Bits and Pieces and Twitter

I think each of the following things could be their own post. Sometimes it's better to consolidate.

Two of Etsy's founders are leaving the company. As an older Etsyan, one who remembers when it was just the four guys running the whole site, the news came as a bit of a shock and a touch of sadness. I wish them the best, though.

I changed my blog's url. It's no longer 'thelpblogs' but 'not-rachel'. Be sure to add the dash or you will get taken to another blog that has my old template and probably be all-around confused. Don't want that. :)

I'm going to be doing a show in my town. Yeah, baby. I should probably alert the CT team. I think there are a few of us in Northern CT. I'm excited and trying not to freak out. I'm making lists and checking them twice, ordering supplies, and working out display ideas.

My Twitter people are much faster at reporting the news than even Google. There were early morning tweetings of who McCain had chosen for his VP. When I googled, they put up related searches of 'mccain potatoes'...among others. It took about an hour for Google to catch up. Love my Twitter peeps. (I found out the Etsy news on Twitter as well.)

I could go on, but I've run together several long posts.

Post Picture: My commission is nearly packaged. Yay!



Convex necklace
Originally uploaded by lpdesigns
Okay, first, because I can't believe I waited this long to alert the world...I sold that necklace at the market today! *faints* The buyer was a really nice lady who had stopped by my table before and was actually hankering after a different necklace. But she'd had a bad vacation and needed to cheer herself up. I'm thrilled to bits. It got a lot of 'views' and compliments everywhere it's been shown. I'm trying to amass supplies to remake it. But it may have to be OOAK.

Yesterday, a question was posed in the comments section of this post. What did I learn from making potholders as a child? What, if anything, carried over?

I had to think, turn back the hands of time, and try to remember what I thought at age 7. I was going to leave a comment, but it got too long.

I learned that with a little effort and some resourcefulness I could make something better than what the stores sold...so the ladies who bought my potholders told me. That has been a part of my thinking ever since. Can I make that?

That gave a sense of pride. I was helping people...on my way to taking over the world.

I learned discipline, too. I need a reason, but when put to it, I can get anything done. Like making those 10 sets of potholders, sewing the three-piece outfit for 4-H, making about 80 angel ornaments for a church benefit, sewing a floor-length tablecloth with only a tape measure and a marking pencil.

It was fun for me, my little childhood business. I enjoyed digging through the piles of loops for ones unsuitable for weaving but perfect for shooting at my little brother, collaborating with my mom for new pattern ideas. I couldn't believe people would pay me for what I made. Part of me still can't as evidenced by my complete exuberance at the beginning of this post.

So I hope that answers the question. Thank you, ashok and jessicajane for asking me. Sometimes, it's good to look back and remember...especially good times. :)


< / era >

I sent those potholders off yesterday as part of a trade with knittydirtygirl, an old Etsy chat friend. They were the last ones. So ends an era.

I started making potholders years ago, when I was about 7. My mom used to make them when she was little and figured I would like to as well. Those are the woven kind, made on a square loom. We were buying loops to make them at a craft store/nursery. That closed but she wrote the address on the bag and we got the directly from the company. That was exciting.

I don't remember how or why, but I started selling them. I sold some to my mom and her friends. My grandmother acted as my broker to her friends in NYC. She would order a whole bunch and sell them for me. I think my biggest order was 10 sets. I would weave while watching TV, scrunching the loops down when they got tight. I had dreams of having a potholder-selling store, figuring out how I could sell a set to everyone in the world. Yeah, I didn't know how to dream small- I wanted world domination or bust.

I had a book of patterns. I named them, had style numbers and wrote down the colors I used, how many of each, the layout, if the laying was different from the weaving. I still have that book actually. The potholders above were made later and therefore aren't in the book.

I don't really remember why I stopped. I got involved with sports and after-school things and just didn't have time I guess. I picked it back up when I found Etsy. Surprisingly to me, they didn't sell as well as I would have liked.

So when I tell people that remember those days they smile and say, "I still have the potholders you made me. Do you still make them?" It warms my heart.

I was an entrepreneur of handmade things from the get-go. They were other things I made and sold along the way, popsicle stick frames, angel ornaments. Guess that explains why I can't give it up.


Weekend Blurble- [tomne]

Originally uploaded by lpdesigns
This Monday has started off nicely. I -posted on Sweet Figments. I signed myself up as guest writer. Today I featured clocks.

Today, I'm also featured on the Etsy Spolight On blog. It's an interview post. I think I sound confident, more than I have. I'm also having a sale associated with that post. Do read it and find out.

The Olympics are over. I watched pieces of the closing ceremony. I don't think I like the closing ceremony, like ever, as much as the opening. The opening is more a grand welcome. The closing more a grand party, that's slightly confusing and this year, felt very long. The opening was so concise and well-thought out. I was riveted. The closing lost me shortly after the athletes came in. Though the London bit, prior to Leona Lewis twirling out of the bus, was pretty interesting.

I hope to get some sewing and wood-cutting done today. I also must go to the Post Office. I have trades to mail.

Post Picture: The tomne bracelet. I made a necklace like this as well. I have an idea for earrings. I seem to be consumed with making sets. Getting a color scheme, however basic and running with it.


Thinkin' 8.23

When I was 16, my dad lost his job. He ended up being out of work for 2 years. During that time he had an offer to transfer to Michigan. If we had, the brothers and I would have gone to public school. We were homeschooled at the time. My imagination ran away with me at the thought. I could reinvent myself. I had no fear of being the new kid. I'd done it before.

For some reason, while cleaning up the kitchen tonight, I was wondering what would have happened if we had moved. We didn't. He found a job here. The sudden recollection was just so sudden and random. Maybe it's my subconscious screaming at me, I need to move on.


Finding Me 8.22

[elle] short
Originally uploaded by lpdesigns
Hello, g'morning, yeah!

I did the market yesterday. I made three sales, met an Etsyan, LAAdesigns, and generally had a good time.

Yesterday did mark the first time that a person complained about my prices in real life. I had a feeling it would happen soon, just to get that experience out of the way. It was weird. At the time, I was fine, but I keep hearing her comment. She took a business card anyway.

I also found out that my mother and I are pretty much opposites. She doesn't see the stress of shows, thinks they're easy. I'm not of that opinion.

Semi-incredibly, I won't be able to do a big show in a nearby town because...my temp job called me back. I really need that money, so, it's 'no' to the show. I'm more okay with this, I don't think my display is up to do an upscale craft show. Not in 3 weeks. Not a two-day show.

Maybe I'm a wimp. Maybe I shouldn't say that. It's not easy having my mom as a boothmate. It's wonderful at times, she talks about my products superbly. But...I don't know. It's all very confusing. *sigh*

Post Picture: Short Elle earrings. Long ones are also available. Part of the Elle subset of Minta.


Fill in the Bubble

You can now make your own stick person magnets. Okay, I make them, but you choose what goes in the bubble. (short words work best)

I've always accepted custom orders. I just finished two requests I got off-Etsy. But I'm not sure how clear that was. Hopefully, this listing makes it clear. (The picture is clickable.)

I'm contemplating cutting the market on Wednesdays. This will reduce stress on me but really it's not just that. Location is important and I don't fit in there. Though I do love the market manager.

Working on new bracelets, wristlets, woodburned items that are bigger than the magnets I offer now. Oh, and I applied to Trunkt again and got rejected. :)

Post Picture: First photo for the custom magnet listing.


Weekend Blurble- [abi]

I was betwixt and between making this a Sports Aside post, talking about the Olympics, which I've been watching rather rabidly. But I figured if you don't know that Michael Phelps won 8 gold medals already, well...you must not care about it. :)

Did a little bit more time traveling, reading old posts, seeing old Flickr pics (I bought a pro account.) I'm amazed at how far I've come. Those things, both of them snapshots, are proof that I'm not the person I was. It's cool.

I'm thinking I'll have two big collections a year, color-based. They'll be worked on and released throughout the year. The large collections will have subsets- bracelets, earrings, necklaces. And I'll have smaller sets throughout the year, like the Dots have been. Collection items would be more limited and the sets would become more staple type items. That's just a jewelry thought. I'm not sure how to work out everything else.

Post Picture: The Abi bracelet.


Now 8.14

I've made the change in the shop to made to order. With the advent of shows/markets, I don't think I can stand the pressure of keeping one of everything in stock all the time and make new things. I've added a lot of new things over the last month and reshot some of the older pieces. Those will be 'stock' images now. Aside from wristlets, some of which are OOAK, a purchase may take up to a week to ship. I've added this info to my profile on Etsy and put in my shop announcement. I'm happy about this.

The market went well, today. Sold five items- two photographs, two pairs of earrings and a set of magnets. Some will be remade because my show stock is decreasing. Others won't be for the time being. The search for balance continues.

I also realize, though I guess I always knew it, that I can't run after every promotional gig I see/read/hear about. There is no one way to getting sales. It's sort of an anomaly, both in real life and online. I also think that my target audience is older than I thought. heh...Rock on, right?

Post Picture: The second set of Dots all lined up, Elle, Leaflet, Ria and Taris.


Time Travel

Something happened that changed my perspective. A question was posed on Etsy forums: If you didn't sell would you stop creating? Well, you may know of my business trials, but I haven't let that stop me. I've pushed myself and come up with new things. And I realized:

I'm thankful that I didn't sell like a house afire right from the get-go on Etsy. Looking back, a lot of those first things I listed and have since expired were not 'good'. They were well-made. But if I had stayed there, reproducing those as they sold, oh the things I'd have never discovered.

I made the switch to mostly macrame because I saw even then, back in 2006, that beaded jewelry was extremely popular. At that time Etsy only had about 25000 jewelry items. I wanted to stand out. I came up with the technique using wire. I started using colored threads. I played around with shapes, angles and lines.

I added wristlets on a whim, finding a piece of a jacket that I never finished. I tweaked that piece, making it bigger, wider. I cut up an old shirt of my mom's to line it, made up the pattern as I went along. I ended up keeping that 'first draft'. The ones listed now are much better.

The magnets were started when I found a doodle I'd drawn in my Bible. That 'first draft' as well, I kept. And the whole woodburning thing has spiraled into what could be an artform for me. Line art, handdrawn. It's me.

Would I have done this if I had sold like crazy right from the get-go? I don't think so. I wouldn't have had time. Instead, I've gone through the slumps and the funks, finding my style, creating a brand that reflects me: a person who loves lines, angles, shapes, colors and words, (courtesy of Sesame Street) reworking tradition, not going with the crowd.

There are ideas, yet, that I have to bring into reality. Some of them are burning a hole in my head, I think about them a lot, but haven't figured out all the logistics. Some of them are newer and exciting.

elpy has grown with me. How fitting that as I'm trying in non-business ways to get out on my own to a degree, I'm also looking to move elpy on to places beyond Etsy. I know it says that I started in 2006 and I've told people that. But it really feels like it was reborn this year, this summer. I'm thankful.

Post Picture: First item I sold on Etsy way back in March of '06.



I finished my custom request...well, one of them. Two sets of magnets. I'm pleased with how they came out. I hope my buyer is as well.

Stayed up to the point of seeing Olympic reruns. Yeah. Expect a Sports Aside post soon. I don't know why, but the O's have me glue to the TV/computer, watching sports I wouldn't give $.02 about any other time...even if the US isn't playing.

I'm on a bit of burning tear again. When I do that, get locked in to one skill set, I feel like I'm neglecting everything else. I do need to make a few more earrings because of the sales from last week. But I have ideas for burning, so that's what I do. *sigh*

Post Picture: A peek at my custom order pic. I don't want to give it all away.
Now to package and ship.


Weekend Blurble- O.O.O.O.O

Quilt Square- Done

Spent waaay too much time this weekend looking at the Olympics, reading about the Olympics...writing about the Olympics. It's interesting how they captivate the world, how unifying athletics can be.

I'm gonna have to push myself to get anything done. I finished my custom request in terms of burning and drawing. Now I must seal and magnetize. I'm excited about it. I hope she likes them.

Mom finished the invites she was making for the woman who placed that in-flux commission with me. They looked really nice. I'll have to see if I can get a pic of one of the proofs. I get a cut since I edited the picture, retook the picture, edited that picture. We ended up using a blend of two photos. Yeah, Photoshop!

She also thinks, my dear mother, that I should do two markets on Thursday. I think that's a little bit much, especially since, now, our tent is broken. Dad and Bro1 returned it...but now I don't have one. I miss it. I want to take the week off...but I shouldn't. I shouldn't.

Post Picture: An old pic of a little something I'm gonna try again. I want new things to launch in September. That may be one of them. Maybe.


[ria] and BUTTONS!

It rained again, yesterday. Complete with thunder and lighting and wind. Then the sun comes out like, "What? Did I miss something?" As the song goes, it dries up all the rain, then it rains again. Ah, the weather.

#buttonized! In other news, my buttons came, the pinbacks I ordered from Christine Renee. They're made from my plaid scraps and I love them all...so pretty! They'll be in the shop soon, a little reluctantly. But really, I shouldn't keep that much plaid buttony goodness all for myself. I can share. :)

I did get to see part of the Opening Ceremonies. The parade of nations is my favorite part...and the lighting of the torch. This month has been mostly good times. I'm thankful.

Post Picture: The newest Dots.



Rain...a funny thing.

To cut straight to the chase, I sold six items at the market today. Thrilled, you betcha! I tried not to look completely stunned when the compliments turned to sales. So long I've had to subsist on compliments...which I love but it's a little frustrating when that's all you get.

One of my buyers actually lives in Europe, she was in CT visiting family. She bought a pair of Leaflets and a bracelet. Met a super-charming little girl with her hair in Shirley Temple curls. Quite a talker, she was. Another lady was a metalsmith and considered setting up shop there one day, too. I inspire people. :)

Then at a little before 1 o'clock the heavens opened and it poured. Our tent has removable sides but this time we un-removed them and waited for the Bros to come back, they'd taken the car.

Now I must work on new items and/or remakes. I needed this.

Post Picture: Falls framed for a buyer from last week's show.


Blurble 8.06

Originally uploaded by lpdesigns
Admittedly, blogging is my fave part of my to-do's. I should prolly keep until I've done some of my least favorite things. Like sanding. I don't like sanding.

I didn't do the market today. It rained again, but then the sun came out and I could have gone, but I was all unwound by then. (Can't explain that any better.) So I dropped off the photograph that I sold. The buyer wanted it matted and framed. I ended up making about $4. Ah well. It looked nice.

Must search for pictures of celtic knots, cupcakes, and bars of soap. Woodburned custom requests! Yay!

The Olympics start in 2 days. I'm excited about this. I love the Olympics...correction, I love opening ceremonies. heh

Post Picture: Found in the big local paper, job listings. Should I send to Leno? :P


[taris] Dots

Multi-tasking often leads to more procrastination that actual completion. I'm living proof.

I'm trying to find information on creating my own blogger template. As you can tell I've changed from the one I used to have. If you have any information, beyond the basic font/color change that blogger allows, I'd appreciate it.

Not much going on, really. I have to go to the market tomorrow and the other one on Thursday. It's a sort of habit now. My suitcase is packed. I'm not as nervous. Seriously hoping that I do well. Yeah. Chugging through my list of to-do's. Sort of lazy day.

Post Picture:Newest Dots.



As you may have noticed, my blog layout has changed. I'm experimenting and tinkering, playing with code, trying to find something I like. Hopefully the design will shake out soon.


Weekend Blurble- Zippity

Took some time and rephoto'd two of my bracelets. They're the two nameless ones. I'm pleased. I made three pairs of earrings over the weekend as well. I order earwires and wallet-sized pics to make into cards. That may have to wait a while yet. Anyway, I'm blasting things off the list.

I really need to do better at the markets this week. I only had 3 sales between the two last week. Ooh, but I did get interviewed for a small local paper. Ha! That's good, right?

Have the opportunity to do 3 other shows. Yeah, I'll have to probably just pick one though. They're real craft shows and kinda close together in terms of time and expensive. Mom doesn't seem to understand that. Not sure why.

The Livejournal Writer's Block question today asked if there was a someone you missed? Uh, thanks. Just when I get some distance...(insert long story that's been vaguely documented here)

Post Picture:One of the bracelets I rephoto'd.



I'm thinking a lot. Clicking around the internet in the last few days, reading emails that I had been filing away and ignoring, I'm realizing how much there is beyond Etsy. I love Etsy, no doubt, I made it through a lot of craziness there. But sometimes, when you spend a lot of time with the same people...or like-minded people you begin to think that's all there is...that you've reached the limit. There is no limit...not really.

So I'm trying to expand, not just my line, but my network, my ideas. I need goals. More defined goals. That's sticking out like a sore thumb. I may also need a business mentor...I can admit I'm not sure what I'm doing. I'm getting there, though. One step, one picture, one post at a time.

Post Picture: Four heads are better than one...even if one is bright yellow and a little googly-eyed. Creep-tastic new listing at the Closet.


[elle] and August

Today starts the longest month of the year. Sure there are other months with 31 days, but August always seems to take a longer time. July flies by and I anticipate September...just a peek into my head.

Sent those scraps off to be buttonized. I've fallen for pinbacks, just like I've fallen for chain. Plus my plaid scraps were too nice to just be thrown away. No only specks remain of those shirts. :)

I want to work on ornament designs this month. I already have one, a sort of carry-over from last year. I came up with the idea to re-introduce ornaments to my shop late last year. Since I'm doing shows this year, and just generally trying harder to make elpy successful, I want to have more and the only way to do that is to start working earlier.

Also I want to add photo cards to rJax and add more supplies to elpy [Closet]. I must ramp up work on my off-Etsy site. It will probably still point back to Etsy for sales, but I want a web presence independent of...everything, make use of my domain. Maybe one of my lists is in order...I do better with a list.

Post Picture:New necklace! Elle has been added to my shop. It's part of the Minta Collection. There is more to the Elle subset of Minta, must get photographed, etc. I really like the pictures for that necklace though. I always like when very little editing has to be done. :)