Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy holidays!

That gorgeous ornament up there came from my friend  Izzy in a gift exchange we had over at LMAJ. It's a lovely etched copper tree with a sari ribbon hanger. I could not be more pleased to add this ornament to my tree and think of sweet Izzy every time I see it.

The gifts are wrapped and the stockings are ready to be stuffed. The turkey is thawing and the cranberry compote is marinating. The nuts are spiced and the cookies are baked. I think we are ready. I know we are ready. I love this magic time of year and feel blessed to be able to spend it with my son and his family. My daughter will join us later. I can hardly wait to pick her up at the airport and wrap my arms around her. Those daily phone calls just aren't the same as being able to hug her. I'll be spending the next couple of weeks just soaking up all of the family love. See you in the new year!

Wishing you a happy holiday and a new year filled with warmth and love and time shared with your very most special people.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Recluse

I like solitude. It's not that I'm antisocial. I just happen to be one of those people who has always enjoyed sitting quietly with my thoughts and working with my hands. It occurred to me that over the last couple of weeks I've become down right reclusive. Not many words on this blog lately. Not really very many words in general.

I think it is the time of year. For me I spend a lot more time in contemplation. I think about my children when they were young and the magic moment of opening up their stockings on Christmas morning. The absolute joy they had unwrapping small things like chocolates and match box cars. I think about Christmas this year with our  grand daughter. I've been put in charge of the stockings. It's an awesome responsibility but it makes me smile because Santa must have done a pretty good job in the past to be given such a special job this year.

I think about our sons and daughters coming home from Iraq this month and feel joy that they will come home to their families. I am reminded of the 2 Christmases my son spent in Mosul. I think of the Christmas he spent in Afghanistan last year away from his new family. And that he will be in Afghanistan again next year at Christmas. It makes me mindful of the blessing we have of sharing Christmas with him this year.

I think about the order I just made and shipped off yesterday. It's one with a story that moves me to tears. I am grateful to have been a small part of something so special. I sit with that story and let it become part of me. I can't tell the story right now. It is too new. I need to absorb it.

And I knit. Four scarves, two hats, a pair of mittens, and one special tiny project that makes me smile deep inside my heart. Knitting gets me through the many thoughts and emotions that comes with the holidays. It is a little like meditation or using prayer beads. Each stitch quietly filled love for someone special.

I hope you all are feeling the joy of the holiday season and savoring the magic moments that the season brings.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Art Bead Scene Ornament Blog Hop

I was thinking of my childhood friend Connie when I made this ornament. She had this most fabulous set up for her mittens that her grandmother had made for her. Simple really...just a piece of elastic that ran through the sleeves of her jacket and clipped onto her mittens. Oh how I loved that. I think we were about 5 years old.

I made this ornament from a pair of my mini ceramic mittens and wire wrapped wood and ceramic beads left over from other projects. They are suspended from a hammered loop of 14 gauge copper meant to hang over the branch of the Christmas tree.

It has been our tradition since the children were young, to give each of them an ornament when we decorate ouR tree. Our children are all grown with families of their own. Those childhood ornaments now decorate their own Christmas trees. Last year we had the blessing of welcoming into our family our now 4 year old grand daughter. She's just spent the last couple of weeks here with us and helped to set up our tree this year. This is the first year where she really understands Christmas. She knows who Santa is and that he's coming soon. Each morning we have a ritual of turning on the tree lights before we set down to breakfast. Each evening we turn on the holiday lights on the front porch and marvel over the lights on the neighbors porches. This beautiful 4 year old brings such a renewed sense of holiday magic into my life.

I've secretly wrapped up the mitten ornaments and sent them home with my grand daughter and her mother. Next week when her daddy gets home, she'll get to open them when they decorate their own Christmas tree. This Nanna is so happy to be able to pass on the tradition.

Please stop by to see the ornaments that others have created for the ornament blog hop.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

First Annual Virtual Craft Fair Starts Today

From November 26 - December 3, Lori Anderson is hosting an online craft show featuring 70 artists/crafts people. Each day during this time, Lori will be listing all the shops and sales going on which you can view by going to her site.
I've got a bronze dragonfly bead to giveaway. 
You can find out how to enter to win this and other lovely prizes over on Lori's blog,  Pretty Things . Be sure to stop back everyday to see what's up for prizes!

Psst, I'll update my Etsy shop on Monday morning and you can use the code CRAFT10 for a 10% discount  when you check out!

Monday, November 21, 2011

It's almost time!

7 days, 70 artists, 70 give aways and it all starts this Saturday, November 26th. Lori Anderson of Pretty Things is hosting her First Annual Virtual Craft Show. 

On the days of the Virtual Craft Show, Lori's blog will be dedicated to the show. Each day will be filled with designers and crafters and you'll be able take at advantage of  any discounts they may be offering. You'll also have numerous ways to enter to win some fabulous giveaways. You may even discover some new artists. 

Yeppers, some of my work will be up there as well. But I'm sworn to secrecy until the day that the prize is revealed. And not even I know what day that will be. So I do hope you'll mark your calendars and stop by Lori's blog each day of the Craft Show. I'm really looking forward to this.

I want to extend a huge thanks to Lori for organizing yet another great event. She rocks, she really does.

Friday, November 18, 2011

We are excited!

It's only two days now and this little girl will be here to visit Nana and PaPa. Her Daddy is off in Texas doing some training for two months and she's decided to come visit us in the middle while he's away. Oh, and she's bringing her Mummy too. We can't wait to see her and her Mummy. We have big plans. The studio will be operating at full capacity making Christmas presents. Think squishy finger pots and hand print ornaments....all decorated in the gaudiest, ummm, I mean the brightest glazes, we can conjure up. They will be the finest things ever to come out of Summers Studio. I am certain of this.

We'll have a pretty full house for Thanksgiving. My son, aka Daddy, will be flying in on Wednesday night for a couple of days. My daughter won't be able to make it home. That sweet girl bought her brother a plane ticket instead so he could be here with his family. It brings tears to my eyes to think of  what a loving and generous soul she's grown up to be.

My son's visit will be a short stay but action packed. We've two birthdays to celebrate on top of Thanksgiving. We've a tree to decorate the day after Thanksgiving. We've got a turkey to brine and a ham to glaze. We've got pies and cakes to bake.  Did I mention how excited I am?

I'm off now to finish the grocery shopping list. Turkey, animal crackers, sweet potatoes, crackers, cheese, pumpkin, chocolate chips......Really, did I tell you how excited I am.

Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

BTW - Naked

Fresh out of the kiln, a piles of naked stoneware beads just waiting for me to dress them up in glaze. Guess what  I'll be doing for the next couple of days.

Friday, November 11, 2011

I am listening now

Why is it that I have a hard time listening to my body? On Wednesday I started aching in my neck. Just thought it was from sitting in one position too long pressing out clay pendants. So I move on to something else. And keep working. Then my body starts aching all over. And I move onto another thing despite the fact that I am now tired as well as aching. Then I wake up with the snuffles and chills and I try to push through to meet a self imposed deadline. It is too early for the cold and flu season. Hermits aren't exposed to enough germs to get a cold anyway. But by late morning, I started listening and went to bed. Sleep felt good. Reading a book and dozing felt good. It was a rainy day and what could be better than dozing with book snuggled up in the comfort of my bed?

 I feel a bit better today. But I wonder if I am in the only person that just ignores the signals our bodies give us. I suspect not. When I get sick my mind seems to travel on all sorts of philosophical journeys. I wonder about things like what it really means to forgive someone. Do I truly know the definition of compassion? And I wonder why everything I make reminds me of those lovely Dutch windmill ginger cookies. Is my body telling me something again?

Have a lovely weekend all. Don't think too much, listen to your body, and go get some cookies.

Meanwhile listen to this. Did Nirvana ever sound this good? See? Weighty philosophical meanderings. I love these guys.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


It's been a while since I posted a Bead Table Wednesday. I think that mostly has to do with the thoroughly disreputable state of each and every work surface in my studio. There is actually a reason why you only get to see this tiny little snippet of my table. Can you guess? That's right the rest of it is in pure chaos.

I've had lots of little scraps of paper accumulating with drawings and scribbles and even some fairly good ideas. Or at least at this stage they've seemed like good ideas. So yesterday I started inking some of them up to turn them into molds. This is absolutely not at all what was on my list of things to do yesterday. But sometimes I just have to go with what holds my interest the longest. Can you guess what that drawing is? It's not finished. Think spring. I know it's not even winter yet but we have a secret here at Summers Studio that it is too early to talk about. And it makes me think of spring and happiness and all sorts of warm thoughts. So I'm not actually going to tell you what that is. In a month I will though. Promise.

Here's some more drawings. Some of them are just a whisper of an idea. The bottom one is pretty much ready to go. I have some deadlines looming that I want some new designs for. I think these designs will all end up as ceramic pendants. I'm working on some new techniques so these are all quite different from how I usually work.

Today I'll make these drawings into molds like these photo polymer plates. No clean work table needed. When nobody is looking I make them on my kitchen bench. There are many many off label uses of our kitchen. If you want to know how these are made you can go here where I showed some of the process.

So what's on your bead table? Is it messy? Come on you can tell me if its messy. I won't tell anyone, not even your mother.

Friday, November 4, 2011


Sometimes when I work with metal clay I feel a little like an alchemist. I do love this process of taking a lump of moist clay, shaping it, then putting it into the magical black box and coming out with a solid metal.

I've been making a lot of drawings lately. I haven't turned all of them into molds yet. Some of them aren't really ready and some of them just aren't go to make the cut. But, there is just something so satisfying about taking a drawing and turning it into metal.

Those little bronze snowflakes are a new design. I had a snowflake pattern in the past but I was never satisfied with it. That particular pair of snowflakes is going some place special next week.

This stage before I fire the pieces is one of favorites in the process. Not in this picture, but in person you can see tiny bright specks of metal. It's so fragile that it's hard to believe that it will become solid and substantial.

Then there is that moment of truth stage after the pieces have been fired. I packed this last load a little differently and wasn't sure if the pieces would survive. Bronze can be a bit finicky when it comes to firing. But I think I've got it down for most pieces now. It's pretty ugly fresh out of it's charcoal bed. All kind of crusty and rough.

But the tumbler takes care of the ugly part. It's like another black box. I put those pieces in there and let them go for an hour, sometimes more. If something is going to break it's probably going to be in that stage of the process. It's always exciting to dump those pieces out and dig for the shiny treasure among the steel shot.

Then there is the next ugly stage. These bright shiny pieces get bathed in chemicals and made all sort of black and nasty looking. This is actually my least favorite part of the process. It's kind of smelly. It makes a mess on my work bench. If I don't wear gloves then my hand turn orange. And I don't like wearing the gloves. Don't know why. Just don't like it.

Alchemy! Transformation complete. Now if I could only figure out how to transform bronze into gold. Heck, I'd be happy with silver given today's market prices.

Have a great weekend, all!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Clearing out the skeletons from the closet

We love Halloween. Have loved it since we were kids. Loved it even more when the children were young and we went with them around in the neighborhood to 'Trick or Treat.' Each year Peter dons his skeleton gloves, black turtle neck, and has about as much fun as the children.  He's quite the hit with the young ones.

Every once in a while I get my deep thinking hat on and question this whole business of Halloween. Because there is absolutely no question in my mind that Halloween in the USA,  is one of those big marketing holidays that we are all encouraged to buy up. But does it have any meaning at all?  Don't get me wrong. I love seeing all of the children in their costumes. I love hearing their awe of Peter's skeleton hands. I love how much Peter loves this couple of hours of doling out treats. I love the pageantry. We do love this holiday.

But is there anything more? Well, I rarely, go into the philosophical on this blog, let alone anything that even approaches the spiritual.

Recently, we had the opportunity to hear a Wiccan perspective on Halloween, or Samhain. Among other things, it is a celebration of bringing the light forth from the dark. In the northern hemisphere we are approaching the days of the least sunshine. It's harvest time and we bring in from the fields those things that will sustain us until the spring ushers in the bounty of the growing season. It's a time when we can put to rest the darkness in our lives and celebrate the light that will come with spring. The things that will nurture us through the through the dark months ahead.

So my thinking is, that, it doesn't really matter what your faith path is. In this quite commercial holiday, there is room to clean out the skeletons and cobwebs in your closet. Bats and zombies, too. They can be banished as well. It's a time to become aligned with the change of season and look towards the light.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Save the Date!

She's done it again. Lori at Pretty Things has come up with yet another great idea. She's hosting a Virtual Craft Show on her blog. Seventy people are giving away 70 fabulous prizes. That means 70 fabulous people will win. So mark you calendars. This will be fun!

Yep, I'm giving something away. But I'm not telling you what. You'll just have to wait and see. I love suspense. Don't you?

pssst, etsy shop update tonight starting at 8pm EST

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New Stuff, An Invitation, and Thank You

There haven't been nearly enough beads on this blog lately. Well, really since we moved to North Carolina there haven't been enough beads. Settling in and all has distracted me.  I've been working away on some new things. Like the little bronze acorn and pine cone. The oak leaf is a re-work of an old design. It's modeled on the pin oak that line the street I live in. They are protected in my street because I live in a historic preservation neighborhood and these pin oaks were part of the original landscape design. Thank goodness! Pin oaks are one of the most beautiful of all the oaks, at least I've always thought so. I'm so happy you can't chop them down willy nilly.

I've been working on setting little gemstones into some of my bronze pieces. A bit fiddly, but I love the sparkle that these add to designs that feel so comfortable and familiar to me.

Since we moved here, I've changed the porcelain that I use. I'm using one by High Water Clay which is in Asheville. It's almost local. Well it's only a couple hours away and it's oh so nice to have an excuse to go to Asheville.  I'm quite smitten with the glaze on these pieces. It's a formerly poopy glaze on the old porcelain. Unfortuntely,  two really spectacular glazes on the old porcelain are now poopy. But I'm working on it.

Now for the invitation. I've thought about this for some time and am just now getting around to doing it. I've opened up a Facebook page to let you all know when I've got new things available. Because I recognize that I am frankly quite dreadful about letting anyone know when things become available. Some of you have even asked if I have an email list or some such thing so that you could know about shop updates. No email list (yet). So here's a link to my Facebook Page, Summers Studio Beads.

There are even some previews of work that's going to be available this week. I'll let you know when I list things in my shop. There's a bunch of stuff ready to go and I like being able to just list it all at once. Sometime this week, at an undisclosed time, I will be listing a bunch of stuff. Undisclosed because not even I know when that will be. I'm still working on getting things ready.

And thank you all for your very generous support regarding my mother's passing. It's been an emotional upheaval but we are all coping in our own ways. I haven't been able to get back to each of you. But please know that I feel deep gratitude to each of you for your warmth and oh, so generous caring.

Friday, October 21, 2011

She was 84

I had things I wanted to say today. But they aren't important now. My mother passed early yesterday morning. She was very ill and in quite a lot of pain from the cancer that had spread everywhere in her body. She hasn't been able to speak for a long time because her brain had betrayed her thoughts. That would have been awful for her. I know how much she dreaded the idea of it. She was a very bright woman and valued learning more than anything I can think of. Reading and puzzles of all kinds were what she did to keep her mind strong. In the end she could do none of those things. It is sweet relief that she no longer suffers.

I won't be able to go up to say a final good bye. There isn't time for the travel it requires. It's a long ways and it's all quite complicated in so many ways. My dear friend had the idea to let a balloon drift upwards and away to mark her passing. I like this idea. I will do this instead and wish her the peace that she did not have in her last months.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Please follow the highlighted route and a bit of awesomeness

That's what Steve-o the garman says when we use him to guide us to destinations not yet travelled. Oh that life could be so simple. Please follow the highlighted route. Yes, I want a garman for life. Or maybe not. Maybe I actually like not having a pre-determined path. Maybe I like making twists and turns, taking off in direction that I didn't anticipate.

Anyways, we headed up to the mountains on Monday for a day trip, dogs in tow.  Steve-o the garman was not on. We were heading for Mount Mitchell State Park and we needed nothing of "please follow ...." we had the Innate Male Sense of Direction on hand to guide us. Well, enough said, really, as I'm sure most folks know that the innate male sense of direction is not, clearly not, infallible.

But all is well that ends well.

It's stunningly beautiful up in the mountains. The mountains feel so ancient. And they are, really. We were lucky enough to be able to get up there in the peak of fall colour. Blazing with oranges, reds, and yellows. Then at the top of Mount Mitchel you are in a spruce forest. The smell is incredible. I wish I could bottle it up and post the smell here on my blog. I love these mountains that roll away in ridges of smoky blues.

It was what I needed. The Blue Funk Fairy has been having an extended holiday in my studio. I tell her to go away, you are not welcome here. But she hasn't been listening. Until now. I think I needed to go away for a day. She apparently does not like not having company. I've actually been quite productive this week. There's a load of bronze pieces in the tumbler right now. There are even some new designs.

I feel some of my work changing. Not all of it. But being surrounded by so much beauty here has me wanting to try new things. Things that are more muted and earth bound. Look at that lichen up there. I can't remember what kind it is. But I find the ruffled edges and the grays and pale green breath taking. Another ancient thing, lichen have been living peacefully with the spruce on Mount Mitchell for millenium. See there really isn't room for you Blue Funk Fairy. There are too many other things competing for my attention.

In a bit of awesomeness, I got to meet Kelley on Sunday. She and her mother were on their way home to Atlanta from Chapel Hill. So it was just good luck that we could meet in Greensboro for coffee. I felt like I had known her forever. So much laughter so much fun. I hope will be able to laugh together again and soon. I wish I could meet all of you as well. So if you are ever in the Triad give me a shout. For that matter if you ever in the mountains give me a shout. Any excuse to get over there :-)

I started this blog post on Monday night and here it is Wednesday already. Where did the time go? I need Steve-o to highlight my route for me. So much is happening right now. My mum's taken a turn for the worse and it could be hours it could be days. Who knows? It's been nearly a year since her cancer returned with metastases in her liver, lungs, and everywhere. She's been very ill for months. I'm not entirely sure how to feel. Maybe numbness is a good thing.

So I think I will just meditate on the circle of life and ancient things.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Congratulations! The winner of the bronze branch and aqua birdie is KayzKreationz! Thank you all for joining us on the Virtual Book Tour for Torched Fired Enamel Jewelry by Barbara Lewis. Be sure to check out Jen Judd Velasquez post today. She's going to show you how she set up a torch fired enamel studio in her apartment. I can't wait to see this!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Wings of A Dove and Give Away

The last project in Barbara Lewis new book, Torch-Fired Enamel Jewelry uses one of my bronze branches and a bitty porcelain bird. The birds are actually quite special to me. I think most of us have memories of awkward, lonely, or even painful moments in our childhoods. I know I do, mostly of those lonely times where I just didn't seem to fit very well in the world. I started making these birds at a time when I was missing my Nana a lot, even though she's been gone for a very long time. You see, my Nana was always there for me and I was like the little bird with ruffled feathers that she would smooth and make right. I always feel peaceful when I make these birds and it reminds me of those times when my quiet soft spoken Nana had just the right words to make the sun shine in a little girl's world.

I was so pleased when I first saw a photo of how Barbara used the bird in her project, Wings of a Dove. It's a lovely happy piece, full bright cheer and sunshine. But best of all she gave the little bird it's own etched and enameled home.

One of the things I love most about torch-fired enameled pieces is how versatile they are. They combine so well with many other mediums from bronze to porcelain, jewels to pearls. I think the only limit is your imagination. The other thing I love about this technique is how you can either use a commercial component or create your own as a base for the enamel. And then there are the colour options, again only limited by your imagination.

Barbara's book is beautifully illustrated and everything you need to know to get started is there, including 22 projects that take you through her innovative techniques step by step.  I feel quite confident that everything I need to learn this technique is right here in this beautiful book. It is so much more than a project book. It is a spring board for your imagination.

To celebrate Barbara's new book I'm giving away a bronze branch and aqua birdy like those in Wings of a Dove. At the end of the day, 10 pm EST, a winner will be randomly choosen from comments on this blog post.

But there is more!

Here's a list of the other hosts on this virtual book tour:

October 6, Mary Jane Dodd,
October 7, Gaea Cannaday,
October 8, Linda Larsen,
October 10, Andrew Thornton,
October 11, Lori Plyler,
October 12, Diane Cook,
October 13, Lori Anderson,
October 14, LeAnn Weih,
October 15, Jen Judd Velasquez,
October 17, Melissa Meman,
October 18, Lisa Crone,
October 19, Shannon LeVart,
October 20, Cindy Wimmer,
October 21, Laura Twiford,
October 22, Erin Prais-Hintz,
October 24, Jennifer Cameron,

October 25, Sharilyn Miller,

And there are more prizes!

This is what Barbara has set up for you:

"We'll have prizes throughout the book tour plus a grand prize at the end! The more you spread the excitement, the more chances you have to win some of the goodies our bloggers are giving away!

Leave a comment at your host's blog and become a follower = 1 chance.

Tweet, facebook or blog about the giveaway and leave a comment at this post (the original Virtual Book Tour post)  = 1 additional chance.

While you're at my blog (Barbara's), if you become a follower or say that you're already a follower in your comment = 1 additional chance.

So, you can earn up to three chances per giveaway.  A winner will be selected by 10 p.m. eastern time and be announced the following day. You can check back at my(Barbara's) blog for the name of the winner or at any other of the participating blogs.

To thank you for following along, we will have a BONUS PRIZE at the end of the book tour!  All of the entries will be included in the drawing for a kit containing all the elements of "Floral Cascade," one of the projects in the book! You'll receive everything you need to make the necklace, including the chain, jump rings, clasp, enamel beads, and head pins!

But that's not all!

For a chance to win the Grand Prize - a Torch-Firing Kit (or $110 shopping experience at - please leave a review at by November 24.  Remember, leave an honest review... the book must stand on its own.

Thanks for playing along!

P.S. Unfortunately, we have to restrict the giveaways to U.S. residents.  Winners should contact me with their name and address through my author website: so that you can receive your prizes!"

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Painting with Fire Book Tour!

I am so so pleased to have been asked by Barbara Lewis to be part the virtual tour for her new book. I've got a copy in my hot little hands and  it is a wonderful book,  just chockers full of everything you need to know.  But I'll come back on the 14th and let you know more about it.

Throughout the month, starting today with Mary Jane Dodd, you'll be able to see projects and inspiration from Barbara's  book.   She's lined up some amazing artists, all with unique perspectives. 

Here's the list of hosts for you to follow:

     October 6, Mary Jane Dodd,
     October 7, Gaea Cannaday,

     October 8, Linda Larsen,

     October 10, Andrew Thornton,

     October 11, Lori Plyler,

     October 12, Diane Cook,

     October 13, Lori Anderson,

     October 14, LeAnn Weih,

     October 15, Jen Judd Velasquez,

     October 17, Melissa Meman,

     October 18, Lisa Crone,

     October 19, Shannon LeVart,

     October 20, Cindy Wimmer,

     October 21, Laura Twiford,

     October 22, Erin Prais-Hintz,

     October 24, Jennifer Cameron,

Did I mention the give aways?  Lots of them throughout the tour and you are in for some real treats. Want to know more? You can find out more details on Barbara's blog here.

And there's even a GRAND PRIZE - a Torch-Firing Kit (or $110 shopping experience at - please leave a review at by November 24.  Remember, leave an honest review... the book must stand on its own.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Are You Relevant? Am I?

These beads are not relevant to this blog post. They are a gratuitous splash of colour and texture.

Of course we are all relevant just because of the beautiful, lovely people we are. But are you Etsy relevant? This is a new concept to me. I kind of stumbled across this when I noticed all of the changes to how you list items. Thought it might be time to do a little investigation of what that was all about.

Now I will be the first to admit that I am not all au courant Etsy. I spend zero time over there except to mind my own business, so to speak. I am not an Etsy team player. I dislike the forums and  all things SEO make me yawn.  In fact I am so so Etsy lazy that I didn't even know they had changed the way searches are made until a month later. But if you sell online and on Etsy in particular, you do need to pay the tiniest bit of attention to what is happening.

Remember all of that re-listing to get to the top of a search? Not anymore. Which is really good for me, since I didn't do all of that re-listing anyway, lazy, slothful, Etsian that I am. Remember trying to come up with arty, witty, eye catching titles? Nope, not anymore. Which is also good for me because I tend to be completely uninspired when it comes to titles. In fact my titles are down right boring. Bronze Dragonfly Pendant ---boring.

Now you may know all of this already. It would not be the first time that I was the last to pick up on something worthwhile knowing. But if you didn't know, in essence, Etsy has changed the way items come up when shoppers search so as to provide the best match to their keywords. They've aligned it more with how other search engines like Google work. Nifty. Personally, I think this is a great idea and think that it ultimately will make everybody happier. Because, really, who likes wading through all of that other stuff when all you really want is to choose from a selection, of say Bronze Dragonfly Pendants. And if you are selling stuff do you really want your shoppers wading through masses of Etsy items?

But its a bit of a mind shift when it comes to how you list your Etsy items and all of that old Etsy listing wisdom. I'm not going to go into all of that. Others have done that for you. If you google Etsy Relevancy, you will find a mind boggling list of links to discussions, strategies, rants, raves, and that sort of thing. Fascinating that this change could generate so many ways to spend your time on the internet.

Anyhoo, just in case you haven't whiled away the hours browsing all of the links out there, here's a list of three that I found to be pretty good.  ( I whiled away some hours for you :-)

1) First up there's the Etsy Blog link. Good to go to the source first, right?

2) Over at Handmadeology, they've got a nice 12 page PDF explaining the changes to Etsy's search engine and some pretty good suggestions for how to change up your listings so that your shop items have a better chance of being found among the gazillion sellers on Etsy. Warning though, you'll be asked to give up your email and this might get you subscribed to Handmadeology. I don't actualy now if that's what happens. If that's not your thing, you can easily unsubscribe if you get more emails from them. They are also selling stuff here like an Etsy Relevancy Strategy e-book. Good purchase? Don't know. But the free PDF is a good summary. BTW, they have all sorts of quite good information and you can spend quite a lot of time there absorbing all sorts of stuff related to selling online and on Etsy in particular.

3) Saving the best for last, my favourite link of all from Sparrow Salvage. Read this one if for no other reason than you would like a bit of wit and humour. It's also got some really useful advice in it.

So are you relevant?
Have you looked into the flutter around the Etsy search changes?
Am I truly the last one to know about any of this? (I'm OK with that) 

Monday, September 19, 2011

The things you will do for love

Do you know what that is? Come on, I specifically know of one of you who knows what it is.

Here's another one. Yep, they are unisex. Probably a fashion crime as well. Actually, I am certain they are a fashion crime.

Yep, they are cheese heads. That is my sweetie there wearing his Green Bay Packers T-shirt. I should actually say one of his numerous Packers Tees. He is a die hard, deep in the blood, Packer's fan. It's a genetic condition. His parents were born and raised in Wisconsin. Although he did tell me that there are in fact people from Wisconsin who are Bears and Vikings fans. Not many, but a few. In fact there are even football atheists in Wisconsin. Gasp.

As it turns out, the Packers were playing the Panthers in Charlotte yesterday. These are things that ordinarily do not excite me in the least little bit. You see, I am in the football atheist camp. I have never been to a football game. I have never watched a football game. I do not understand football. Except for Aussie rules footie. Then I am all over it. Brisbane Lions, if you must know. I know, Melbourne girl should have been barricking for Carlton but we in North Fitzroy held a rather fierce loyalty to the Lions. But I digress.

So late Saturday night, Peter says the Packers are playing in Charlotte. I'm like, yeah? That's interesting. Have you ever seen the Packers play? Nope, I've never been to an NFL game.

So here's where the things you do for love comes in. I have never ever wanted to go to a football game in any league or city or whatever. Except of course for Aussie rules. And that I preferred in the local with a pint watching it on the telly. I do not understand grid iron. I like basketball. I can even take a lovely nap to baseball. But grid iron? I just don't get it. These huge guys out there knocking each other around? I just don't get it.

So much to my surprise, I said, honey, can you still get tickets? I'll go with you.

Yesterday, I find myself on the road to Charlotte. I find myself in the Bank of America Stadium. I walk up a series of ramps that are like hiking out of the Grand Canyon on the Bright Angel trail (which I enjoyed much more than the stadium). I find myself in a huge crowd of people. I loathe crowds. I actually have panic attacks in crowds. I am surrounded by cheese heads and panthers on all sides. Not a pretty picture. Early on there was a testosterone induced battle for space supremacy. I hate that. I hate guys shouting at each other and threatening each other. I question, why am I here? I just lost a week of studio time last week to massive headaches and now I am here?

But tell you what, this was a great day. Peter was over the moon going to an NFL game and getting to see the Packers play. He hooted and shouted and whooped it up. It was fantastic to see him really enjoy this. It was fantstic to see the camradery of the fans (both teams). Complete strangers but just enjoying the game together. Doing all this shouting and high fiving with each other. Granted,  I felt like I was in a foreign country and didn't speak the language. Peter is a pretty good interpreter though.

Even more surprising though is that I actually enjoyed the game. I  made some little whoops of my own. I'm a quiet person and public whoops are not something you might expect out of me. So I think that maybe this opening yourself up to do something different is a very good thing.

Nope probably not going to become a big football fan anytime soon. But I am so happy to have opened myself up to an experience that I would never expected to have done. Not in my wildest dreams. And to share it with Peter was the best. I think sometimes the things you set out to do for love end up being the things that are best for you.

BTW, the Packers won. Go Pack Go.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Bead Muse is Asleep

But the Garden Muse is wide awake. Thank you, Tropical Storm Lee. It poured down buckets of rain on Monday and Tuesday. At times it rained so hard I couldn't see the street from the front door. There is water seeping in the cellar and the down spouts are still draining. But after the storm came the most delicious cool weather.

I know that is just a common weed morning glory. But it is just so beautiful that I couldn't pull it off the fence. I know I will pay for that next spring when it reseeds itself all over my perenial bed.

When the weather turns cool like this I can't keep myself indoors. It is just too nice to spend a minute of it inside. See that brussel sprout. It shot out lots of new leaves after the rain. I can water all I like but I can not do the same job as mother nature. If I had been inside working in my studio, I would have missed the drops of dew on its leaves.

There will be no studio time this weekend either. I have leeks and bunching onions that need to be planted. They have no home yet. Peter and I will build another raised bed on Saturday. The lumber is here just waiting to be put together. I think I can already taste leek soup this spring. I love leeks.

I've spent the last two days planting spinach, lettuce, radishes, turnips, rutabagas, and more beets. Salad and soup is in our future this autumn. I've spent even more time weeding. This house has not been looked after for more than three years. I have years of weeding ahead of me. But there is something so rewarding about clearing up a mess and stepping back to see an instant change.

The last fig of the season. I am certain that on Saturday it was half that size. It just swelled up overnight with all of the rain. Yes, those are skeleton flamingos in the back ground. I can't really explain them. But I do like them quite a lot.

I'm off to Charlotte tomorrow. Peter has some sort of TV thing and I'm tagging along. Of all of the wonderful things to do in Charlotte, I am most looking forward to going to IKEA. I haven't been to an IKEA in years. I know that is kind of sad, really that my first trip to Charlotte is going to be spent wandering the aisles and whole room layouts of IKEA. But I need tea towels and I'm sure there are heaps of other things I need too. I'm sure none of those things that I deparately need are available locally.

Have a great weekend everyone!