve y'all come and live dowen here with us. LOL Of course I think the move is a while away. Considering between Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens and Palm Beach is not an easy choice. I'm all the way down in the depths of South Florida so anything north of Boynton seems foreign to me. I just gotta get me out more. LOL You can find Pete's site at The Goldsmithy. In his own words, "How fast things change. Here's my website, now ancient in design (2003?). Every piece shown is that old, I never update the site even though I probably should."

Anyway, I'm hoping that you will learn a bit more about what custom work is and why you should always ask if someone will customize a piece for you. It's the best way to get exactly what you want, at a price you want to pay.



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