Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I made some green velvet cupcakes last night. I love the way they turned out. Not especially pretty, mind you, but they are GREEN! I sent one with Lil' Kay in his lunch box this morning and half a dozen to day care with Sally. The kids are both wearing their green t-shirts today, and I'm sporting my green sweater. When you've got an Irish last name, you've gotta represent!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Granny a Day Project

I came across this idea on a couple of other blogs (Adaiha and CraftyMinx) and I couldn't resist giving it a shot. My plan is to crochet a granny square everyday for the next year. Chances are it will eventually turn into a granny square every two or three days, but at least I'll be making them. And, there's a good chance that I'll actually make enough to complete an entire blanket.

Every one of my squares is going to be different. I have zero attention span for making the same thing over and over again. Even in my shop, you'll rarely see more than two or three items made from the exact same fabric. I've got to mix it up or I lose interest pretty quickly. The nice thing about the granny squares is that they are small projects, so it doesn't take long to finish each one and feel like I've accomplished something. I'm all about the instant gratification!

When I'm finished, I'll have to attach them all together, and I'm not really looking foward to that, but I'm picturing this fabulous patchwork style blanket where each square is unique and fun to look at on its own. Kind of like my grandma's patchwork quilts. I always loved looking at each individual piece of those to see the varieties of fabric used.

So, wish my luck! These are my first four squares. I have more to show you over the next few days (hopefully, the next year!). I'm on day 10, and still on track!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Times are Changing

For the past three or four years, I have been a proud supporter and promoter of buying and selling handmade on Etsy. Etsy gave me the motivation and means to sell my own creations to the world at large, and I loved it! Unfortunately, the Etsy that I started with is not the same Etsy as it exists today. I no longer feel that Etsy’s goal is to provide a means for small artists and crafters to market their work to a larger marketplace.

Etsy has been making some changes over the past few months that many sellers do not feel are in our best interests. We came to Etsy so that we would have a way of selling our handmade products. We were more than happy to pay our 20 cent listing fees and give Etsy a cut of the final sales price, because we believed in the vision and integrity of the site. We believed that they were truly interested in furthering the cause of handmade and the individual artisan and craftsperson.

Etsy appears to be intent on transforming itself to a social networking site, rather than focusing on ecommerce. I didn’t come to Etsy to join “teams” and create “circles”. I came to Etsy to sell my products. For years, I have watched sellers clamber for tools that will help us grow our businesses. I have seen them beg Etsy to spend money on outside advertising to entice new buyers to our shops. Over and over I have watched as Etsy spent time and resources adding “fluff” to the site, but never really providing sellers with truly useful upgrades. The recent changes do not help me promote my business on Etsy or reach new customers. If anything, they lead people OUT of my shop. I don’t think it’s out of line to suggest that some of the changes border upon the invasion of customers’ privacy.

In light of this, I will be moving the vast majority of my goods to my new shop at ArtFire. I have been won over by the professionalism that I have seen from the owners/founders of ArtFire and the way they respond to their sellers’ questions and suggestions. I am impressed by the seller tools they provide and the effort they make to help sellers sell!

ArtFire isn’t the only handmade venue out there, and I really encourage you to go out and explore the other options! You may find a new place to sell and a new place to buy. Coasting Along, another former Etsian, has taken the time to create a fabulous chart that compares the various handmade venue options that are out there. Look it over and see what works for you. And come visit me over on ArtFire!