Sunday, March 28, 2010

Folding Books

I've been working on a special order for several weeks now. It's an experiment in using a special font - what a rollercoaster ride of emotions during the whole thing! I don't know that I did it well enough for continuing, but I'm going to keep working on it for myself at least.

Also, I've been putting off doing my tutorial for the folded books. Brian suggested I shut down my Etsy shop for a couple of weeks to focus completely on the tutorial... I think it's a good idea. I really want to get it done...

Speaking of publishing things, last summer, the week before we moved into our house, I got an unexpected email from Jason Thompson of Rag and Bone Bindery. He told me that he was in the midst of writing a book about using books for art, had seen my alphabet books and wanted to add them to the book.

Flattered? YES! Was it possible? Mmm... maybe. I rushed to get pictures taken and uploaded to his publisher's server. The book came out this week and I bought a copy from Amazon. I'm not in it, but when I look at the other artists who are in the book and think that I was considered worthy of being included, I'm in awe... I'm also ashamed that the pictures I took were nowhere near the quality of the pictures in the book. Good thing I have a new camera now... :)

BTW, the book is FABULOUS!!!! Buy it.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Putting Your Heart Out There

When I set up my Etsy shop back in October of 2007, I was nervous as heck. It's one thing to make handmade items as gifts - people can't complain. This week has been tough as I've had two people make comments about stuff I've made and sold to them. It's hard to be professional when you read completely out-of-the-blue vitriolic vindictiveness from complete strangers. What makes it okay to be like that?

I make sure my products have good pictures and appropriate descriptions. I've had lots of sales from people who've been happy with what they've received. Why is it that people feel compelled to tell me that my work is no good - when the things they have problems with are not problems, but the way things are with what I make? Paper beads are made of paper and have paper-like qualities. They are not going to be like glass beads. They are not going to be like polymer clay beads. They are most definitely not going to be like machine-made, mass-produced, made in Taiwan, every Wal-Mart has them kinds of beads.

And it's hard to take them as seriously when they TYPE IN ALL CAPS, have bad speling, real bad grammar and talk to you like you should have known all of this before you made something that no one else has ever made and/or sold before. Um, yeah. Grr.

Don't they read shipping policies and return policies? Mine says, "talk to me and we'll make it right." It doesn't say, "treat me like garbage and accuse me of lying to you in my pictures and advertising on my site." If you like Wal-Mart - buy there. Don't buy handmade. It means made by hand. Individually. Each of those beads is cut individually with a razor. I then roll them on a toothpick and glue them by hand. They are dipped one by one in a sealant and I sit there with the bead on a stick, waiting for the excess to drip off before putting them in neat little rows on my parchment paper. I look at each bead after it dries to make sure it doesn't have marks or obvious defects on it. Even though I've put that much effort into it at this point, I still have to have the courage to throw defective ones away. They don't even get saved for friends' gifts! (You know, because they can't complain)

Then I make these beads into jewelry. If it's a product I'm making for the first time, I show it to other people to see if I've gotten it right. After someone orders a product, I put it on a tag, seal it in its own baggie, wrap it in bubble wrap and then gift wrap it in tissue paper and ribbon. I put a thank you note in that. And I mail it to you. And I hope for the best. That you will take what I worked hard on, see it for what it is and appreciate it for just that.

Sorry, just feeling a bit like the world has lost its manners. I didn't go into business for this. But this is business.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

When the Worst is Over

I've had a special order that I've been mulling over for more than two weeks now. A customer wanted a folded book with the theme of her business as the word. The problem was that it was a long word - longer than any other I've done. I kept worrying about how to do it for days and days. I finally just told myself to do it the other day and, guess what.

It looks terrific!

Oh, a weird thing about my ABC books - they were in my shop for 9 months and were bought last week. This week I've had three emails from people wanting to buy them. Weird. (Happy, but weird!) When will I have time? I'm having envy for the unemployed people who come to my library. I want their time... (and I want to keep my paycheck)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Finally! Stitch Markers!

It's only taken me two weeks... yeah.

But I don't knit. Anyone know if these look right? Holly? The loops are 10mm...

Thursday, March 4, 2010


I don't think I will ever have time again...


But, working on stitch markers for the shop... stay tuned!