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!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

We like Pink

And we like pink applied very heavily. My grand daughter was here over the weekend. It was the first time I've seen her since April and it was the first time she's come to visit Nana and PaPa in North Carolina. I am always amazed by how intense she is about her side walk chalk. Always pink first and only one color at a time. The pink does not last long. It gets used up. The other colors we move through quite quickly. But seriously, only one at a time. I love watching this thought process. I'd love to know how a four year old makes these choices. But those are mysteries that are known only to children. It's a secret world.

Play dough with PaPa is a pretty intense too. Again only one colour at a time. And only with PaPa.  There are strict rules about lining up the shapes in just the right order. Only PaPa is able to do it. Old Bob is allowed to watch but his help is not appreciated.

Daddy made an awesome ladder for the play house which I learned is actually a castle.  That little porch up there is where Rapunzel lets down her hair. It's an elaborate affair to get that hair all unwound and to the ground so we can head off to see the floating lights. I know this because I watched Tangled quite a few times over the weekend and recognized the ritual.

I always feel priviledged to be allowed into a child's world. It is a whole new way of looking at things. There aren't the adult rules and view points. Life is full of mysteries to be explored and explained in your own way. The special Nana activity is the flash light. Each night before stories we go out into the back yard with the flash light and find things. Do you know how different everything looks when you find it with a flash light? It's magic out there.  A leaf becomes embued with power that it just does not have in daylight.

It's so quiet today. The side walk chalk is all washed away by the rain. Alice is so tired. She is my grand daughter's special dog friend. They are inseperable. Nana is tired too. But looking forward to the next time. Looking forward to the night time exploration. Anticipating seeing the world a little differently.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Almost like Christmas

Opening a kiln after it has fired for more than 9 hours and then cooled for 12,  is a little like gifts on Christmas morning. There's all that anticipation. You remember when you were a kid looking at the bounty under the tree, all wrapped up with its mysteries inside? Even when you've rattled and poked you never know exactly what might be in there. Unless of course you are one of those naughty children who've peeked before things got all wrapped up. I've only heard about this. I've never actually done the peeking :-)

There's no peeking when it comes to firing ceramic goodies. You just have to wait it out till things are cooked and cool enough to look at. This is what I looked at yesterday morning as I opened the lid of the kiln.  For the most part, the kiln gods smiled on this firing. Which is a really good thing because this was a totally mixed up firing. New clay, new glaze, no testing. Just kind of went for it. Liberating!

And just like Christmas, there are those gifts that maybe aren't just what you expected. See that up there? Two beads perfectly and forever fused together. And then there are the truly hideous that went straight to the bin without ever making it into the studio. Nope, you are not seeing those. I've spared you the sight of them. It happens and I am totally over them. Mostly.

And I think I can let those failures pass me by because I've got so much more to look forward to. That cheeky monkey is coming to visit Nana and PaPa this weekend. Oh, and she's even bringing her daddy and mama. She's so special and not just because she loves to go fishing and will even bait her own hook. Wowser, I won't even do that. Actually, I don't go fishing.

Miss Alyssa is turning 4 at the end of the month. We'll be partying away here at Summers Studio. We've got bubbles, we've got side walk chalk. We've even got beads! I haven't seen her for a few months. I haven't seen her and Mama and Daddy together since Daddy got back from Afghanistan.

So we'll be taking a bit of a blog siesta over the weekend to eat cake and make merry.

Happy weekend all!