Saturday, September 4, 2010 Etsy the answer?

For the past week, I've been checking my google analytics to see when people view my shop, which is mostly between the hours of 5-8 pm EST, and I've been attempting to either list a new item, relist a sale or relist expired items at least once a day during that time. To keep my items in the first few pages of their categories, as is said to be key by experienced and successful sellers. It hasn't been working. Not sure what is going on, but I haven't had good views since mid-August when I listed a particular necklace. I'm thinking that necklace was popular but people didn't want to spend $28 for it. Hmmmm. I am trying very hard right now to balance my online prices with what I can live with wholesale, and what people are willing to pay! It's difficult. I sat down last week and made 28 new pairs of birdie beads in different colors so I can get those into the shop in time for holiday shopping, plus I am going to several art/craft shows this fall- a new thing for me. So I need to get in the habit of creating inventory, a concept I am unfamiliar with.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

How to create a blog background with a scanner and CS4-

OK, here it is...
Step 1- draw funky flower and leaf designs on white paper with Black Staedler India ink pens
Step 2- scan drawings
Step 3- open with Illustrator. Live trace, expand, and clean up all the lines. This creates a pleasing vector line drawing.
Step 4- copy and paste the paths into Photoshop.
Step 5- save each item- flower, leaves, and cherry blossom, as a separate brush.
Step 6- create the drawing, layering flower and leaves. Erase overlaps as necessary.
Step 7- Using the paint bucket and color picker, fill areas with flat color. I chose this method, rather than using gradients, so I would get flat colors that would load more quickly. Remember, online, load time is important when you make a graphic intensive background.
Step 8- finalize the position of the elements. I created a large-ish repeat, my actual background graphic features the big flower with leaves and the cherry blossom 4 times, flipped and rotated so that a repeating background would look seamless and nice.
Step 9- save as a .png with a transparent background. This way, only the black lines and fills will need to be represented, and float over the background color I choose in my CSS. This way, I can actually change the whole color scheme of my blog on the fly- and not have to ever go back into my background graphic again if I don't want to.
That's it! Step 3 is what took the longest. When you convert line drawings into vector art, there can be an awful lot of cleanup involved.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Mind/Body/Soul connection for artists and intellectuals, like me

I had an interesting breakthrough this week. I realized that for most of my life, I have been told by my guides (parents, teachers, other important adults, and popular media) that I had the mental and artistic gifts of artist, musician, and intellectual and therefore, it was unimportant and unexpected for me to develop my physical body. I bought it- hook, line and sinker. And so I find myself, at 37, unhappy with my health, overweight. I never question why- I know it's because I'm a thinker, not an athlete. But my body is weak, my spirit is sick, and yup, I'm very very smart. I can't create- because I'm so stuck in my mind with my unhappiness.
So here's the breakthrough- I realize that during my time here on earth, I am made of three parts- physical body, intellectual mind, and creative soul. I need to develop balance so all three can be united equally, and produce equally, without one detracting from another. I hurt my back earlier this week, causing me to have to lay down for most of it. That made me angry, because I couldn't teach, study, or create. Going to workout makes me angry most days- why should I waste time in the gym, when I could be absorbing information? (I have learned most of what I know from reading, studying, and practicing.) I always feel like time spent moving is time spent wasted- because I would rather be learning. This is a fatal flaw- and must be corrected. I have decided that I need to encourage myself to spend equal time learning, creating, and moving. Only that way will my inbalance and unhappiness be cured. I spend so much time learning- which basically means sitting-still; reading, watching videos, or practicing my skills on the computer- that I have made my body sick and with it, my soul. My soul can't reconcile the fact that my body doesn't match my mind- and so it worries, constantly- and can't embrace the creation process fully. I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Is Artfire catching up to Etsy?

I really like my Artfire shop, although I havent' sold anything there yet. I admit, I haven't really been trying very hard. But, I LOVE the way Artfire is doing things. It's a snap to upload things straight out of my etsy shop, so I don't have to spend a bunch of time reposting a listing. If I really wanted to, I could import my whole etsy store straight into artfire! But, I've been seriously contemplating my future online, so I've been holding off.
Back to why I like Artfire- there's a great Bio feature, that shows a pic of me, selected Gallery pics of my work, and has space for 4 website links. So I get to say a little something about myself and direct traffic to other sites, like Polymer Clay Podcast and the PCAGOE.
Then, there's the market hub feature- this has links to EVERYTHING I do online! Etsy, here, twitter, facebook, even IndiePublic. I am thinking about switching to point to my Artfire account just because of this! At this point, is just a hub flashpage anyway, that points to my online doings. Now I can utilize a place where I actually attempt to sell, as a hub! All at no extra cost, since I signed on with Artfire in the beginning and my shop is only $7 a month for life as long as I don't cancel. I like how Artfire assumes that you are a working artisan, and doesn't limit you from promoting the heck out of yourself. Etsy limits you- you can't point users away from it and god-forbid that you suggest people go check you out somewhere else on the web. Plus Etsy doesn't do flat fees, so I already like Artfire's fee structure better. And with automatic listings on googlebase, that's great too! I just hope traffic catches up. Etsy is older, so it gets more traffic.