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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Interesting Post On One Of The Most Interesting Blogs

Anyone who knows me, knows how much I loathe politics but the newest post on one of my favorite blogs is just too interesting for me to not share it with my my readers.

"Meet Jon Gnarr, mayor of Reykjavik, Iceland’s largest (and coolest) city."

http://www.messynessychic.com/2012/11/28/meet-the-coolest-mayor-in-the-world/

Enjoy!

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Lot To Consider

I am growing more and more disenchanted with Etsy by the day.  Their most recent failure to even place simple Black Friday and Cyber Monday banners on the Etsy front page along with their lame statements attempting to explain their reasoning have really proven that they are not only incompetent but are, in fact, sadistic.  I have begun to believe that they are sitting around having a really good laugh at sellers' expense.  They knew from the beginning that they had no intention of advertising or promoting Black Friday or Cyber Monday, yet they have been urging everyone to prepare for the big days.  This ended up being nothing more than an exercise in futility that allowed a group of 20-somethings to enjoy seeing how high they could make sellers jump.

Via Marie Kelly:
"We won't be running a front page banner for Cyber Monday. Our Team made the decision to run promotions, off Etsy, for Cyber Monday as a way to bring new and existing shoppers to the site. For example, we're highlighting the sale in our newsletters, social media, and online ads. For those of you who have tagged your items in anticipation for "Cyber Monday", those items will have the potential to display in related search engine results such as Google."

and

"Jumping back in to say, thank you all for feedback. We realize, in anticipation, for large shopping days such as Cyber Monday that we need to provide better tools for site-wide sales and enhanced ways to promote them. This is something we hope to work on in the new year."

 Let's get a few things straight:
  • It's a lot of work to change our listings.  Some of us did it by hand because we've heard about how some of the third-party applications that can do it for us have crashed badly and even deleted listings.  The time spent re-tagging could have been better spent designing and creating new items for our shops.
  • I do not know a single person who has seen an Etsy ad anywhere on the internet.
  • They have made very few posts to Facebook or on Twitter and those would only reach people who already follow Etsy rather than drawing new customers
  • Tagging items does not make those items show up in Google searches.  Google only "reads" the titles and descriptions--not the tags.  The tags were for Etsy and Etsy alone.  But if there is no banner to alert potential customers that they need to add the words "black friday etsy" or "cyber monday etsy" to a search, they aren't going to know to do it!  The last time I checked, most of our customers were not professing to be mind readers.
  • Etsy says that providing enhanced ways to promote site-wide sales is something that they "hope to work on in the new year".  That is a euphemistic way of saying, "We might consider working on it when we're finished screwing with the code, crashing the site, awarding three armed sweaters, promoting our hand-picked, chosen few (free of charge), blindly ignoring resellers, and continuing to promote the asinine moustache trend."
And, as a side note, I'd like to enlighten the Etsy cheerleaders in the forum.   Just because you like to assume that other sellers have not properly tagged their items, promoted off-site, etc. doesn't make it so.  I invite anyone to check my Twitter and Pinterest accounts lest they think I've been expecting Etsy to bring me customers.  I have been promoting my shops and those of my friends for close to three straight months in anticipation of the kick-off to the holiday shopping season.  I also have ads on a popular website and another blog and posted items to Craftori and the Handmadeology Market.  I've done my part and it's Etsy's job to do simple things like display banners on the biggest shopping days of the year!

Like many, it is my goal to have my own website where I can sell my jewelry.  Many of you probably reach this blog through http://libellulajewelry.blogspot.com but both of my domain names have redirected to this blog from day one.  http://libellulajewelry.com  and   http://cicadasilver.com.  Please keep that in mind.  I intend to eventually redirect my domain names to a single selling site and let my blog remain here under the blogspot address.

I'm not sure how quickly any of this will occur but it is my goal and Etsy's newest antics have definitely brought it to the foreground.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Free Shipping Continues Through Monday

                   Cyber Monday:
  • I'm offering free shipping in my Etsy shops on all jewelry purchases shipping to the United States & Canada.  (No code necessary)
  • I'm also offering discounted shipping to all other international destinations.  Please convo me and I'll set up a reserve listing that gives you a comparable discount on your shipping.

and 
Cicada Silver


Etsy hasn't been posting banners on the front page to remind shoppers of the promotions so it's easy to forget. 

Click box to go to the thread on the forum

Thanks, Etsy for doing such a poor job--as usual.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Big Thank You...

I'd like to thank Rita of Toltec Jewels For Jewel School Friends for creating the Window Shop Blog Hop that I participated in a couple of weeks ago.  It was a great chance to discover some shops that I had previously never visited and to help promote independent artists, designers, and crafters--especially during this holiday season.  After this year's Black Friday violence, it has become even more obvious how important it is that we support small businesses rather than the big box stores.

Along with the opportunity to promote all the participating shops, we also had the chance to win some wonderful prizes provided by Cindy Lichfield McConkey and Barbara Carleton of Bejeweled Software.

Barbara created the

Jewelry Designer Manager (Tm) Software
Jewelry Designer Manager (Tm) Pricing Jewelry Made Easy Software

which will "accurately cost and price jewelry, organize components and venders, track and manage customers, organize tax information, and create catalogs".

Cindy invented the 

Cloud Dome Earring Stand
 Cloud Dome Earring Stand 

which works in concert with the Cloud Dome or a tripod and camera.  This is an especially useful tool for those of us (like me!) who love to make and sell long, dangly earrings.

The Nimbus Dome
 Nimbus Photography Dome (designed for use with smart phones)

Here's the video that they made during their Kickstarter campaign which shows how easy it is to use The Nimbus Dome:


and the

The Cloud Dome 

Her photography aids help produce evenly lit, glare-free photos of jewelry with ease.

I was quite lucky and won a Cloud Dome Earring Stand!  Thank you ladies!  I look forward to trying it and appreciate your sponsoring such a great blog hop.  I feel like Christmas came early at my house.

New Items Listed

                  Free Shipping (US & Canada) 
Continues in Both Shops Through Cyber Monday!
Newly Listed:

Owyhee Jasper Pendant Necklace
Bezel Set Owyhee Jasper Pendant Necklace

Lampwork Bead with Etched Copper Bead Caps
 Ivory & Tan Lampwork Bead with Etched Copper Bead Caps on Brass Chain

necklace by Libellula Jewelry
 Green, Teal, Yellow, & Tan Lampwork Glass Bead with Etched Copper Bead Caps on Brass Chain

Several more new necklaces are in the shop, as well...


Friday, November 23, 2012

A Bit of Humor To Start The Gift Giving Season!

Simon's Cat in "Sticky Tape" 
by Simon Tofield 


Black Friday through Cyber Monday:
  • I'm offering free shipping in my Etsy shops on all jewelry purchases shipping to the United States & Canada.  (No code necessary)
  • I'm also offering discounted shipping to all other international destinations.  Please convo me and I'll set up a reserve listing that gives you a comparable discount on your shipping.

and 
Cicada Silver

Update:
Etsy really dropped the ball on the Black Friday sales promotion.  They promoted it in their emails (to people who would already be "in the know") but there is NO mention of it on the Etsy home page--no banner--nothing! 

how to search blk Fri & Cyber Mon deals on Etsy


And remember that time is running out to enter to win a pair of my etched copper earrings with sterling silver ear wires.
etched copper earrrings by Libellula Jewelry

Enter here:
http://libellulajewelry.blogspot.com/2012/11/earrings-giveaway.html 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving, Black Friday, & Cyber Monday!

Happy Thanksgiving
to my readers in the United States!

harvest cornucopia
Photo by George Grimm Howell

May your day be enjoyed with a thankful heart!
I hope your holiday weekend is filled with wonderful moments spent with your families and friends, delicious home-cooked foods, and interesting conversation.  


Black Friday Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday!
I'll be offering free shipping in my Etsy shops on all jewelry purchases being shipped to the United States & Canada.  (No code necessary)
Other international customers, please convo me and I'll set up a reserve listing that gives you a discount on your shipping.

and 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Pet Safety During The Holiday Season


  • Stress is often associated with the holiday season and pets feel it, too.  That is one of the reasons that it is best to avoid giving pets as gifts during the holidays.  But, it is equally as important that we protect the pets we already have from the stress of parties and unfamiliar guests.  They will behave better when they are not stressed and keeping them in a different part of the house away from the action is a good start.

scared cat hiding under furniture

  • Candles & open flames are a danger because they can easily catch a pet's fur on fire.  This is more common with cats catching their tails on fire.  Either safely secure your pets in another part of the house or use battery candles--many of which look very realistic when "lit".  Another bonus is that battery candles won't bother anyone who is sensitive to candle smoke or scented candles.

    battery operated candles
    • Candy dishes filled with chocolate containing theobromine and diabetic candies sweetened with Xylitol pose a risk because both theobromine and Xylitol are toxic to pets.  Even relatively small amounts can kill or seriously sicken pets.

    dreidel candy dish filled with candy


    • Christmas trees must be securely anchored as cats often climb them causing them to tip over.  Real trees often have chemicals added to their water reservoirs to extend tree freshness.  Be sure to cover the reservoir so that pets will not drink the water.  Most artificial trees are made from PVC which is a type of plastic.  Most rabbits and occasionally, cats and dogs like to chew the tree branches so, be aware and prepared to keep your pets out of that room for the holiday season if they exhibit any signs that they are going to chew the tree.  The pieces can cause digestive upset or blockages along the digestive tract requiring surgery or causing death.

    cat in Christmas tree

    • Tinsel and icicles are problematic for the same reasons as artificial trees.  If you have cats, I strongly urge you to avoid decorating your tree with icicles and tinsel altogether.  It's too tempting for cats and it can kill them. 

     Photo:  John Vargas

    • Christmas tree lights aren't nearly as dangerous as they used to be with the old, larger, more breakable bulbs but the cords are still an issue.  Be sure to safely secure excess cord within cord keepers to discourage pets from chewing them.  They can get shocked or electrocuted.  In addition, a partially chewed cord can overheat and cause a house fire. 

    CritterCord bitter cord protector

      • Glass ornaments are sparkly, shiny, and fragile.  More importantly, cats can't resist batting them around and occasionally off the tree.  If you must use glass ornaments, please hang them out of pets' reach to lessen the chance that they will be a temptation and get broken injuring little paws. 

      Waterford Christmas ornaments

        • Eggnog is very tempting to dogs.  Be cautious about cups of eggnog and other drinks during parties.  It only takes Fido a few seconds to lap up an entire drink.  Other dogs are even drawn to straight hard liquor.  My family once had a dog who would try as hard as she could to get bourbon.  Beer is obviously something that you need to watch because most dogs love it. Tipsy pets are not cute.  They can die from ingesting alcohol.

        eggnog with sugar cookie

          • The door is a danger because we are generally more social during the holiday season and have more guests and parties.  With that many people going in and out, pets are more likely to slip out unnoticed.  It's best to keep pets safely secured in another part of the house during parties.  They'll be safe, you'll have your peace of mind, and guests who might be allergic or nervous around animals will be more comfortable.  In addition, it is always advisable to have identification and contact information on your pets' collars even if your pets have been microchipped.

          open front door


            mistletoe


            • Ribbons, strings, and cords look like toys to cats and they will play with them and chew them.  Some cats are more prone than others to ingesting strings.  Siamese cats or cats who are known to have pica are the frequent offenders but all cats tend to exhibit that behavior at times.  Please keep anything that resembles a string away from cats because they can entangle the digestive organs and require surgery or cause death.  It's better to be safe than sorry.
            cat with string clip art clker.com
              • Overindulgence is always an issue with pets but guests may not realize how many yummies Fluffy has had that day and by the end of the night she might be waddling around full of kibble and an array of whatever you served during your party.  If your pets are out and about during a get-together, please advise guests to not feed them--no matter how much they may beg. 

                • Bones from ribs, chicken, etc. are a choking hazard so be sure to secure all garbage can lids so that your pets won't have access.
                dogs lying next to lidded trash cans

                May you and your family--including your pets have a safe & joyous holiday season!

                Thursday, November 15, 2012

                The Handmade Artists' Forum

                I've been posting in recent months about supporting independent artists, crafts people, and artisans by buying their wares all year rather than just during the holiday season.

                I found a forum of like-minded people who are also truly devoted to promoting handmade items.  That forum is called Handmade Artists' Forum.  I don't currently have a shop on that site but that may change because the fees are reasonable at $5 per month or $50 per year.  There are no additional fees or commission.  They are entirely devoted to real handmade items rather then the reseller junk that some of us have become so accustomed to seeing on other selling sites.  The number of shops grows daily and there is a lot of variety and many items to window shop.  For further information regarding opening a shop:  https://handmadeartists.com/sell-info/

                Joining the forum is free and the sign up is simple.  The community of artists who are forum members participate in blog rings, Twitter rings, etc. to promote the forum, other shops, and the importance of buying handmade items.  They also offer advice, creative feedback, and comaraderie without the negativity that is sometimes present in forums on other online selling sites.

                Here's  a small selection of the kinds of handmade items that you'll find in the shops on Handmade Artists' Forum:

                large triptych painting
                Triptych Art Print by Finnell Fine Art

                stoneware wheel thrown bowl
                Stoneware Wheel Thrown Bowl by LG Potter
                 
                cashmere cable knit scarf
                100% Cashmere (Made to Order) Cable Knit Scarf by Fabric of My Mind

                handmade lampwork disc beads
                Lampwork Disc Beads by Two Glassy Ladies

                Please visit the Handmade Artists' Shops while making your online holiday purchases.  And don't forget to visit the Handmade Artists' Forum to sign up and say, "Hello".

                Tuesday, November 13, 2012

                A Reminder...

                Don't forget to enter the November earrings giveaway!


                 Etched Copper Earrings with Sterling Silver Ear Wires


                Monday, November 12, 2012

                Fabulous Gifts: $25 And Under

                Holiday shopping need not bust your budget.  I've found some examples of great handmade presents that are all $25 and under.

                How about this adorable brooch for the cat lover in your family:

                white cat w/ green eyes porcelain pin by StudioByTheForest
                "Winston" White Cat Brooch by Studio By The Forest

                Or a lovely dragonfly print for the nature lover:

                Male Common Whitetail Dragonfly Archival Print by Amber Alexander
                Male Common Whitetail Dragonfly Archival Print by Amber Alexander

                This t-shirt would be great for a stargazer:

                constellation t-shirt by NonfictionTees
                Constellation T-Shirt by Nonfiction Tees

                A handmade journal has almost universal appeal:

                handbound leather journal by TheOrangeWindmill
                 Light Caramel Handbound Leather Journal by The Orange Windmill

                This handmade stoneware dipping plate for bread would be appreciated by a baker or foodie:

                oil dipping dish by Neal Pottery
                Garlic Grater Oil-Dipping Dish For Bread by Neal Pottery

                I love handmade cold process soaps and adore the uniquely scented soaps by Alchemic Muse.  They are prized by all the girlie-girls in my family!

                loukoum handmade spa soap by Alchemic Muse
                Loukoum Handmade Spa Soap by Alchemic Muse

                The knitter might like to receive a skein of hand dyed sock yarn in subtle, neutral colors:



                "Earl Grey" Hand Dyed 2-Ply Merino, Cashmere, Nylon Sock Yarn by Marigold Jen

                Don't forget the furbabies!

                stoneware dog bowl by ArtGirl56
                Stoneware Dog Bowl by Artgirl 56 

                catnip feline fortune cookie toys by Very Vintage
                Organic Catnip Filled Feline Fortune Cookie Toys by Very Vintage


                Kitschy and cutesy, these kawaii cupcake stud earrings will suit the young and young-at-heart.  Because the posts are sterling silver and embedded rather than glued, I think they would be safe for young girls who are already used to wearing earrings.

                cupcake post earrings by A Jillion Pieces
                Cupcake Post Earrings by A Jillion Pieces

                One of the men in your life might like a new keychain:

                leather latitude/longitude keychain by Gunmetal Gems
                Leather Latitude/Longitude Keychain by Gunmetal Gems

                The iPad Mini is going to be one of the hot gifts this season.  Why not buy a handmade cover?  This one is unisex and will suit anyone:

                herringbone iPad Mini cover by Bertie's Closet
                Unisex Herringbone iPad Mini Cover by Bertie's Closet

                A hand painted frame is a thoughtful and appropriate gift for a child's teacher:

                hand painted frame by Acire's

                Hand Painted Frame by Acire's


                I hear so many people say that it's too expensive to "buy handmade" and that it's less expensive to just buy gifts at the big box stores during the Black Friday weekend.  Let's all work hard to dispel that myth by supporting other sellers who make wonderful handmade items!

                Sunday, November 11, 2012

                Window Shop Blog Hop

                Window Shop Blog Hop Badge
                Many thanks to Rita of Toltec Jewels For Jewel School Friends for creating such a great blog hop and Barbara Carlton and Cindy Lichfield McConkey for providing the wonderful prizes.

                My Three Shops:

                Cicada Silver Shop Collage


                Libellula Jewelry on Etsy Collage

                Libellula Jewelry on Big Cartel Collage

                • I'll be offering free shipping on all jewelry purchases to the United States & Canada from Black Friday, November 23rd through Cyber Monday, November 26th.  
                • I always offer free gift wrapping with your choice of all-occasion gift wrap or seasonal, holiday gift wrap.  Please note your choice in the "note to seller" at check out. 
                • I will also be offering other shipping promotions as the season progresses.  I'll keep you informed via my blog and Twitter.  If you're not already a blog or Twitter follower, please consider following.

                 And now, my friend Gale's shop:



                BanteringBird.etsy.com Shop Banner
                Bantering Bird Jewelry Collage


                • Please take advantage of free shipping from November 23rd to the 26th during Etsy's Black Friday/Cyber Monday promotion period
                • Bantering Bird accepts credit cards and Etsy gift certificates
                • All items ship next business day from my shop by USPS First-Class Mail.



                Window Shop Holiday Hop Participants:

                Jewel School Friends (host)

                A Grateful Artist
                You're here:  Libellula Jewelry  Cicada Silver
                and
                Bantering Bird Jewelry (no blog--yet)

                Knot Just Macrame
                 
                Amazing Designs By Marlene
                Antiquity Travelers

                Fabric of My Life
                 
                Spice Box Designs

                Freestyle Elements

                 Alankarshilpa

                Pretty Things

                Lindy's Designs
                 
                The Adventures of Belle West
                http://bellewest925.blogspot.com/ 




                Saturday, November 10, 2012

                Mother Earth Challenge

                ceramic face pendants by Angel Whisperer

                First, I'd like to thank Birgitta Lejonklou of Angel Whisperer and Lejonklou for hosting such an inspiring blog hop.  It's a pleasure to work with her beautiful handmade components while also celebrating Mother Earth.
                I would also like to congratulate Birgitta.  At the time that she created this hop, she was closing in on 500 sales in her handmade supplies/components shop and she is now fast approaching 600!

                When I received my face pendant from Birgitta, I was immediately struck by how much the face made me think of a moon face--but not the "man in the moon".  The face is definitely feminine.  The challenge is to create a piece of jewelry inspired by mother earth but I decided to go in a slightly different direction.

                Our oceans' tides are governed in part by the gravitational pull of our moon and women's menstrual cycles are often compared to the length of the lunar cycle.  So, I would like to ask that everyone indulge me in referring to the moon as Mother Earth's sister.  My work is often influenced by what I've been reading or by music.  In this case, Sting's song Sister Moon was playing in my mind as I made my necklace.

                Sister Moon by Sting
                Image Compilation by Frenz

                Sister Moon Necklace by Libellula Jewelry

                Moon Face Pendant Necklace

                Necklace by Libellula Jewelry

                The colors of the pendant, beads, and silk ribbon make me think of the oceans--the life blood of Mother Earth.

                I think my necklace would have suited Stevie Nicks' style during the height of Fleetwood Mac.

                Stevie Nicks

                Blog Hop Participants:

                 (You're here)  Susan:     http://libellulajewelry.com

                Emma Todd       http://apolymerpenchant.blogspot.se

                Inge Traud     
                http://www.ingetraud.wordpress.com

                 
                Sandra Wollberg  
                http://city-of-brass-stories.blogspot.se


                Cece Courmier   http://
                thebeadingyogini.com

                  
                Margareta Saari    http://
                magsinhelmet.blogspot.se


                Toltec Jewels  
                http://JewelSchoolFriends.com

                 
                Leena             http://
                vikkityyli.blogspot.se