Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Amazon & Etsy

Wind Dancer Studios Artisan Made Jewelry

I have wonderful news! I'm both thrilled and terrified at the same time.

I love Etsy and am perfectly happy there but with the tinkering they've been doing I'm just not seeing the growth I expected. I could whine and complain but that doesn't change a thing. I have consistent sales and from what I've read that puts me above average and I'm good with that so I'm not planning on leaving or putting my shop on vacation or anything like that.

When Amazon announced they were planning a new Handmade Marketplace I applied.
I applied ...... and I was accepted!

Statistically Amazon has 10 x the customer base @ 250 mil customers so my sales should increase at the same rate which would surpass my goals for the year. Which would make me one happy camper.

Crunching the numbers I need only three sales per day to make an income sufficient to contribute to household expenses. I didn't realize how much I missed that until the thought of being able to pay the bills even when the weather isn't cooperating with the bread and butter business became a possibility.

Amazon gives me the opportunity to create more growth. A lot more growth! That's where the terrifying part comes. I know I can handle three sales a day, I can replenish stock fairly quickly depending on what's selling. The terrifying part is Amazon has the potential to create much higher sales than that.  Amazon does something Etsy doesn't do, advertise. Amazon knows marketing, everyone knows Amazon!

Then this morning, my note from the universe was this:

"The Evolution of a Dream" 

Dream is implanted into brain. 

Dreamer becomes thrilled. 

Dreamer becomes terrified. 

If no action is taken, terrifying thoughts grow into flesh-eating monsters. Dream is considered unrealistic. 

If action is taken, Dana, terrifying thoughts are revealed to be paper tigers. Confidence soars, miracles unfold, and dreamer begins to saunter. 

Either way, nothing remains the same. 

    The Universe

If you're going to dream, dream big right? It's all about taming those paper tigers!

Hey if Etsy sellers are known as Etsians........ will this make me Amazonian? Wonder Woman here I come! Hello, Diana's eyes are only a tiny bit bluer than mine! lol

Wonder Woman: by artist Alex Ross

Thanks so much for stopping by!
We'll see ya next time!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Me and the Boy - a Little Family Time

wind dancer studios, coin rings, family time
US Golden Dollar  & Quarter  Dollar Coin Rings

I've been busy but my muse has been quiet. I can make while not entirely "woohoo I so want to do this", but I prefer the woohoo. It keeps everything fun, which is why I do this. My stress levels have been higher than I thought they were I guess, I pushed hard at the beginning of the year and I enjoyed that, but I underestimated the amount of down time my muse was going to require afterwards.

So you can understand how happy I was when I told my son I was planning to make some rings over the weekend and he piped up with, "Can I make some too? I still want to learn to make some coin rings. "

And that is just what we did!

First we picked out some coins to use. He has wanted to turn his golden presidential dollar coins into rings for quite some time now. We also picked up a Quarter and a Mexican Peso. I have a Casino token around here somewhere I had planned on using, but somehow it got missed. Maybe next time!

Then we gathered up the tools needed, he went downstairs and picked up a drill and I pulled out my punch set. Marked the centers of the coins and got our holes started. Not without casualty though, I apparently opened my punch set upside down so Alex used it that way and mushroomed one of my punches. oops, ah well that's how you learn ....

wind dancer studios, making coin rings, family time
Forming the ring on the mandrel.

We used a hammer on the quarter and gave it a textured finish that is really pretty and then switched over to wood and leather mallets for the Peso and the Dollar so we wouldn't destroy the details of the coins.

wind dancer studios, making coin rings, family time
Peso Ring

We only set out to make them to fit his fingers so there are things we would probably do differently if we needed to size for a specific size smaller than that but it was a great learning experience for us both. And he hasn't taken any of them off, except for washing hands etc, since we made them.

wind dancer studios, making coin rings, family time
Wearin o' the rings, just sounds good doesn't it :)  Looks good too.

That's how we spent our weekend. How'd you spend yours? Feel free to tell me in the comments or on my page on FB. I'd love to hear from you!

Til next time!
Thanks for stoppin by!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Left Handed Loop Tutorial

Loops and wrapped loops are something quite a few beginning jewelers struggle with. The headpins purchased at most craft departments are steel and don't bend easily, making them think they are doing something wrong or just aren't very good at jewelers making. A nice loop does take a little practice and armed with a little how to and the proper tools it can be done quite easily.

To get started you will need wire or purchased head pins and a pair of round nose pliers

or forming pliers

and a pair of chain nose pliers.

flush cutter

and optional crimping plier

These days they have a one step looper tool -

but it won't make wrapped loops, those you still have to make yourself and I'm going to give you a quick tour of how I go about making them.

To make a simple loop drop a bead onto your head pin and using your thumb bend the wire over the top of the bead in an upside down L. The bead being on the straight portion. Grab the wire between the jaws of the pliers and roll.

Making a loop on a Head pin, WindDancer Studios, free tutorial
Using a head pin.

Continue rolling until it looks like a lollipop.
Trim the excess.

To make a link you'll do the same but loop both ends. Generally when making links I'll slide quite a few beads onto the wire and work from the roll. This saves time and wire.

Wind Dancer Studios, free tutorial, simple loop link
Using round nose pliers to make a simple loop link

Wind Dancer Studios, free tutorial, simple loop link
Using Forming Pliers to make a link.

To make a wrapped loop you'll do pretty much the same thing but you need to leave a space next to the bead for your wraps.

Wind Dancer Studios, free tutorial, wrapped loop link
Making a Wrapped Loop Link

This time we'll place our pliers next to the bead and rock it to the side. The tip of your plier leaves a little space between the bead and the bend.

Wrap the wire around the tips of your plier until you have your lollipop but don't cut the tail.

Grab the tail with your chain nose pliers and wrap it around the space beneath the loop. Wrap as straight across as you can and fill the space.

Trim the excess and tuck the end in close to the wraps with your chain nose pliers.

Sometimes wraps can be a little uneven or the tail just doesn't want to tuck all the way in.  A helpful hint in these cases is to use your crimping pliers and very gently squeeze around the wraps and tail end to even them out and tuck the tail.

Can you spot the wonky links?
Got going too fast on I have to fix them.

The links I found for the pliers had great pictures that showed the pliers tips so you know what you're looking for. I also turned myself into a contortionist so you might have a better view of the plier tips as I worked. There are a full range of product price points and you should purchase what you are comfortable spending as you will get what you pay for when it comes to pliers. I have some really nice very expensive pliers that I absolutely love, I have some mid range pliers that are very nice and fit my hand beautifully and I have regular hardware store pliers that I've owned for many many years, they all do the job I want of them. Treat your toys and tools with respect and they'll last a long time.

I thought you might like also like to see a video of a right hander so you can see the motions. I often use both hands switching back and forth without thought so I thought this might help to see it both ways.

I hope you find this helpful or know of someone who might.

Thanks for stopping by!
We'll see you next time!

Friday, July 10, 2015

of Flags and Heritage and Love

MagPie Approved:My G-Grandfather
My G-GrandFather Adam Rott born in Russia 1884
Immigrated to the Dakota Territories in the US the same year.

I’m going to touch on a topic that may be, well is, politically charged. This is simply my view, you may share it or maybe not, but it is mine none-the-less.

I am for lack of a better phrase, an American Mutt. I am not a “purebred” by any means. My family has been here so long that we predate the conception of the USA. Seriously, I have DAR lineage as does my husband, though technically that would be SAR. For those not in the know, Daughters/Sons of the American Revolution, descendants of patriots and/or soldiers of the American Revolution on the rebelling side. I have Native American heritage as well, obviously also predating. I have generation after generation of immigrants to this country of ours. So much so that I can’t really identify with any of them. Nothing more than stories have been passed down, cool little tidbits like we're descended from Robert the Bruce, one G-G Grandfather could speak 13 languages and was a professor before coming here and another was stoned to death for swimming in a white man's swimming hole, but no important traditions or culture. Just that family is what matters in this world.

My family is a very long list of immigrants. Family matters. So I take great offense when the politicians/or their pundits begin spewing the noxious verbiage that immigrants are what is destroying the fabric of our nation.  EVERY LAST ONE OF US is a product of immigration. Exceptions to any Native who is not of a mixed heritage. You and I are not destroying our country, neither is anyone else looking for a better life.

What could destroy this nation is the notion that left and right aren’t flip sides of the same darn coin. We will rip ourselves apart if we don’t all come to this realization. All this venom has us on the brink of a virtual Civil War. Pointing fingers and blaming each other for the actions of our elected officials and their pundits. 

My family has lived in most parts of this country North and South, and yes when it came time for the American Civil War, they also fought North and South.

MagPie Approved - My Family, My Heritage
My G-G-G-Grandfather wearing his Civil War Confederate uniform in this family photo taken in Mississippi.

Some of my family fought under that Rebel flag, I don’t pretend to know the reasoning it was not a story that was passed down. In fact it was never discussed at all that I’m aware of. I only know of it from my own research. To me, that flag was just a part of history. It meant nothing more than an act of rebellion. In my eyes it stood for nothing more than a final rebellion against authority. Had any family history been passed down in regards to it I might have felt differently about it but that was not the case. My guess is, it wasn't the case for most other folks either.

While I was still researching my ancestry on I found a record I hadn’t seen before. Spelling variations in this line had made searching an adventure to say the least. I clicked to view it, a Slave record. I thought at first maybe someone in the family had been indentured for some time. Imagine my utter dismay when I discovered it was a recording of my family members ownership of slaves. I was immediately sickened, my stomach was doing flips and tying itself in knots. You can’t own another human being, it goes against everything I know to be true and yet, there it was.  My brain tried to reconcile this, purchasing their freedom so that families could remain together. That’s a noble thing right? Always the optimist and seeing the world through mine own eyes, historically I know the odds of this are slim and it saddens me still.

I live in the South and I am proud to call it home for so many many reasons, but that flag holds no loyalty for me. It never meant more than a last act of rebellion.

Juanita is a friend of my Aunts for as long as I can remember. She has the most gentle voice and she was always just the sweetest person. I didn’t know it at the time but she was the foundation of my beliefs in equality. She wasn’t anything ugly at all,  She was Juanita. A beautiful human with a beautiful soul. How could anyone hate that? How could anyone hate her?

To know that a flag whose meaning to me was simply of rebellion was used to hurt and oppress the likes of Juanita and countless others like her, hurts me. It holds no loyalty for me. Go ahead, return it to history. 

That doesn’t mean I think we should destroy it. To forget the past is to doom ourselves to repeat it. It doesn’t mean I no longer love Gone With the Wind either. It’s still quite the tragic love story. But we learn and we move on, and in the words of Scarlet, we live another day.

Thanks for stopping by and for listening to me ramble on yet again!
See ya next time!

edited to add this post I found on FB, as I believe it bears repeating: