August 27, 2007

Vote in the PCAGOE August Challenge

PCAGOE's (Polymer Clay Artists of monthly challenge and giveaway is online now! Go to, vote for your favorite and be entered to win one of 2 prize packs values at over $100! Vote between now and midnight(EST) on August 28th!

August 24, 2007

Humblebeads On the Horizon

I'm looking forward to the last weekend before school starts. Moms, you know the joy we look forward to on Monday. Guilt-free working at home while the wee ones are off getting an education.

Other things I'm looking forward to:

1. My dragonfly necklace will be in BeadStyle's Easy Beading Vol. 4. I have projects in Vol.1 &

2. The same necklace will also be on an upcoming episode of Beads, Baubles and Jewels. Yipee!

2. Looking forward to working on some new pendants that feature felted leaves. Pictures to follow soon.

3. Can't wait to start stocking my new fall line and soon holiday items! Pictured above are a few of my favorite items from my etsy shop.

4. Dinner with good friends tomorrow. I'm going to make that zucchini bread that I've been anxious to try - with real butter, yum!

5. To finally get caught up from my vacation, who know it would take me so long to get back into the swing of things.

6. A high temperate of 75, okay I'll be waiting for a while for that one. I'm looking forward for fall!

I was interviewed for the Bead Circle blog, check it out to read a few new facts about humblebeads.

August 21, 2007

More Photo Tips

Practice makes perfect when it comes to improving your photography.

These images were taken by Beverly Herman, aka my mom. These are the before and afters.

All of these pictures were taken with the same camera. She had thought her camera was out-of-date and not able to take adequate photos for her website and etsy shop. She has a Kodak Easy Share LS753 with 5 mega pixels that she has had for about 5 years.

What did she do different?

1. She used the macro lens feature on her camera.

2. She used a desk OTT-lite that has a true color spectrum bulb. (I need one!)

3. She took her photos on her desk on a sheet of white paper.

4. She used the level option on her Photoshop program to adjust the light levels on her image. See Lori Greenberg's article on photographing beads and jewelry for detailed instructions.

She has been working to update her etsy shop with her new photos and I can't even begin to tell you what an amazing difference her new pictures make!

The bracelet on the top features my Branch Cuff Bead in teal and happens to be one of the classes she is teaching on the Bead Cruise.

August 20, 2007

Etsy Bloggers Picture Perfect Carnival

Welcome shutterbugs to the latest edition of the Etsy Bloggers weekly carnival. Our theme this week is Picture Perfect, a collection of photography tips.

Chantelle Finley offers tips on composing our photos with an artistic eye at Sixth & Elm: Photographical Evidence... posted at Sixth & Elm.

Kathy Johnston (Cozy) presents Camera Struggles posted at A Cozy Life. She blogs that learning to photograph your work isn't easy and shares some of her favorite photographers on etsy.

Barbra Sundquist presents MySpace About Me and More posted at MySpace About Me. Use those photos for more than just listing your wares. Barbra says, "Posting your photos at social networking sites like Myspace is an excellent way to promote your designs." She offers the basics of setting up your myspace page.

BeadJewelryShopgirl presents Chiaroscuro – a play on light and shadow posted at Bead Jewelry by Shopgirl. Add a little photographic drama inspired by this lighting technique from the Baroque period.

And finally, read First Impressions on Etsy here at Humblebeads for tips on creating a killer first photo. After all first impressions can be everything when you are selling online. Extra bonus: links to more photo tips than you can shake a stick at!

This concludes our blog carnival for this week, but there is more just around the corner! The next Etsy Blogger Carnival will be hosted by Nora Bella: Handmade Gifts for Babies and Kids. She challenges us to show off our crafty helpers!

Submit your blog article to the next edition of etsybloggers using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Technorati tags: , .

August 19, 2007

First Impressions on Etsy

We've all heard you never get a second chance to make a first impression. When it comes to your etsy shop, your first photo can mean the difference between a sale and a customer clicking away.

Why should you take extra care in the first image that you choose for your etsy listings?

1. It's the first thing customers see when they arrive at your shop. Better photos mean a higher chance of having your item clicked on and that could lead to more sales.

2. If you don't wow them with the first photo, shoppers will hit the back button, not the next photo.

3. It increases your chances of being chosen for treasuries, which is more free advertising for your shop.

So what makes a front-page-treasury-worthy photo?

1. Clear, crisp photos.

2. Avoid any words or graphics added to your first picture.

3. Crop to create an eye-catching photo. If it's a large/long image, like a necklace, it's better if the first photo is a close-up of the focal point rather than the entire necklace.
4. DO NOT have a penny or any other money in the first photo to show the size of your object. If you must do that, save it for one of the other 4 photos. I use a vintage ruler to show the size of my beads.

First photo, ends are cropped for thumbnail. Size comparison photo with the ruler.

5. If you use any props in that first photo, make sure they are in the background and not competing with the item you are selling.

6. Keep the center of your image interesting and avoid empty space when it's cropped. Want to know what your photo is going to look like as a featured/gallery thumbnail? Shrink it down to 155 x 125 pixels.

Here are two links with everything you need to know about improving your product photos:

Photography tips from the EtsyWiki

Parting advice: take way more pictures than you think you need. Use a tripod if you use the macro feature on your camera. Natural light is best, if can take photos outside, avoiding direct sunlight. (I use a sheet of vellum paper to filter out harsh light.)

August 17, 2007

New Additions to the Humblebeads Line

Branch Beads now have their own category on

New beads include cuff beads in teal and golden branches with either 3 or 6-hole designs, $15.00.

Small sets of disk beads, 5 for $10.00. You can choose teal or golden branches or cherry blossoms.

Wafer beads also come in the teal, golden or cherry blossom colors. These are my favorite beads, they have so many possibilities! A set of three for $18.00.

To celebrate the launch of my new beads I'm offering free shipping on orders through Monday. Use discount code M2007.

August 16, 2007

Customer Appreciation #3

Look at what my talented customers have come up with using their new Humblebeads!

This is my favorite pair of earrings, ever. Such a clever design from Ann at Beadifulthings.

I love the color combination that Cindy from Sweet Bead Studio used to compliment the teal, blue and brown combination of this art bead. You can read a little more about Cindy and her designs on her blog.
I love showing off what you've down with your humblebeads. Email me high quality photos of your work along with your website/blog and you could be featured next!

These were all limited edition beads from my Etsy shop.
Still trying to catch up from my vacation! I so need an assistant, and a maid, and a cook, and...okay I'll settle for an extra set of hands and that 25 hour.

August 15, 2007

Happy Campers

For my birthday I asked for one thing, a weekend of camping in the Texas Hill Country. We stayed at Garner State Park, next to the Frio River. This was our first time camping and we enjoyed it so much we are now planning our next trip.

I enjoyed my week away from the computer, although I didn't stay off like I thought I would. I'm an email addict, what I can say. I need help. : ) Nor did I get much done other than hanging out with my girls. With only 2 weeks left of summer vacation, I want to spend a little less time working and more time with them.

Overall my week away made me realize I need to get a life outside of work. I've come up with a schedule to help me organize my time a little better. It's not always easy being the boss and figuring out these things as I go along. I also need to go back to set hours instead of feeling like I should always be working on something. There are only 24 hours in day, I can't work all of them! Finding that balance between creating, working, family and time for myself is not as easy task, but a priority for me now.

This week I'm catching up on orders, getting a few new additions up on my website and I've been makin' wafers to share with you all tomorrow. I just love those wafer beads!

Extra brownie points will be awarded if anyone can recommended good campgrounds/parks in the Texas Hill Country area.

August 6, 2007

Gone Fishin'

Okay, I'm officially going off line Today until August 13th.

What will I do without email or the internet for a whole week?

1. play with my kids
2. clean my studio
3. make some new jewelry, just for me

That's my to-do list. Sounds pretty wonderful. I'm also going to bake zucchini bread, sew some teddy bears with my girls, go to a lake, swim at the local pool. Work in my yard. Make an outdoor room on my porch to enjoy at night. Roast some s'mores. Celebrate my birthday by watching a meteor shower.

Hope you find some time this week to enjoy the little things!

p.s. my humblebeads and etsy shop are still open. Orders will be shipped out when I'm ready to jump back into work on the 13th.

August 5, 2007

Texas-Size Humblebeads Sale!

Here is my last bit of work before my vacation this week!

The Etsy Texas Crafters (ETC) street team is hosting a special promotion today called 1st Monday. It's a monthly event when the ETC team promotes all the talent from our great state. You can see the list of deals from each shop here.

All day I will be posting new work, offering surprise deals and giving away Texas-size free gifts with each purchase. Check back at my etsy shop often throughout the day!

I'm planning on going to New York in September for the ETC Trunk show at the Etsy Labs in Brooklyn! I'll take any excuse to head to NY, it's my favorite big city.

August 4, 2007

Etsy Advice

I'm still here. My vacation will start on Monday. Yoohoo! I want to share with you some questions a fellow bead artist asked me before opening her Etsy shop. I thought you might find it helpful.
About how much time per week are you devoting to Etsy?
About an hour a day. Sometimes more, if I'm being social or researching things in the forums. It only takes a few minutes to upload your listings. (Photographing & fixing photos is a different story!) I spend a few minutes each day in the forums, adding my listings to the promotion threads and checking in with the street teams. It's better to list a few items throughout the day than all at once.

Does it help your sales to belong to the different groups?
Yes, a lot of my sales have come from the street teams and from their promotions.

Does blogging help your sales? (not necessarily Etsy, but . . . )
Blogging helps any online sales. Relevant blogging to your target market is the key. Commenting on blogs is just as important as posting on your own.

Do loose beads sell better than jewelry or is it pretty equal?
I list mostly beads, but I have been surprised by the amount of jewelry that has sold including some of my more expensive bracelets.

Who did your banner & avatar? (I did notice that a few Etsy sellers offer)
I do all my own graphic design work. There are some great designers on etsy who will do it for you for a song.

What size do you make your photos?
On it has a section on photo tips. I do mine at either 860 or 430 pixels wide.

And does the appearance of your shop affect your sales? (your opinion)
Yes, I would study some of the top shops and see what makes them stand out. You really have to make your store artsy to attract customers. There is a big difference in ebay and etsy photos. Again, just looking around will give you a good idea.

And when you mentioned aggressive marketing, what did you mean? Can you give me some details?
I spend about a 1/3 of my day marketing online and off. I participate in message board groups, flickr, myspace, other social networking sites, blogging, creative challenges, my email list, and yahoo groups.

I’m getting a sense that the Etsy members really make the bigger part of the sales. In other words, they seem to support each others’ businesses.
Etsy really is a community, but there are a lot of buyers who don't sell. It's a fun place to shop. Look around at the Treasuries, time machine and shopping by color. It's just fun!

Hope that helps. Look around, ask questions, do some research and then jump in. Competition is tough and you need to have a plan if you are going to stand out.

August 3, 2007

Time Out!

One of the draw backs of owning your own business is taking time off. When you are in charge of design, production, marketing and accounting it's hard to let yourself take a day off. I haven't had a day off since I came home from the Bead Cruise. Even while fighting a nasty infection a few weeks ago, I plugged along working 1/2 days.

With only a few weeks left of summer, I have decided to take a radical step and take a week off. I'm going to enjoy spending time with my girls, cleaning up and organizing the studio and exploring a few projects for myself that I keep putting aside. I need time to reflect and recharge.

I'm going to turn off this computer for the week. It may kill me, but I'm determined to take a much needed break.

It's also my birthday next week, so now is a good time to take a step back and decide where I want to go and how to best spend my time getting there.

Feeling burnt out too? Here are a few resources to help you get back on track.

*Declare an Artist Retreat Day at home.

*How to survive creative burnout.

*Download the artist's survival kit from Keri Smith.

*Inspire me Thrusday, for a quick creative kick in the pants.

August 2, 2007

Customer Appreciation

Time for more jewelry from my talented customers!
My auntie Rosanne whipped up this example of my sundry bracelet design using a set of Van Gogh Disk Beads. She used matte seed beads and bali silver for spacers. Swarozski crystal and faceted 6 mm lapis, amber chips, lapis chips and yellow and bronze pearls were also used. Perfect for a summer evening.

Tara from Sadie and Leo paired these sweet Pink Cherry Blossom Disk Beads with a fresh mix of silver and icy seed beads. Couldn't you just see this with white capris and a pink tank?

Do you have a high quality photo of jewelry you created using some of your favorite Humblebeads? Email me the link or photos, I'd love to feature you and your shop or blog here!

Check out the etsy shop for clearance specials and a free shipping offer.