Monday, November 24, 2008

Make Something Mondays: Self-Bailed Dichroic Glass Pendants

I'm not sure if my MSM posts fit in very well because I'm not really very crafty. I'm enjoying them, though, so I'm going to keep at it. Last week I showed you my new temporary work area. The photos show the outcome of being able to leave my tools and supplies spread out.

I layered different colors of glass, like usual, but this time I stuck a piece of special fiber blanket between the layers to create a tunnel. Now I've got pendants ready for chains or cords, with no need to glue a bail on the backs.

The final shapes aren't exactly what I had in mind, but I like these two. Look for more of these pendants to appear in my Etsy shop over the coming weeks as I play with the shapes of future pieces.

This post was inspired by Jolly Mom and Go Graham Go!, the ingenious moms behind Make Something Monday. We'd love for you to join us next Monday!

Make Something Monday

Friday, November 21, 2008

Lucky Me, I Won Another Giveaway!

I entered a giveaway a while back at Fabulous Fun Finds. I love that blog; there's always something new and very cool for me to discover there! My prize was a custom child-size apron from Polka Dot Market. The original was meant for a girl, with frilly pink bows and whatnot. Sally Gemignani, the genius behind the polka dots, made a little guy style apron for me. I love the way it turned out! Now as soon as Gabriel is old enough to help out in the kitchen, he'll be stylin'! I can see it as a perfect craft time cover-up too.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Do You Bonanzle?

Bonanzle is a funny name. But it's a happy, friendly place--at least from my experience so far. Touted as one of the most user-friendly and well developed alternatives to eBay, I had to give it a try.

I'm still learning my way around and trying to get my listings edited the way I'd like, but the site is fairly easy to navigate so it's just a matter of me putting in a bit more time. Customer service has been awesome--I had a small problem and had not only a response but a solution within a couple of hours. The listing fees are perfect--$0.00! The final value fees are very reasonable, ranging from $0.50 to $10.00.

I've got a Bonanza scheduled for this afternoon. This is a sale I created where I was able to set the date, the length of time, and the percentage of discount I wanted to give. It also gets me on their front page for a good number of hours today!

Come take a look at Bonanzle. If you missed my Bonanza special, just let me know and I'll give you 15% off anything in my booth.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Make Something Mondays: Temporary Work Space

In July I complained about how slow my new studio/workshop was coming along. And although there's been a tiny bit of progress since then, it's a really tiny bit, and the area is not at all useable. I've decided that we will not get it done during my lifetime and I'm ready to hire someone to finish it. In the meantime, I've been dragging my glass and tools to a table in the backyard, and then packing it all up and dragging it back inside again a few hours later. Not only is this a pain, but now it's getting too chilly to work outside.

I've appropriated our dining room table and made it a temporary glass work area. I can spread some of my stuff out, at least enough to be able to create some things. And I'm not packing it up and putting it away each time I cut some glass, so I can be a lot more productive.

I use the big plastic box for containing glass while I'm cutting. I discovered during my very first class that after about an hour I have enough tiny chunks of glass scattered all over that I have a mess equivalent to that of a toddler eating corn. Corn doesn't usually draw blood if you step on it, so the box is my solution to a never-ending band-aid shortage.

I've placed a small folding table and uncomfortable metal folding chairs in our kitchen so we have a place to eat. It's sort of like dining in a travel trailer: one of us can take things out of the refrigerator and another can load the dishwasher--all while seated at the table! Not ideal for family meals, but a girl's gotta make stuff, right?

This post was inspired by Jolly Mom and Go Graham Go!, the ingenious moms behind Make Something Monday. We'd love for you to join us next Monday!

Make Something Monday

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Two Witches Are Giving Away My Stuff!

With my permission and my blessings, of course. If you haven't visited the 2 Witches blog in its new digs, click on over now. Make sure you enter to win a Kumihimo necklace like the one in the photo while you're there. I'll make it to whatever length the winner wants, so you could own an elegant black choker or a luxurious long and dangly necklace.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Make Something Monday: I Made It All Come Together!

Last week I showed you the cute little pouches I made with wire-edged ribbon. I spent several days trying to come up with a good use for them.

In the meantime, I had subscribed to David Weiman's Jewelry Seller Newsletter, and he had a terrific article about giving your existing customers gift certificates to pass along to their friends. He said, "you should accept that although there are some people who enjoy referring business to you because it makes them look like an expert, there are others who would recommend you, but they need a nudge." (I heard about this terrific resource on another blog but sadly can't remember which one. If it was yours please let me know and I'll be happy to credit you here.)

I've often tucked discount cards or promotional flyers in the packages I ship, but never thought to include something for my customers to share. And I know that many people open their package, take out the items they ordered, and toss all the paper without even glancing at it.

Then the light bulb clicked on--what a perfect use for the ribbon pouches! I made some discount cards, one for the customer to use and one for his or her friend, and tucked them into a pouch. It's interesting enough that most people will at least open it, it's quick and inexpensive to make, and I think it looks really nice.

This post was inspired by Jolly Mom and Go Graham Go!, the ingenious moms behind Make Something Monday. We'd love for you to join us next Monday!

Make Something Monday

Saturday, November 8, 2008

How I Use MySpace as a Promotional Tool

On a personal level I am not at all the MySpace sort. I do not want to pretend to be friends with zillions of people I don't even know, share intimate details of my personal life with others, and for that matter I'm not really good at small talk. But on a business level, I love MySpace!

(I know that many people use Facebook, and you can probably do many of the same type of things there. I've considered adding it to my list of promotional tools, but at this point even if I give up sleeping altogether there are still not enough hours in the day to do everything.)

So for those of you who are still hesitant about using one of these social sites to promote your business, I thought I'd share what I've been doing. First I created a profile. Actually, I had to get my 20-something daughter to spend the afternoon with me and create the profile while I watched and learned.

Then I needed at least a little bit of content, so I added a few photos. I add more photos now and then, because I've found that people love to look at other people's photos and will check my page to see if there's anything new to look at! Very few, if any, of my photos are personal. They're pictures of things I've made and have for sale. I also added an Etsy mini and an eBay widget showcasing a few of my items.

Adding friends is an ongoing activity. I started by adding a couple of people I know in real life, then added their friends, and their friends, and so on. I've also searched for people I have no connection with but had words like "jewelry lover" or "shopoholic" in their profile. At some point the friend requests started coming to me from others and I could spend less time searching out new friends to add. I do make a point to add new friends at least once a week.

I leave comments and/or send messages to everyone who becomes my friend. I usually offer them a free pendant or some other incentive to shop in one of my stores. If they've included their birthday in their profile, they'll show up on my upcoming birthday page, and I'll leave a comment or send them a message wishing them a happy birthday and offering another free gift if they make a purchase from me. I know these methods are effective, because it's clear an order came from MySpace if it comes with a request for a gift.

I send out one or two bulletins a month, usually when there's something really interesting to share. Giveaways, sales, or other promotions are good examples. People get annoyed with too many bulletins, and I get better results from individual comments.

Some of my MySpace friends have actually become my friends, so that's an unexpected benefit. I've found many people with unique and interesting talents, and it's easy to be inspired by their creativity.

I do love MySpace. It's been good for my business, and I've managed to keep everything on a level that feels comfortable for me. If you've got any questions, feel free to ask. And if you've got any tips on things I may be missing, by all means please share!

Want to be my friend? Visit Lucky Girl on MySpace.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Keeping Up With The Big Box Stores

I've seen a ton of press about Ben & Jerry's, Starbucks, Krispy Kreme, and even a bar somewhere in Florida offering something free today to everyone who votes in the U.S. elections. (Free beer for voting? Good thing they don't give it to you until after you've voted!)

I've been racking my brain trying to come up with a way to honor those who cast their ballots--and finally I realized it's very simple! Free shipping on every purchase made today or tomorrow! Just send me a message that says "I VOTED", and I'll either send you a revised invoice or refund your shipping.

This offer good through November 5, 2008, to voters in the U.S.
Shop at Lucky Girl Trading on Etsy
Shop at Lucky Girl Trading on eBay

Monday, November 3, 2008

Make Something Mondays: Ribbon Pouch

A few years ago I found instructions to make these cute little pouches from wire-edged ribbon. I never did attempted them until now, and I was surprised at how easy they are to make! The silver pouch was made with 3" wide ribbon, and the red and gold ribbon is 2" wide. I cut a piece that was about 7" long and folded a small "hem" at both short ends. Then I folded about 2.5" up to create the bottom of the pouch, left a bit of space at the top and folded down the top flap.

If you press the sides together the wire sort of holds the pouch together, but it's not at all secure. I used a toothpick to spread a bit of white glue along the sides of the silver pouch so now it's more secure. Since this is only ribbon, the pouches are somewhat delicate even after gluing, so I'm not sure what I'll use them for. But they are so pretty to look at and quick to make I'm going to have to come up with a good use for them!

This post was inspired by Jolly Mom and Go Graham Go!, the ingenious moms behind Make Something Monday. We'd love for you to join us next Monday!

Make Something Monday

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Celebrate at 2 Witches and Save at Lucky Girl Trading

Mama Kelly and Lady Rose are celebrating the grand opening of their fabulous 2 Witches Blog in its new digs. Click on over and join the celebration. Be sure to check out their coupon codes page where you'll find the code to save 10% and get free shipping on your next order from my etsy shop. Later this month there'll be a giveaway at 2 Witches for one of my handcrafted necklaces, so don't miss out!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

New Six-Sided Curb Chain

This 6-sided curb chain is large and heavy, and has a lot more sparkle than I could capture in a photo. It's 33 grams of sterling silver, so it has a nice heft to it. It's the perfect thing to display your bling! I've only got two in stock, and both are 24 inches long and 5.4mm wide. If you want a different length let me know and I'll see how long it will take to get it.