Friday, April 24, 2009

Making a Recycled Paper Bracelet

This is one of my most asked about items, and I wanted to share the process with you:

I obtain these large paper tubes from a local printery. Their original purpose is to hold a roll of paper or vinyl, but after the material is used these are waste. They used to throw them out or recycle them, but now they are repurposed by me.

Using a jigsaw, I cut the tube to size. I usually like these bracelets to be about one to three inches thick.

After cutting, the pieces will need a little sanding so that they are smooth and evenly shaped. Now they're ready to get prettied up.

At this point I look through my stash of salvaged scrap paper. A friend who is a scrapbooker donates to me all the little bits and pieces that she can't use in her own work. I decide on a color scheme for today's project.

Next I reshape the paper: sometimes by hand tearing for a natural look, sometimes using scissors and or another tool. This time, I want to use to make a bracelet with a dotted theme. So I have chosen to use a craft punch to make circular shapes from the paper.

Then it's time for the fun part! I start arranging the craft paper in a random pattern all over the bracelet.

I then coat the whole thing with MANY layers of a slightly glossy, water-resistant clear coat. This part of the process requires the most patience, since there is lots of drying time between layers.

And it's done! In an upcoming blog post, I will be having a giveaway to win this very bracelet. So stay tuned!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A Busy Week!

This week I received a shipment of jewelry supplies and I've been busy creating. My post about making recycled paper bracelets will have to wait until next week. In the meantime, here are photos of some of the projects I've been working on:

I'll be listing these and many other new items in my Etsy shop over the next few weeks, so be sure to come check it out!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

More About 1000 Markets

In my previous post, I outlined the process for becoming a merchant on 1000 Markets. If you're an artist reading this blog, you may think that sounds like way too much work. Why go through that much trouble to sell on 1000 Markets when you can just sell on Etsy, which is bigger and has been around longer? Are those people in charge at 1000 Markets just a bunch of snobs?

Yes, they are.

But I'm here to explain why being a snob is a good thing.

If you've looked around at their site, you know that 1000 Markets is beautiful. It's laid out in a very visually appealing way, with awesome photos from amazing artists. They keep to a very high standard. On Etsy, you may occasionally stumble upon a shop that has no items in it at all, and you will unfortunately quite often find low quality merchandise and really lousy pictures. You'll never see anything like that on 1000 Markets.

Other things that aren't allowed on 1000 Markets: supplies, commercial items and vintage.

Etsy is full of these items, and I personally feel that cheapens their offerings considerably. "Vintage" is very open to interpretation and not very strictly regulated. Commercial items also abound on Etsy. Not just in the form of supplies, but "how-tos" and other gimmicks. I respect the right of these shop owners to list these items but frankly, sometimes it's nice to visit 1000 Markets just to get a break from all that junk.

Aspiring to be a merchant on 1000 Markets -- even though I got in on the first try-- made me take a long hard look at my jewelry and decide what was good enough. And looking at yourself with an honest, critical eye is a real growing experience for anyone, especially an artisan.

The bottom line is, I think both Etsy and 1000 Markets are great. I'm happy to be a part of both venues since they both have their pros and cons.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

1000 Markets: My "Other" Venue

I spend a lot of time on this blog talking about Etsy. And that's because I think Etsy is great. There are all sorts of awesome handmade products from all over the world. It's very inclusive. Anyone can sign up in just a few clicks and start selling handmade items, supplies, or vintage stuff.

I also sell on a newer, smaller, and lesser known venue called 1000 Markets. Although the two sites are very similar, they have some significant differences. Those differences are precisely why I love 1000 Markets, too.

For example, Etsy is inclusive. That's great. 1000 Markets is exclusive. And that's great too. What do I mean?

Well, not just anyone can sell their products on 1000 Markets. They are looking for high quality, well established artisans. If you're interested, you need to apply and a jury will look over your submission before the accept you. Here's how it works:
  • First you need to register. This is the first step to buying or selling on 1000 Markets, but it's no big deal. Quick, easy, and free.
  • You can set up a shop right away, but it will be provisional. No one except you will be able to see it until after your shop has been juried and approved.
  • You'll need a "portrait," basically a little avatar that can be a picture of you or your product. You also need a digital banner for your shop.
  • You'll need to take a few minutes to write out return policies and any other fine print to include in the "Profile and Policies" section in your shop.
  • You must have at least one -- but preferably six or more-- products for sale. That means loading photos, writing, descriptions, pricing, and all that good stuff.
  • You have to be set up to receive money with Amazon Payments.
  • You will also have a little blog space as part of your shop. Using it is optional, but highly recommended if you want the jury to approve your shop.
All of this is just to get your shop juried. If you're approved there's still more work ahead of you, categorizing your stuff, adding more products, more blogging, applying to join various markets...

Whew! This is an exhausting process. But it's well worth it. My next blog post will explain why jumping through all these hoops is a good thing.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Makeup Makeover Series: Part One

Where to Scrimp and Where to Splurge in Your Makeup Case
Part One- The Eyes

Eyebrows: Don't underestimate the ability of well arched brows to highlight your face. Get your brows shaped by a professional every now and then. A professional waxing can last for months if you maintain between appointments using brow gel, a brow brush and tweezers. Pluck sparingly, removing only the obvious strays. When you start to lose your shape, it's time to head to the salon again.

Eye shadow: If you like to change your eye shadow shades with the season, this is not the place to splurge. Cheap versions are available for as little as a dollar or two at pharmacies and discount stores. At such prices, it is possible to change your hue to reflect the season, the latest trends, or even to match a certain outfit. This is a great way to experiment with bolder colors, since the investment is small. If you're worried about the creasing that sometimes happens with less expensive brands, invest in a good primer.

Eyeliner: Eyeliner is relatively cheap, so even a premium brand won't cost you an arm and a leg. This is a great place to splurge on a brand you might not otherwise try. But be sure to buy a classic shade like black or brown and steer clear of trendy, gimmicky colors. To save time and frustration, try an automatic eyeliner that never needs sharpening.

Mascara: For the health of your eyes it's important to change your mascara frequently, about every three months. For this reason, it makes sense not to spend too much on this product. But inexpensive brands can leave you wanting more. The solution? Splurge on quality grooming tools! An eyelash curler and an eyelash brush are musts if you want thick, sweeping lashes.