Sunday, January 31, 2010

Lace Love

A shop I've recently discovered on Etsy is the Medieval to Modern Boutique. The shop is run by Chris, who has created a gorgeous collection of custom design lace chokers, unique clothing, bracelets & cuffs, and earrings. She also has a quite a large selection of vintage clothing such as prom and other formal occasion dresses. Many of her items have a wonderful gothic/Victorian feel, but you'll find other luxurious styles as well. It's a beautiful shop, and it was difficult for me to pick favorites, but here are two items that grabbed me right away [click images to view listings]:


Saturday, January 30, 2010

A New Supplies Favorite

I don't have a lot of trusted online supply sources, but I'd like to start sharing some of the few that I have found. Buying supplies online, like many other things, can be difficult because often you can't truly tell the quality of the product until you're able to hold it and give it close inspection. Last Saturday, I posted a new necklace I made using a beautiful vintage focal bead I purchased from mksupplies [MK Beads] on Etsy. I was very impressed with both the bead and the service I received from this husband and wife team, so I did a bit of research after posting and discovered they recently opened their own webstore.

MK Beads offers a wide range of vintage and contemporary jewelry supplies. They have one of the most extensive vintage collections I've seen, with dozens of shapes, sizes, styles and colors. My favorite sections include their plastic and lucite beads, plastic cabochons, glass cabochons, and cameos. Their contemporary collection includes etched plastic beads, Czech glass beads in many shapes and colors, and a large selection of lovely plastic floral cabochons. You'll also find chain, charms, settings and other findings in both collections. The site itself is beautiful and very easy to navigate, and although I haven't ordered directly from it yet, I feel very comfortable doing so after my experience with MK Beads on Etsy. Bonus - right now they're offering 10% of your order!

If you use ArtFire, you can also find MK Beads there under mksupplies.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Beautiful New Treasury & New Additions

My friend Vee has kindly included one of my necklaces in her newest treasury. Aside from her excellent eye for making beautiful treasuries, one of the thing that really impresses me is her dedication to helping out other sellers on Etsy. She makes what are called BNR, or Buy and Replace treasuries, which allow sellers the chance to get their items into a treasury by purchasing from an included seller. Once you buy, you replace the shop you bought from, and Vee includes you in her next treasury as well. She's gotten many sales for many shops this way, and I'm certain it's much appreciated! As always, all treasury and item photos link right to them:


I've also listed a couple of new items in my shop. The first is a necklace I made a while ago and have had mixed feelings about. The beads are beautiful - nice deep amethyst heishis, Bali daisies and clear Czech firepolish beads. I just haven't been sure if I like them all together, but now that the necklace has sat next to me for some time, it has actually grown on me. Also, it's doing no good to anyone just sitting there looking forlorn! The other item is a pair of earrings I made yesterday using the rest of the vintage rose Swarovski crystals I ordered a couple of weeks ago. I really like them, though I can't say the same for my photos of them.

 Amethyst Heishi & Clear Glass Color Block Necklace


Vintage Rose Swarovski Crystal Earrings


And in Craftgawker news... got my third rejection yesterday! Thought I'd go for a bit of a different kind of picture this time [thanks to my mom for the suggestion], so I dispensed with the white marble background and went with this one instead:


This time it was "Craft/Composition - Dull/Unsharp", or some such thing. They do, however, encourage me to keep submitting. At least this one wasn't a photo I was certain they'd take, and my attitude may have become a bit flippant, but at least I'm taking the rejection[S] well!

And because this is already long, and I love them so much:

L to R: Magda and Helen
[featuring their seriously ratty rat bed & my awesome maroon-ish shorts]


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Doctors Without Borders Donations

Big sales day at my little Etsy shop! I'm thrilled to have sold a necklace yesterday and one of my curio bottles this morning, while I'm still donating to Doctors Without Borders for their efforts in Haiti. 20% of all sales made from KSK Designs by the end of the day January 31st will be donated on February 1st, and this brings my total so far to almost $18.00!

The necklace which sold is actually one of my favorites, and I've been meaning to make one for myself, but I'll need to reorder the materials. It sold before I was able to get a better picture of it, so here's what I have, linking to my sold listing:

Fine Oxidized Hill Tribe Silver & Swarovski Crystal Necklace


The other piece that sold has been by far one of my most viewed items and is another of which I'm quite fond. I can't help it, I just think it's a nifty little collection!

Predator and Prey


It's going to be very hard to find another little skull portion that will fit through the hole in those bottles, but I'm definitely making another, probably without the silver wire wrapping this time. Maybe a satin ribbon for hanging - they'd probably make awesome Halloween tree decorations. Perhaps I should have kept that idea to myself... :)

Monday, January 25, 2010

More Hearts for Haiti Goodness

Hearts for Haiti has now raised $16491.12 [as of 6:15 pm EST, January 24, 2010]!

I wanted to make something that was somehow more specific to Haiti for the shop, which is a bit difficult when you're dealing with beads. One of my favorite items in the shop has been a bracelet by MintyFreshFusions. Photo links to listing:

Heart For Haiti Hammered Copper Bangle




I tried wading through all the sales in the shop [1359 and probably more by now!] to find out how many have sold, but that was impossible! However, MintyFreshFusions tells me it's around 11 at this point. It's easy to see why - the bracelet is beautiful and it's a wonderful way to show your support for the people of Haiti, as well as to commemorate something positive which occured in response to the tragedy. And I have to say it gives me a strange sense of pride to know this was created by a fellow New Yorker! :)

When you're working with beads, there's not a whole lot you can do unless you're talented enough to do some of the amazing intricate seed beadwork I've seen. That, I am not! So I decided on a pair of earrings using little hearts in the colors of Haiti's flag and sterling infinity links as a symbol of endurance, which is certainly something the people of Haiti have had throughout history and are again showing in abundance now.

Little Hearts, Big Love Earrings



While browsing the shop to find the links for this post, I came across another gorgeous item I just had to include. It's a very unique sculpted polymer clay heart by Wickedgems and I absolutely love it!

Dusty Rose Hand Sculpted Corset Heart




I immediately added it and Wickedgems to my favorites, and I'm really looking forward to giving her shop a closer look. So far I've found an awesome sculpted polymer clay anatomical heart pendant with an antiqued silver look:

Mi Corazon in Silver



Can't beat that in my book!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

One Day Sale - 15% Off!

To celebrate my first 2 months on Etsy, I've decided to offer a discount on any item purchased from KSK Designs. I'm offering 10% off in my shop announcement, but just mention my blog in a message to me at the time of purchase and it's 15% off. Discount will be in the form of a Paypal refund, which will be applied within 24 hours of payment [most likely much sooner than that]. Savings will be in conjunction with any other offer I currently have, e.g. if you buy from my Valentine's Day Sale section, you'll also get that 10% discount! And of course, I will still be sending 20% to either Doctors Without Borders or the Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti, as specified by the buyer.

I've also added a pair of earrings to my Valentine's section. These are pricey due to the materials, but they are half price with any necklace purchase or 10% off until February 4th.

Garnet Berries Earrings



 

My friend Vee has also very kindly included me in another one of her treasuries!

 

She was able to get two treasuries yesterday, but rather than make this post even longer, I'll just give you the link to the other. Vee has very thoughtfully included at least a couple of Hearts for Haiti items in each of her treasuries since the shop opened. She's gotten several sales for the cause this way, which is such a huge help, and I know it makes her very happy to do it.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Color of the Day - Amethyst

I've just added a new item to my shop, a necklace which I made last night using a beautiful [and large!] vintage plastic focal bead. I bought the bead from mksupplies on Etsy, and not only did it arrive quickly, but it's also in gorgeous condition. If you also make jewelry or buy beads for any other reason, I highly recommend them. It's easy to see why the shop has over 50,000 sales and a 100% positive rating. My photos don't do justice to this unique bead, but here's a photo link to my listing.

Double Strand Choker with Vintage Clear Focal



I'd also like to add one of my sold necklaces here, in keeping with the amethyst seed bead design of my most recent addition. This is one that sold from my eBay account, from which I'm in the process of making an inventory reduction or possibly phasing out completely. I made one of the same design for my Etsy shop because I had one more of the vintage focal beads left. Again, the photo links to my listing which as you can see, like many of them right now, is in dire need of better pictures!

Amethyst Czech and Vintage Glass Necklace


Hearts for Haiti Blog

The dedicated Etsy Hearts for Haiti team have now started the Hearts for Haiti blog, where you can find information and updates about the shop, its volunteers and its donors. The greatest news is that the first donation of $5,000 has been made! You can view the receipt from the certified check on the blog now, and acknowledgement letters from Doctors Without Borders will be posted as they arrive. Not only does this give donors and buyers confirmation of the legitimacy of the shop, it provides a concrete representation of the fruits of so many people's labor. The money raised so far at the shop approaches $12,500 [I'm sure more as I write], so there are more donations to be made, and the establishment of the blog indicates the shop will be going for a while. Great news!

I'm also very excited that I reached my own little milestone two days ago when my shop hit 100 hearts just as I was nearing my two month anniversary at the site! I've no idea what that means in the overall scheme of things at Etsy, if anything, but it doesn't matter because it just makes me feel good! It's a bit of very helpful and much-needed encouragement to continue what I'm doing. A big thank you to everyone who has spread the Etsy love my way!

The only sad news in my personal life is that my hamster died today, but even that had its positive side. It's obvious that she went in her sleep, so she didn't suffer, which was the best I could have hoped for her at this point. RIP, Gusta.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Moo Card Arrival & New Shop Listings

My Moo cards came yesterday, and I'm so impressed! They look neat and very professional - nice, thick card stock and the text is sharp and clean. Most of the pictures out of the ten I chose look great, although there is more bluriness than I'd like on a couple. I'll have to do some comparing between the cards and the listing images I used, but I'm sure the problem is in my images, not their reproduction of them. I may be able to completely remedy the problem by just uploading my own resized images for them to use rather than having to worry about creating images that will look good both on Etsy's site and the printed cards. Time for more experimentation - I love it! Anyway, I highly recommend trying out the Moo sample pack - 10 free cards, they even pay shipping. It's absolutely worth the few minutes of designing time you'll spend using the wizard on their site.

Speaking of images, I submitted another photo to Craftgawker the day before yesterday. This time they got back to me the next day with my rejection. This may be a sign of progress! Or they're just not as busy right now. Either way, the response was the same - not sharp enough [they say dull/unsharp]. I purposefully sent in a super-sharpened image this time, and it was one I didn't expect them to accept. I know my pictures could be much better in general, but I'm kind of looking at this as maybe I just have to pay my dues and submit several before I can even be considered for acceptance. It's what I tell myself so I don't feel bad. :)  I'm wondering now if this is their standard rejection response. Anyone else had experience with them?

I made a pair of earrings last night to go with one of my necklaces. My mood was a bit off yesterday, a little feeling of maybe a slight depression coming on. I couldn't figure it out, since I've been keeping up with my medication and the myriad of other lifestyle practices I've found to be helpful [walking, eating right, working out, vitamins, etc.]. Finally, I realized I hadn't created anything all day. So I chose some of my favorite materials - fine Thai Karen Hill Tribe silver from Shiana, iolite and dumortierite [I'm partial to blues and greys] and made earrings to go with my recently renewed iolite and dumortierite Hill Tribe silver necklace. I'm very happy with the way they came out, and it cheered me up to have just been productive. I think they'll make a nice set if someone decides to purchase them as such.

Dumortierite and Iolite Fine Hill Tribe Flower Set


 

 A reminder that any set in my shop qualifies for my "Buy 1 Necklace, Get 1 Pair of Earrings at 1/2 Price" deal.

Last, but far from least, my hamster Gusta [short for Augusta] is not doing well at all. She's very old and sick, so I don't expect her to be around much longer. She's one of my rescues, from people who gave her no attention beyond throwing some food and water her way. She bites, which I hear isn't uncommon for hamsters, and for whatever reason they didn't bother to dedicate any time toward trying to socialize her, so she just sat alone in her cage. With a lot of attention, I was able to get her to the point where she only nips a little and only when she's ready to go back into her cage. I wasn't thrilled with the idea of another rodent to care for, especially not a bitey one, but I've grown quite fond of her and her grumpy ways. Any animal lovers who may read this, I'd be grateful for some positive thoughts for Gusta that she'll remain comfortable while she's still with me.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

New Additions and a Beautiful New Treasury

Within the last couple of days, I've recieved my latest Swarovski crystal orders. Here are a couple of necklaces I've been able to make so far, with links to my Etsy listings. It feels great to be productive!

Vintage Rose Swarovski Crystal Necklace



Jet Swarovski Polygon Necklace



Also, I was very pleasantly surprised to have two of my necklaces featured in my friend Vee's newest Etsy treasury! I can't say enough nice things about Vee. She makes beautiful and unique jewelry, and I'm lucky to own one of her necklaces myself. More importantly, she's a kind and good person with a generous soul. She has been working like mad helping out at the Hearts for Haiti shop, listing items for them and promoting the shop wherever she can. She also donated one of her gorgeous necklaces to the shop, a favorite of mine, Remembrance. Not surprisingly, it sold within 24 hours. Here's a capture of her newest treasury, which links directly to the treasury while it's still active. Thank you, Vee!



Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New Earrings for Hearts for Haiti and a Lovely Treasury

It's been amazing watching the Hearts for Haiti shop develop. They now have 565 sales and have raised over $6,000. I got my new order of sterling earwires in the mail yesterday, so I was able to make another pair this morning to submit to the shop. They have sooo much work with all the submissions they're getting - over 1,000 items donated  since they opened shop on January 14th! Despite being swamped, they already have my earrings listed- just click on the photo to see.

"I'd Give You The Moon and The Stars"



Also, I'm featured in a beautiful new treasury, "You're the Cream in My Coffee" by MichelesArtJewelry. I just re-learned how to make a screen capture, so here it is, linking directly to the treasury while it's still active:



There are some really talented artists in this one, including the curator. Michele is a member of the Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy, which I've only just discovered thanks to her treasury. There's a lot of talent in the Guild, and so many really gorgeous items displayed on the site. Thanks, Michele, for including me in your treasury!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Animal Planet Investigates...

Monday, January 25th at 10:00pm, Animal Planet will be airing a special program exposing dogfighting. My email from the Humane Society states, in part,

" "Animal Planet Investigates: Dogfighting Exposed" features never-seen footage from our high-profile dogfighting raids, as well as interviews with The HSUS' animal fighting experts. It also showcases our End Dogfighting program, which diverts inner-city youths from dogfighting and casts pit bulls in the image of friends, not fighters. While revealing the ugliness of dogfighting, the program shows the immense progress we've made against it and offers hope for saving dogs from this cruel fate."

I expect at times it will be a difficult program to watch, but one with a positive message as well. The HSUS has done so much work in this area, especially in the last year, and I've seen some very complimentary interviews with people who have been through their End Dogfighting program. It definitely sounds like this upcoming show is worth checking out if you can stand the difficult parts.

In jewelry-related news, my necklace was listed in the Etsy Hearts for Haiti shop yesterday. The shop has now made 474 sales and almost $5,000 for Doctors Without Borders!




Lastly, I recieved my response from Craftgawker yesterday in regards to my Swarovski Crystal Earrings in Sapphire Shades:



The verdict - not sharp enough. I know I said I'll keep trying, but I'm not even sure how I accomplished the sharpness of this picture, let alone how I could repeat or improve upon it! Ah well, maybe with more experimentation...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Hearts for Haiti

On January 14th, an Etsy collective shop called Hearts for Haiti opened. The shop features items donated by Etsy sellers, and 100% of proceeds go to Doctors Without Borders to help their relief efforts in Haiti. In just three days, there have been over 200 sales and the shop has raised over $2,500.

I'm thrilled to have been able to donate a pair of earrings last night, and hope to make a necklace to donate today. They have lots of donations pouring in from the very generous Etsy community, and I hope you'll take a moment to look at what all these wonderful Etsy sellers have to offer! Photo links to my listing on Hearts for Haiti:



Sunday, January 17, 2010

Celebrate Odd Etsy Love!

I just got a present for my husband's birthday - seems somehow unfair, but I'll take it! The wonderful, odd-loving people over at Celebrate Odd Etsy have featured me in their blog. They very kindly linked to three of the listings from my Curiosities/OsteoWear section:


 

 


If you do some browsing at Celebrate Odd Etsy, you'll see I'm in excellent strange company. I particularly enjoy their science section. An extra bonus for me is that I was featured the same day as Poison Apple Potions, one of my Etsy favorites. I plan to make a purchase there when my own birthday comes around in February.

New Additions!

I was quite productive yesterday and was able to make a new necklace and a pair of earrings. Kind of tired this morning, so this is just a quick'un. The photos link to my listings, and the necklace is 10% off in my shop as part of the Valentine's Day Sale I'm running until February 4th.




Might do breakfast with my husband today, as it's his 37th birthday. In other words, we might get out of the house by about 2pm! He's a bit of a late-riser.

I've also added some more photos to my new Flickr account, so the productivity continues!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Gawking At Crafts

I'm happy to be teaming up with my friend Vee at Etsy in trying to raise money for Doctors Without Borders. Like me, she'll be donating 20% of her sales to the organization for the remainder of January. She makes lovely jewelry, and is just an all-around sweetheart, so I'm glad we can work together to do our part.

Vee also reminded me recently of a site I found a while back - Craftgawker. It's basically an online lookbook of gorgeous handcrafted items. They accept submissions from all types of sites as long as it isn't merely a photo site. It's very easy to submit a picture for review, although you do need to register first, but why not?! If they accept your photo, they post it on their front page as a link to your site or listing, with a brief description which you provide when submitting.

Since the idea is for people to go to Craftgawker to ogle at all the pretty pictures, they are very particular about the photos they choose. I got brave yesterday and submitted my Swarovski earrings photo and listing information [see earlier post, Finally!]. I set up my preferences with them to email me when they make their decision, so now I'm waiting impatiently to hear. Will let you know how it goes, and if they don't accept it, I'll just keep trying!

Friday, January 15, 2010

More On Haiti - The Animals

If you're concerned about the animals in Haiti as well as the people, you'll be glad to know that the World Society for the Protection of Animals [WSPA] and the International Fund for Animal Welfare [IFAW] have joined together to work on getting ground assistance to the animals. They've developed the Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti [ARCH] to assist in their response efforts. From WSPA's website,

"Our teams will be working out of a mobile clinic which has been donated to us by the Antigua and Barbuda Humane Society. WSPA and IFAW have pledged funds to fully outfit this mobile clinic, and it will be shipped from Antigua to our member society, Sociedad Dominicana Para la Protección de Animales [SODOPRECA] in the Dominican Republic for them to drive across the border into Haiti."

It's wonderful to know that there are people helping the animals during this crisis as well. Human rescue and assistance efforts are always the priority, but once people are safe and healthy, I'm sure they'll be looking for their companion animals to provide some extra comfort. There are also wild animals, strays, farm animals and sheltered animals which will need attention.

I'll be donating 20% of all sales made from KSK Jewelry Designs throughout the rest of January to help with the relief effort in Haiti. I would really like to support the work of both Doctors Without Borders and the Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti, so I'm giving buyers the choice of where their money goes. If any sales are made from my shop during this time, I'll post donation totals on February 1st.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti Earthquake Relief - Doctors Without Borders

News of the Haiti earthquake is everywhere these last couple of days, and my husband and I just made a donation to one of my favorite organizations, Doctors Without Borders. From their website,

"Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international medical humanitarian organization working in more than 60 countries to assist people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe... MSF's work is based on the humanitarian principles of medical ethics and impartiality... MSF operates independently of any political, military, or religious agendas."

The organization has won the Nobel Peace Prize for its work, and one of the things I love about them is their committment to remain neutral. This neutrality can in no way be interpreted as indifference - two very different outlooks which are unfortunately often confused. MSF works to alert the public to crises and abuses which occur "beyond the headlines, to criticize the inadequacies of the aid system, or to challenge the diversion of humanitarian aid for political interests.".

In short, this is a great organization of people who put their lives in danger to help those in dire need of medical assistance, and I think they're a group worthy of attention and support. If you only have a couple of dollars to give to help them with their current efforts in Haiti, they accept donations of any size. And a "little" something I noticed when I filled in the donation form - their dropdown menu for choosing your title includes the options of "Mr. & Mr." and "Ms. & Ms.". I knew I loved them!

Finally!

I've managed to get a picture I can be proud of! Or I may just be crazy, but I was astounded by the sharpness of this one, and I'm still not sure how I actually achieved it.



If you'd like to see my Etsy listing, just click on the pic. I'd love feedback about the image [or the earrings], but I'm thinking this is the kind of thing to strive for in my photos.

I'm anxiously awaiting some supplies - I have no patience! I was able to reinvest money from the sale of one of my necklaces on eBay, plus I got some much-appreciated Christmas money. I've ordered some staples - earwires and the like, as well as a small selection of Swarovski crystals. I ordered a couple of colors I haven't used before, so I can't wait to see how they are in person. The "new" colors are crystal moonlight and vintage rose.



The image is a composite I made from the pictures at Artbeads.com, which is where I placed my order. I've ordered from them several times now, and have been very happy every time. Shipping is free, they have good prices, and everything I have recieved from them has been excellent quality. I've never bought gemstones from them, but that's always a tricky endeavor and I'm still looking for a quality gemstone supplier.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Don't Be Afraid...

One of my favorite sites, What's That Bug?, has posted an amazing new photo duo of the oft-feared and unquestionably creepy-looking potato bug, or Jerusalem Cricket. This insect is actually neither a true bug nor a cricket [although the two are related - they are both in the order Orthoptera, in case you're interested in such things]. They also don't eat potatoes and probably don't originate in Jerusalem, although I'm just speculating.

I remember encountering one of these with my husband about 15 years ago when we were living in Southern California, and I have remained forever scarred by the event and fascinated with the creature. We found it lumbering around inside the little dog-run we had behind our place in the Sunland/Tujunga area, and I believe there was a mild obscenity uttered upon its discovery. I'm not saying by whom. If you haven't seen one of these, I challenge you not to utter your own when you do. Keep in mind this is an insect that averages around 2" long. My husband told me that his grandmother used to call them "children of the earth", which I have since learned is a common Latin American name for them [las niñas de la tierra]. Other common names include variations on the theme "Satan's fetus". Wiki has an article here, or you can check PotatoBugs.com for their amusing FAQ and articles.

Without further ado, I present to you the Jerusalem Cricket:



Aw, he's kind of cute. You can click the image to see the full post on What's That Bug?. Credit for the photo goes to photographer James Steidl, who submitted the image to them.

In completely unrelated news, I've opened a Flickr account. Only two pics uploaded so far, and it may take a while to add more, but it's a start. Also, I've opened my comments here to anyone, so you should no longer need an OpenID or Google account to express your delight over this post. :)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Moo!

After seeing some buzz about Moo Cards on Etsy, I finally checked out the site this morning, and it was certainly worth the visit. Among a few other things, Moo offers full color double-sided custom business card printing, and what a neat service! You can choose from two papers - their sustainably sourced matte laminated stock, or their 100% recycled and recyclable "Green" stock. They offer a choice of ready-made cards or templates which you can use to create your own. When creating your own design, their wizard allows you to pull images directly from your computer or your Etsy listings to put on one side of the cards, while your business logo, description and contact information can be placed on the other.

One of the things I found really cool was that you can use up to 50 different images per order of 50, 100 or 200 cards. The other - a free 10-pack sampler! You don't even have to pay shipping. It couldn't have taken me more than 10 minutes to create my cards and place my order. They estimate 4 days for printing and packaging, then 2-5 days for shipping. Mine should be arriving around January 20th, and I'll post pictures when they get here.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Shop News & Sales!

I've made some updates to my Etsy shop in the last few days, including initiating a payment plan system. I had some of my more expensive necklaces in mind when I decided to offer the multiple-payment option, but I'm happy to create a plan for any of my items. There are some guidelines, so if you're interested, please read my newly-revised Shop Policies.

Even better, I'm running a couple of sales! If you're looking for a Valentine's Day gift for someone special [yourself included], you might want to check out my Valentine's Day Sale section. I'm offering a 10% Paypal refund on the purchase of any item which includes red or pink beads or components. I wish Etsy had a better way to offer discounts, but for now a refund is the best I can do. The sale runs until February 4th to allow plenty of time for shipping after purchase. Some examples below - photos link to their respective listings.


 

 


Lastly, I've got a new promotion going - buy any necklace and get any one pair of earrings at 1/2 the regular price. For this one, I just need you to let me know what necklace and earrings you want, and I'll create a special listing for the set at the adjusted price. I haven't set an expiration date for the promotion, but it will run throughout January.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Cathartes Aura

Up way too early today - 3am! Now that I've whiled away my morning in the Etsy forums, it's time for the equally productive blog post so as not to disappoint my one faithful reader. Good morning, Maman! Hm, I guess that wasn't a waste of time after all. :)

Because I love turkey vultures and everyone else should too, I refer you to The Turkey Vulture Society, whose task it is to "promote scientific study of the life habits and needs of the Turkey Vulture, to protect the vulture and its habitat, and to inform the public of the valuable and essential services this bird provides to us and to the environment.". They even have a little FAQ about how to attract turkey vultures. There isn't a lot known about these birds, but it's nice to know someone is working on it. I'd love to be one of those people, but have yet to find out exactly how.

There is what looks to be a really cool annual event in California, but I've had it with that state for a while [personal reasons - no offense intended toward anyone in that part of the world]. It's the Kern River Valley Turkey Vulture Festival, and maybe someday I will get there to see what it's all about. In the meantime, I'm always on the lookout for them flying over, making mental notes of when they're on the scavenge for food throughout the day. They're so beautiful when they soar...


Photo from Wiki

Contrary to what some people believe, vultures won't eat your small pets, don't circle dying animals or people, and are actually beneficial to humans. They clean up carcasses before they reach an advanced state of decay, thus helping to prevent the development of harmful bacteria. The first part of their latin name, Cathartes Aura, actually derives from the Greek "katharsis", which means to cleanse or purify. Not all societies see the vulture in the same negative light as modern American culture. I remember reading about one Native American myth [I'll look more into the origin] which speaks of a time when the sun was too close to the earth. After other animals tried, the vulture successfully pushed the sun away with his head, thus saving the earth from being burned up and leaving himself forever bald.

Of course, an animal doesn't need to be in any way "beneficial" to people - they're all beautiful and valuable. But this does come from a person who takes spiders outside instead of killing them, moves worms off the sidewalk so no one steps on them, and dearly loves even the most maligned of creatures.

* Update - After looking a little bit into vulture mythology, I discovered there is just too much for me to reasonably share here right now. Started collecting links, but again, so many resources. It's a subject I'm very interested in, but if I ever want to get more jewelry made for my shop, I must stop myself!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Black Onyx and Snowflake Obsidian Y Necklace

I'm taking a little break from all the picture re-taking. The light box has definitely helped, but I still need to work on a better lighting arrangement. For now, I'm pretty sick of my camera, so here's the newest addition to my Etsy shop! I made a similar one for myself years ago, and have gotten a lot of compliments, so I'd thought I'd add this one to my listings. This is an original design [circa 1994], so it is property of myself and KSK Designs/KSK Jewelry Designs. :)  Photo links to my Etsy listing.



Since I'm so fed up with taking pictures right now, I'm very happy to have received my latest order for sterling chain today. Got my usual long and short link, same as in the necklace above, but more delicate. This time I also ordered a really neat crinkle link chain, which I hope to use for my next design. No idea what the beads will be yet, but I'm thinking I don't have nearly enough black in my shop!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thursday Morning Randomness

First off, I've been meaning to post this for a few days, and just keep forgetting. It's MOMA's Interactive Tim Burton Exhibit, and soo worth checking out! Just so you know, it's a Flash exhibit, so you'll need at least the Flash 10 plug-in, as well as Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Yesterday morning I discovered the Celebrate Odd Etsy blog - a nice, positive celebration of the weirder side of Etsy. The pages take a while to load on my poor old slow computer, but they have some neat items featured there. I've submitted a link to my Curiosities/OsteoWear section to see if they find anything odd enough in it to feature - crossing fingers!

Other than browsing through those sites, I've been having some fun with anagrams this morning at Wordsmith.org. You can put in your name and see the fun things that come out. I may change my name to Milky Beer. Sounds gross, so of course people are drinking it. A quick search yielded recipes and a page on Peta's Milk Sucks site, which I found amusing. Some people have no sense of humor! Also, milk is nasty, so I have to agree with them there.

Lastly, cute animals! Not my own this time - the link goes to little video snippets of a baby sun bear, a tarsier [want one!], and a badger and otter playing together.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Light Box Update!

After getting a lamp and those new full-spectrum lightbulbs I was talking about, I finally got down to some picture-taking yesterday, and I'm thrilled with the results! The lamp I found is perfect - three bendable arms attached to one base, with angled hoods around the bulbs. This way I can light from the back and each of the sides without having three lamps and their respective cords to contend with. A tip: check Target if you have one near you - the lamp was $20 and already worth it. It only takes up to 40-watt bulbs, but with three it gives off plenty of light. So here's the before-and-after using my newest necklace [photos link to my listing]:





Better clarity and detail, and the new bulbs don't produce that annoying yellow reflection off the silver and background. I'm working on centering my pieces better so the reflection of the bulb itself isn't in my photos, but this is a huge step up! Light box experiment is officially over, and being considered a success! :)

A couple of helpful Etsy links in case you get stuck with your descriptive words for tagging:

Etsy Storque's Tagging Guidelines and Tips
Etsy Storque's Tagging How-To

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Newest Addition

Finally finished my most recent necklace. I had some problems with the drilling, as I had to buy new drill bits and then the collets I had didn't fit the bits I needed to use, but I finally worked it out. I'm happy with the necklace - it's different. Photos link to my listing on Etsy.





What I'm not happy with are the pictures. My lighting is too yellowish. Hopefully this will be remedied when I go get some lamps and daylight light bulbs tomorrow so I can start using the light box I made. That Etsy Sellers Assisting Sellers tutorial was simple to follow, and now I have a cute little paper-lined cardboard box to put my jewelry in for pictures. Fun stuff!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Eris


I thought I'd tear myself away from the riveting cinematic masterpiece "Flu Bird Horror" [hooray, SyFy channel] long enough to take a couple of pictures of my perfect boa constrictor, Eris. Okay, maybe she's not perfect - she does require that i keep the freezer stocked with rats, the only meat it ever sees. She is beautiful though, and aside from the horrendous diet, she's truly one of the sweetest animals with which I've ever had the privilege of sharing my home.


And no, this blog will not be an endless stream of pictures of my animals. Just doing some introductions. I promise.

The Role of Rats in Jewelry-Making

It may seem strange to some, but my rats are a big help to me while I'm sitting at my workspace. They're ridiculously cute and have a calming influence, which means a lot when you have problems with anxiety. I'm up at this silly hour filing a sterling piece for a necklace I'm making, and they've been right here passed out on my lap in their little porta-bed. I scratched their heads until they woke up, yawning and stretching, so I could take this pic. Despite the disturbance, they are their typical good-natured and sweet selves. Just look at the cute:



Helen was fidgety as usual, so she came out a bit blurry. I got them at our local pet shop, knowing that otherwise they were destined to be snake-food. I only wish I could have taken the whole litter. Helen came first, but I went back for Magda the next day after I read that because they're social creatures, they're often miserable alone. I couldn't stand the thought of Helen's only companionship being me.

I'm so glad I did, because I'm sure Helen is happier to have her sister with her, and otherwise I would have missed out on the fun of watching them pounce on and roll around each other while they play. It also makes the more repetitive tasks of making jewelry a lot less boring when I can take little breaks to scratch them or give them a treat... or stop them from climbing on my keyboard! It's worth noting as well that they're incredibly polite and save their natural rattie functions for the litter box in their cage. Yep, rats can be litter-trained. Awesome.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Making a Light Box

I just found my way over to the Etsy SASsy Team's Sellers Assisting Sellers Blog, and discovered they have a simple tutorial on how to make your own light box. After a disappointingly and decidedly unhelpful visit to my local photo shop looking for some assistance with taking pics, this is a great tutorial to come across.

Normally I wouldn't go to a store and ask for help like that [social anxiety anyone?], but this was a classic small town mom-and-pop type shop previously known to be run by experts who were always happy to help their customers. Not so when I went with my mom. The girl we spoke with could barely bother to explain to me what a light box even was, let alone assist me if I wanted to buy one, and forget any illusions I may have had about getting tips. I found out yesterday that the previous owner actually sold the store 4 years ago, so there you go.

My plan for the day is to try to give this homemade light box thing a shot. I have the cardboard box and the white paper, but I'll have to buy myself a couple of adjustable table lamps and 100-watt daylight light bulbs. According to the tutorial, the blue daylight light bulbs should give me more accurate colors than regular bulbs, which emit a yelllowish light. Makes sense. I'll report my findings, maybe even post pics if I get ambitious.

My Dear Readers