Thursday, April 26, 2007

Off to a good start...

I sent an email to my distribution list last night regarding my sale (yay!) and I'm off and running...

Just have to mention that Debbie, who was my first online customer on Etsy, was also the first to get a head-start on my sale! Thanks so much, Debbie (^_^)

Customers who purchase $15 or more can choose one of these four cards as their free gift; please click on it for a larger image:

Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Sprint into Spring...

I spend a lot of time on this computer - I mean A LOT.

I tell myself it's for my work, which is usually true, but I kinda think I could actually be making stuff, being productive. But this IS productive, right? I'm telling everyone about what I create and why I do it... and

... HEY, I'M HAVING A SALE in my Etsy shop, where you can see all the details! Click on the image below to see what I've been working on lately :)

And there are so many great things you can get on Etsy. Waaaaay too many good things...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Busy is good...

This is a really busy week.

So this isn't going to be a very well written entry, sorry.

Listed a few new items in my Etsy shop, like the bracelet and necklace below. Spent the entire morning yesterday adjusting all my shipping fees (I've lowered them!) ; I'm going to have a spring shopping sale starting tomorrow, and I just decided to make it for an entire week! I think people are starting to think about Mother's Day now, so hopefully they will be planning some gift purchases...
Above: Memory wire bracelet with carved black jade focal, chrysoprase, dyed purple jade, olive jade, turquoise, sterling silver, wood and copper bells.
Below: Kiku pendant, made with chiyogami paper on polymer clay.

Did I say this was a really busy week?

I have a few hours worth of stuff to do today on the community newspaper I volunteer on, plus this month is our Spring Babies issue, and I volunteered my services to do the layout for this issue. Me and my big mouth. That'll be a few more hours this week. There's also my tax receipts that need compiling, a couple of orders to work on, some supplies I have to purchase. Hmmm, when it's written down like this it doesn't seem like much, but I feel like my head is going to explode.

I am also working on a custom order for someone who saw my photo pendants at a craft show, but who wants a larger size piece to hang on the wall. This is proving to be much more challenging than I originally thought. Upon seeing my stress and how I wolfed down my dinner last night so that I could go back to work on it some more, my husband said very simply,

"Why don't you stop taking those orders?"

I think I may listen to him ...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

One dollar angel...

My sister and I went to the cemetary this past week-end. It was a swampy mess with all the rain and wet snow we've been getting. There were dozens of seagulls patrolling the grounds, staring down as they walked, waiting for worms. Quite a sight, I wish I had taken a picture. All the Christmas wreaths were still propped up on their stands, most of them artificial, so they were still bright green, the flowers on them very red. A little garish.

Of course, our Mom and Dad's wreath was brown after sitting there for 4 months! Mom would be appalled. She'd say, "If you're going to wait until April to visit then you may as well get us the fake one next time." The little angel we bought to put on their wreath was pretty raggedy and mangey but I thought she withheld the winter quite well considering she was only wearing standard angel gear (thin gown and shawl), and she did just cost a dollar, after all.

So I had to bring her home; I should not even bother asking myself how I end up with so much stuff. Here she is:
A friend of mine told me that often the death of someone close to you becomes a time for personal growth, since you have no choice but to find ways to get yourself through the tough times. Working through all that I guess you find strength and a way to see the good in the sad. My major challenge has been - and still is - to focus on the extraordinary 79 years and 7 months my mother led as a healthy and active woman, and not dwell on her 3 last months when she was in hospital.

I have a sad moment or two every day with regards to my mom, but all in all I am a happy person. So much I want to do, and I'm lucky that I'm doing some of it now. My newest designs have been most satisfying and the least painful to create; maybe I am learning to just do it and not think about it so much. Wouldn't that be something?

My mother was not a religious person, but she believed she had an angel looking out for her when she beat cancer ten years ago; that angel - a positive thought, a prayer, a meditation, a wish, hope - did keep her where she wanted to be. I am going to hang onto this dollar store angel that has been keeping my parents' company for the winter...that is, if I can keep it out of the jaws of my cat...

Monday, April 16, 2007

Aftermath of a craft show

Ok, so maybe the word aftermath is a bit melodramatic.

But aaahhhhh... a day to relax a little. Slept in - well, I guess it was more like catching up for the sleep I missed this past week-end. It doesn't seem to matter how prepared I am leading up to a craft show, the night before I always find stuff that I forgot and I end up sleeping for an hour, if that. This time was good, I slept for an hour and a HALF.

I got the spot I asked for at the show, right in the entrance to the library. Good traffic, nice and bright. Oh yeah, and I also happened to be across from the biscotti makers who had samples for tasting - mmmmm, samples. My husband had to work this week-end so I was on my own for two whole days; not much chance to browse around which was good so I didn't spend much.

Sales were good on Saturday, and not so good on Sunday, so the week-end evened out to an "OK". Got lots of positive feedback which is always nice. People can be very generous.

I managed to take pictures of some of my stuff, but for some reason, not of my whole display. This is what my cards looked like:

I was psyched and prepared for Mother's Day card and gift shoppers, but there were not many of those (too early?). Many people were treating themselves to a little gift or two though, which is great, right?

I made some sets of chokers and earrings since I've requests for those; was thrilled when this Pink & Red Sakura set sold since I think it came together really well. I'll have to make another one like it!

Was a little surpised my Michi pendant set didn't sell - I was tempted to keep it when I made it last week. Maybe it's a sign...

I did sell quite a few chokers with these chiyogami pendants though (yay!). I love putting them together, picking the stones, blending colours, shapes and textures. And I got really good feedback on them and my bracelets, which also sold well. My new earrings did well too. I was pleasantly surprised.

These are some of the collages I've been making for a few years now that I also displayed this week-end.
This post will end abruptly, since I now realize I have to take some photos before the natural daylight is completely shot. The added white of the 20cm of snow makes for good bright light. Until next time...

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Not too stressed... surprisingly

Well, preparations for the craft show continue. And not as stressed as I usually am. Hmm, something must be wrong. There's always tomorrow, plenty of time to stress out.

Made some new cards and listed a few on Etsy. I've had cat cards among my designs for a few years and dog lovers have been asking when I would start making dog cards; well, here is my first! This happy little guy sold a few minutes after I posted him on Etsy :)

The little figure on the card below is called a jizo. In Japan, a jizo is most well-known as a guardian of children, and also a protector of women and travellers. Jizo may comfort anyone dealing with sadness or the loss of someone dear; you often see these little statues placed at children's graves. My husband gave me a little jizo statue when my mom passed away, which is the inspiration for this card :)

This Happy Thoughts/Positivity card makes me smile - corny but true. I think it's because it was created when I was coming out of a rather dark patch. Finally able to feel a bit of peace, and that's what this card expresses...
Made a few origami cranes, or orizuru, and I like the way they look all lined up waiting to be packaged. Tomorrow will be for packaging, labelling, pricing and sign-making.

Gotta get back to it now...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Some new pendants...

I got some new paper from Japan last month and finally got around to making some new pendants with it! I was sooo excited - I mean jumping-up-and-down-excited - with my new batch of paper and I think the pendants turned out quite nicely. Some will go on simple ball chains and others will be combined with stones and beads into chokers. I think I'll have to keep one for myself :) Gotta get back to work now; making some new cards for this week-end too!

Monday, April 9, 2007

Preparing for a craft fair...

I've got a Spring Craft Fair to prepare for this coming weekend, and as usual, it's a last-minute scramble to finish a bunch of items this week. I've got a fair bit of stuff already, but there's always new ideas popping into my little brain - new stuff I'd like to try out on this weekend's customers. We'll see how much I get done...

So here's the craft fair info:
Saturday April 14th & Sunday April 15th
10am to 4pm
at the Dollard Civic Centre, 12001 de Salaberry, DDO, QC
Route 40, exit 55, take boul.des Sources North; then boul. de Salaberry West
*** I'll be just outside the library entrance!

With Mother's Day coming up, I'll have some great gift ideas at my kiosque:

- Custom photo pendants
- Chiyogami (Japanese patterned paper)pendants
- Semi-precious stone chokers & bracelets
- Sterling silver & semi-precious stone earrings
- Polymer clay jewelry: my ever-popular sushi jewelry and taiko drum jewelry
- Growing assortment of general cards, many of which are perfect for Mother's Day!
- Sets of note cards
- Origami crane decorations & cards

There will be over 55 artisans on site, selling all kinds of stuff. I will do my best to limit MY shopping!
This is the flyer I've sent out to my mailing list, with a few of the things I've been making. Please click on the image for a better view.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

I don't FEEL any different...

I celebrated 40 years on this planet last week-end.

It started with my sister taking me out for Indian food on Friday night (delish!); Saturday night my husband, JF, took me out for sushi, and he then cooked up an amazing brunch for family and friends on Sunday. Here I am carefully cutting my luscious St-Honoré (hubby didn't make that). Notice I am also wearing my Kodo concert t-shirt. (*see previous post for info on Kodo)

People were asking me if I feel any different now that I'm forty. Am I supposed to? The only difference this year is that my mom was not with me, which was a little hard. I know she would have been very impressed with all the food JF made.

Maybe I do feel a bit different in that I'm a little more comfortable with my own creativity. Might sound strange, but I've always put down what I do, what I make - just seems normal to belittle myself. Don't we all do that to some extent?

I made these chokers for a custom order today. Pretty happy with how they turned out - see how comfortable I am! I've got to work on more for my craft show next week-end.

And I listed these earrings. I'm having a good time taking photos, finding different backgounds for my pieces.