Sunday, February 23, 2014

Giveaway from Wilde Designs: 5x7 or 4x6 Print

Win a 5x7 or 4x6 Print of your choice, courtesy of Wilde Designs!
Get to know Beth, the artist behind Wilde Designs. She was featured as Saturday Artisan yesterday.

Here are some of my favorites. There are more in her shop, so check it out!


http://www.wildeshops.com/w/p/235/duck-pond-print#.UwqE3YW0NK4



http://www.wildeshops.com/w/p/277/demeter-persephone-print#.UwqE0oW0NK4


http://www.wildeshops.com/w/p/246/haz-a-flower-print#.UwqFK4W0NK4


http://www.wildeshops.com/w/p/257/oscar-wilde-quotations-prints#.UwqFXoW0NK4


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contest starts now and ends on March 9th, 2014. Contest opens to worldwide. Don't forget to leave me a way to contact you. Entries without contact information will be disqualified. Entries that do not follow the rules will be disqualified. Contest winner will be drawn on March 10th. Winner must respond within 48 hours after being contacted otherwise another winner will be randomly selected. Good luck, everyone!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Saturday Artisan: Wilde Designs

Meet Beth, our Saturday Artisan. I had a pleasure featuring Beth in the past and this is her 2nd time being featured here. She has a new website: Wilde Designs, check it out!

If you like geeky stuff, you would love her shop!


Tell us a bit about yourself and what arts/ crafts that you make?


I've been making crafts since I was old enough to figure out how much fun drawing and stringing beads together can be. As I got older, working for myself and selling my work full time became one of my biggest dreams. I'm still a long way from that being my primary income, but it makes me feel good to know that others enjoy my work as much as I enjoy making it.


Over the past few years, I've begun making more and more upcycled pieces using old VHS covers, calendars, and magazine clippings. It's fun learning to make new things and expanding my shop.


What is the story behind your shop name?  

When I first started selling online in 2007, I was on a major Oscar Wilde kick. His wit and humor fit well with how I saw myself and the shop that I wanted to run. I'm a graphic designer by trade, so the two came together, and it's stuck ever since. 

 

Who is your target market?

Geeks and oddballs, for the most part. I certainly have some very normal, very mainstream items in my shop, but a lot of it tends to be more off the wall and geek-centric. It's what I enjoy, and most of the people who come back often tend to share my love of strange.


Which part of creation process that you enjoy the most?

I enjoy seeing the finished product. Nothing compares to knowing that you came up with an idea, put it together, and managed to make it work the way you wanted - or sometimes even better! It keeps me going even when sales are slow.

http://www.wildeshops.com/w/p/734/audrey-hepburn-domino-necklace#.UwhnL4W0NK4

For us who love to travel, could you share a bit about your beautiful town/ city? 

I live in Ponder, TX, which is a tiny town near Denton (which is, in turn, near the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex). It's a tiny little town, but since it's close to so much, it's a wonderful place to be. Every time I get annoyed with my twenty minute commute to work, I find myself seeing a gorgeous sunset or sunrise and remember why it's worth the extra effort.

Could you share on how your organize your products, we all can use a little tips here and there in this department?

That is a skill I find I am constantly honing. My methods have changed dramatically over time. My craft room became my son's room, so now my craft supplies are housed in the loft, which also serves as office space for my husband and I. We have three large sets of Expedit shelves from IKEA, and with those and a lot of storage cubes (including some I made myself out of old diaper boxes), everything manages to have a place.

What is your best seller?

The My Other Car is a Police Box bumper stickers, hands down. It's one of the few items I've had to fully restock since moving to my stand alone store. It makes me happy that they do so well because I adore them too.

http://www.wildeshops.com/w/p/729/my-other-car-is-a-police-box-bumper-sticker#.UwhkqYW0NK4

How does your day go in general?

I get up at 6am (even on weekends, my son keeps to his schedule, silly toddler!), do breakfast with Pike and my husband Wes. Then it's an hour of getting Pike to daycare and me to work, a full nine hours in the office, then an hour of getting Pike and getting back home. I'm lucky that my husband works remotely for his company, so he usually gets dinner going for us before we get home. It's awesome! Then there's family time and, often, after Pike is off to bed at seven, I end up using my "me" time to do shop business.

How do you balance your personal and work life?

With working full time and running a small business, sometimes it feels like I don't very well, but I'm learning. Hopefully I get better all the time at carving out time for everything that I want to do.

What inspires you?

Usually whatever show or movie I'm obsessed with. I find random hits of inspiration in the strangest places - a throwaway line from an episode of Supernatural or a painting a friend did. I haven't found a sure fire formula except to keep sketch pads handy so I can always jot something down.

 
http://www.wildeshops.com/w/p/336/dallas-skyline-print#.Uwhl1YW0NK5

 

What is your goal for 2014?  

My goal is to increase my sales and just plain get myself out there more. This should definitely be a step in the right direction! I also want to work on my shop organization, move some old items out and some new items in, which will be time consuming but also lots of fun.

Any advice for others running their on-line shop?

Keep going. It will sometimes feel utterly futile or just plain hard or tedious, but if at the end of the day the feeling of someone wanting *your* work makes you feel amazing? Keep working. Keep creating. It won't always click with people, but when it does, it's fantastic.

Where can we find Sarah and her Wilde Designs?

Blog
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
Tumblr
Instagram


Stay-tuned for tomorrow's giveaway!

 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Giveaway from Shadow Dog Designs: Fuchsia Czech Glass Swarovski Earrings

Win this awesome giveaway! Catherine of Shadow Dog Designs is giving away a pair of  Fuchsia Czech Glass Swarovski Earrings.

Get to know Catherine a little bit more by visiting the last Saturday Artisan post.



 All eyes will be on you when wearing these fabulously cheerful handmade earrings, named FUCHSIA IS SO FUN. "Glowing" and " stunning" should be their middle name. Created with fuchsia colored Czech glass tumbled nuggets, 6 mm and 4 mm "fuchsia" Swarovski crystal faceted bicones and sterling silver, they will definitely lift your spirits any time you wear them! The one of a kind beaded earrings were designed and created by Catherine of Shadow Dog Designs. 

 

The color of the Czech glass nuggets is a luscious color of fuchsia, a deep magenta pink. The nuggets are faceted with an English cut and have been lightly tumbled to give an old, antiqued look to the glass. Because of that, some edges are worn and there are spots that almost look like smoothed chips in the glass. The glass was then given a shimmery metallic finish that sometimes glistens with a pale tangerine color when the light hits it just right. Fabulous! As you can see in photos #2 and #7, when backlit, the color absolutely comes alive. Now just imagine these on your ears! A sterling silver daisy spacer caps the top and bottom of the nuggets. In addition, a 2 mm sterling bead was added at the bottom.

To add even more sparkle to the FUCHSIA IS SO FUN earrings, I chose to add two different sizes of "fuchsia" faceted Swarovski crystal bicones: 6 mm and 4 mm. The crystals were stacked one on the other above the Czech glass nuggets. A sterling silver daisy spacer separates the 6 mm Swarovski crystal from the Czech glass and a 2 mm sterling bead separates the crystals. A 2 mm sterling bead was placed on top of the smaller crystal.

All the components used to create the main body of the FUCHSIA IS SO FUN earrings were strung on handmade (by me) sterling silver headpins. The headpins have a hand hammered loop at the bottom to add extra interest. The top of the headpin was carefully wire wrapped into a loop and then connected to sterling silver French hook earwires. A lovely finish for a fun pair of earrings!

a Rafflecopter giveaway Contest starts now and ends on March 2, 2014. Contest opens to worldwide (tracking may not be available to countries outside of US). Don't forget to leave me a way to contact you. Entries without contact information will be disqualified. Entries that do not follow the rules will be disqualified. Contest winner will be drawn on March 3rd. Winner must respond within 48 hours after being contacted otherwise another winner will be randomly selected. Good luck, everyone!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Saturday Artisan: Shadow Dog Designs



Meet Catherine our Saturday Artisan! She is the artist and owner of Shadow Dog Designs, where you find beautiful, one-of-a-kind handmade jewelries. I admire her works, each is truly crafted with passion. Each has its own story, clearly told in the listing description. Catherine is one amazing artists I have a pleasure to 'meet' on Artfire. She is a friendly, down to earth lady who is ready to help and great to work with.

Tell us a bit about yourself and what arts/ crafts that you make?


I grew up in Texas, and after many years of living up and down the East Coast and Canada, my husband and I relocated back to Texas two years ago, about as far west as you can get and still be in Texas. I am constantly astounded at the beauty of the desert and love the vibrant Texas/New Mexico/Mexico culture that can be found here.

Using the incredible beauty of Nature as my inspiration, I create mostly one of a kind jewelry using mainly semi-precious stones and sterling silver, although I do use copper quite a bit now. I love to incorporate other artists’ work into my creations, whether it’s polymer clay pendants, lampwork beads or other handmade items that catch my eye. I hope that my jewelry becomes like dear friends, pieces that you reach for over and over again because of their beauty, uniqueness and comfort. 


What is the story behind your shop name?  


My business, Shadow Dog Designs, was named after the 2 rescue dogs (later another rescue was added) that my husband and I had the privilege of sharing a life with. The name came about 14-15 years ago. The Shadow Dogs would follow me everywhere and were my big protectors. Naming the business after the dogs seemed the most logical choice. Plus I like the way the name rolls off the tongue! Unfortunately the first 3 Shadow Dog are now gone, but Seamus, our adopted Catahoula mix, fills their paws nicely.

 

Who is your target market?

My target market is ladies who don't want run-of-the-mill, mass produced jewelry. They love and appreciate the heart and soul that goes into designing a unique piece of jewelry that no one else will have. Most of the ladies that buy from me are between 40-65 years old and have disposable income, although I have had girls as young as 8 years old buy peace sign earrings from me. 

 
http://www.artfire.com/ext/shop/product_view/ShadowDogDesigns/8597326/ancient_horse_bronze_coin_replica_necklace_handmade_jasper_turquoise/handmade/jewelry/necklaces/gemstone

Ancient Horse Bronze Coin Replica Necklace Handmade Jasper Turquoise

Which part of creation process that you enjoy the most?

When the Muses are rocking, I enjoy all parts of the creation process . . . from the excitement when I find that perfect strand of gemstones to when I take a close look at the final design made with those gemstones and am delighted with the piece.


Could you share on how your organize your products, we all can use a little tips here and there in this department?

Organization? What is that??? LOL! My beads are organized (ha, somewhat!) in plastic bins with drawers, usually by color or by specific stones, on plastic bookshelves along one wall. Overflow goes into whatever is handy! I also have an old drop leaf desk with handy cubbyholes where I do the packing of jewelry that has sold. I had a friend recently visit who walked into the room and was about floored by the "chaos". It is my chaos, however, and I seem to be able to find things (mostly). 

What is your best seller?

I can't say what my best seller is since most pieces are one of a kind. More earrings are sold than necklaces, probably due to the price point. I do sell a lot of turquoise necklaces, both on line and at shows.

http://www.artfire.com/ext/shop/product_view/ShadowDogDesigns/8332286/turquoise_copper_necklace_handmade_gemstone_nuggets_unique_jewelry/handmade/jewelry/necklaces/gemstone

Turquoise Nugget Copper Necklace Handmade Gemstone Unique Jewelry OOAK


How does your day go in general?

My days are fairly regulated. Mornings are usually spent answering emails and promo work with the various groups I participate in. About 11:00 I normally go work out, which is a wonderful chance to interact with other ladies since sitting in front of the computer or at my work table is very solitary. The afternoons are usually spent creating/photographing/editing/listing items. Sometimes I even try to "tame" my work area if the Muses are taking a day off. Evenings are usually spent with my husband, although I do seem to sneak back upstairs around 9:00ish for another hour on the computer. Weekends are more relaxed.  

What inspires you?

The colors and textures of Mother Nature inspires me, no matter where we have lived. As I type this, I can look out huge windows and see for miles and miles, across the Rio Grande into New Mexico and over to the next mountain range in Mexico. It's an awe inspiring view and is constantly changing depending on the light, the weather and the time of day. From another window I can look out the opposite way and watch the Franklin Mountains which are much closer than those in Mexico. I never get tired of watching the mountains.

http://www.artfire.com/ext/shop/product_view/ShadowDogDesigns/7980146/sunset_swarovski_chandelier_earrings_handmade_copper_crystal_jewelry/handmade/jewelry/earrings/crystal

Sunset Swarovski Chandelier Earrings Handmade Copper Crystal Jewelry

What is your goal for 2014?  

My goal for 2014 is to continue developing a larger online presence and to keep building my local clientele by doing higher end, juried shows. I also have new ideas for jewelry designs rattling around in my head - we'll see where the Muses take me. 


Any advice for others running their on-line shop?

Work hard - internet selling is HARD work with many, many hours involved. Don't under price your work - ask what it is worth!


Where can we find Shadow Dog Designs?

Blog
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
Wanelo
Google+
Amazine

Stay-tuned for tomorrow's giveaway! It'll be an awesome one :-)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Spotted Tuesday: Sweet and Green

My son is quite sentimental and sweet. He melts my heart with his sweet words. Just last night, he asked if we could put a TV in his bedroom just like the one he has in our house in Vancouver. My answer was, "No, you do not need a TV in your room." Then I went on with my preaching that nothing is free and that you really have to work hard to get what you want. He replied, "That's okay, Mama. I will work really hard and when I'm 19 (the age that he thinks he'll be a grown up), I will earn money and buy 2 TVs. One for me and one for you and Papa.

How about this birthday card that he made for me? Not bad at all coming from a 6 years old boy, I'd say.





This picture below was taken by his teacher at the playground last year. I so appreciate the thoughtfulness of this amazing teacher. Taking pictures of her students and sharing them to parents.



With this picture in mind, I find these beautiful handmade products on Artfire and Storenvy.

http://www.artfire.com/ext/shop/product_view/CherishedBlessings/4719836/wedding_favors_favor_bags_french_country_cottage_chic_candy_buffet_/wedding/favors/paper_goods

Paper Straws Lime Green Chevron from


http://www.artfire.com/ext/shop/product_view/FadedLeaves/7683450/calendula_salve_all_natural_organic_diaper_rashes_cuts_and_scrapes/handmade/bath_and_beauty/salves/diaper_rash

Calendula Salve Natural and Organic for cuts scrapes diaper rash from



http://www.artfire.com/ext/shop/product_view/Covergirlbeads/6708796/shiny_beads_handmade_lampwork_glass_bead_transparent_dark_grass_green_/handmade/jewelry/handmade_jewelry_supplies/lampwork

Shiny Handmade Lampwork Glass Bead Transparent Dark Grass Green from

http://www.artfire.com/ext/shop/product_view/KatsAllThat/4783259/Verdigis_Bronze_Woodsy_Leaf_and_Topaz_Crystal_Dangle_Brass_Earrings/Jewelry/Earrings/Crystal

Verdigris Bronze Woodsy Leaf and Topaz Crystal Dangle Brass Earrings from


Limeade plumeria flower clip from Violet's Buds



Felt Embroidery Hoop Art – Xelpho the Red Panda from squshies

http://www.storenvy.com/products/3780364-happy-baby-bunny

Happy Baby Bunny from Kiser Krafts



Feel free to share this using your social media. Leaving a comment will make my day! Thank you for stopping by!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Giveaway from AyaDesigns: Shell Pearls and Crystal Rondelles Stretch Bangle Bracelet

Here is a GIVEAWAY you do not want to miss out!

AyaDesigns is generously giving away this beautiful Muted Shell Pearls and Crystal Rondelles Stretch Bangle Bracelet

Get to know Aya our Saturday Artisan this week. My interview with her can be found here.

http://www.artfire.com/ext/shop/product_view/AyaDesigns/6629315/muted_shell_pearls_and_crystal_rondelles_stretch_bangle_bracelet/handmade/jewelry/bracelets/shell_pearl

Stunning 12mm shell pearls and 2 silver Swarovski crystals rondelles strung on stretch jelly cord that is doubled for extra strength. Each bracelet has a different shell pearl center in muted tones of chocolate, silver, buttercream and silvery white.


I ordered this bracelet last month as I was SO in love with it and had to get it! I am a pearls lover myself.


 One lucky winner will get this gorgeous bracelet, so what are you waiting for?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contest starts now and ends on February 23rd, 2014. Contest opens to worldwide (FREE SHIPPING to US and CANADA only). Don't forget to leave me a way to contact you. Entries without contact information will be disqualified. Entries that do not follow the rules will be disqualified. Contest winner will be drawn on February 24th. Winner must respond within 48 hours after being contacted otherwise another winner will be randomly selected. Good luck, everyone!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Saturday Artisan: AyaDesigns


Happy Saturday!
This week, our Saturday Artisan is Aya of AyaDesigns.

I always admire Aya's work. Her designs are amazing and she combines colors perfectly. Take a look at this Gorgeous Multi Colored Three Strands Freshwater Pearls Necklace for example, stunning isn't it?

http://www.artfire.com/ext/shop/product_view/AyaDesigns/8216135/gorgeous_multi_colored_three_strands_freshwater_pearls_necklace/handmade/jewelry/necklaces/shell_pearl

As part of The Artisan Group (TAG), an elite art promotions group representing talented small-business artisans at the best celebrity gift lounges, Aya has designed custom pieces for exclusive collaborative gift bags prepared especially for Hollywood celebs including Tyra Banks, Amy Poehler, Mariska Hargitay, Brandi Glanville and Stephanie Drapeau! Featured in GBK's The Artisan Group 2013 Oscars Gift Guide.

Let's get to know Aya a little bit more, shall we?

Tell us a bit about yourself and what arts/ crafts that you make?


I'm a military brat born in France to a French Mom and American Dad. I've traveled all over the world and my love of travel and fashion has taken me in this direction. What started as a hobby has turned into a wholesale business (I sell to stores in MI, FL, OK and GA) at the urging of my adult daughters a few years ago.
My online business is a side note but I'm really loving it!
I handcraft jewelry using natural stones, semi precious stones, freshwater pearls, Lampwork beads and crystals. I go to gem shows to choose my own stones - it's a lot of fun.



What is the story behind your shop name?  

Not too original, I'm afraid. I've used my nickname. My full given name is Ariane.
Aya came as a result of my closest sister not being able to pronounce the French version of Ariane (Ah Ree Anne) - it became Eye Ah! :D
When I lived in Turkey, I was told that it means To the Moon ... so I've always liked my nickname!


Who is your target market?

My target market is anyone who loves beautiful classic, elegant, affordable jewelry. I do cater to a lot of brides and their bridesmaids as well.

http://www.artfire.com/ext/shop/product_view/AyaDesigns/6976644/green_enamel_rhinestones_and_crystals_owl_stretch_cocktail_ring/handmade/jewelry/rings/metalsmithed



Which part of creation process that you enjoy the most?

From the minute I get new stones and findings, I'm excited to get back to my work station and start putting pieces together. I've been known to take apart and restring many times until I get the piece that pleases me the most.


For us who love to travel, could you share a bit about your beautiful town/ city? 

I have been settled in Atlanta, GA now since 1989. I came via France, Belgium, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and many states thanks to my military Dad and my ex husband who is an airline pilot.


Could you share on how your organize your products, we all can use a little tips here and there in this department?

I'm a bit of a neat freak - it's taken many tries to find the right bins and containers to store my stones and findings. Nothing genius but it works for me.




What is your best seller?

I don't know that I have any one best seller since I make mostly one of a kind items but I seem to do really well with my shell pearls stretch bracelets - they resemble Mikimoto pearls but are a fraction of the cost ... and Southern women especially love them.

http://www.artfire.com/ext/shop/product_view/AyaDesigns/6629315/muted_shell_pearls_and_crystal_rondelles_stretch_bangle_bracelet/handmade/jewelry/bracelets/shell_pearl



How does your day go in general?

I'm retired from an actual real day job so my day is whatever I want it to be now! I try to walk anywhere from 4-8mi a day or swim laps (I'm a former competitive swimmer). I will then spend time taking photos and editing pics of my jewelry during the sunlight hours and usually will spend about 4-5 hours crafting in the evening while watching (listening really) to PBS or HGTV. I usually do this 5-6 days a week and always try to take one or two off just to recharge.





How do you balance your personal and work life?

My work life is something I love but I always have time to spend with friends or family. I'm blessed in that regard. Never forget to enjoy life, it's short and so very precious.


What inspires you?

Everything inspires me! I love nature and people and travel and photography and life ... I'm continually evolving in taste and style but I think it's a good thing! I'm inspired by happy, content people. I'm inspired by middle eastern colors, I'm inspired by the French woman's style.


What is your goal for 2014?  

I'll be 55 in May 2014 and my biggest goal is to travel to Morocco! I still travel to France every year to visit my Mom (my parents divorced and she moved back to her homeland), but I am now doing hiking trips in a different country each year as well.
Business wise, I'd love to reach a level of comfort where I don't have to work so hard on promotions since it's so time consuming (maybe that's a dream, not a goal).
I also plan to get a check-up and take better care of this middle-aged body!



Any advice for others running their on-line shop?

The biggest advice is to self-promote! Use the tools out there to get your shop more exposure. This blog is a great example of that, Facebook biz page, twitter and your local newspaper are others. Don't be timid. And if you are turned down, there's always another door! Believe in yourself.

http://www.artfire.com/ext/shop/product_view/AyaDesigns/5784280/apple_green_jade_peach_sponge_coral_and_pink_crystals_earrings/handmade/jewelry/earrings/gemstone



Saving money is important; tell us one thing that you do to save money?

I do like to save money! No real tricks but I'm a couponer and a firm believer in contributing to an IRA. It's never too late to start. The more you save, the more you'll want to!

How to be in touch with Aya?

Facebook
Twitter 
Pinterest 
Polyvore 
Fancy 

Stay-tuned for tomorrow's giveaway!