Thursday, June 30, 2011

Buyers Paradise - Maiden Jane

I met Jane on Twitter, I think because we're both living in the Cleveland Area. I haven't met her physically yet, but we do hang out at some of the same places. She lives in my favorite shopping and beach town.

Speaking of beach *and I think she loves the Lake Erie shores as much as I do* you can get the most amazing things for enjoying the heck out of your trip to the Lake, Ocean, Bay or Gulf on her Etsy shop MaidenJane.

My absolute favorite is Her wonderfully HUGE Oversized Beach Bag. It is not only big enough to hold everything you could possibly want, it also has an outside pocket, inside pockets and a clip. She thought of everything. Maybe because she's spent almost as many years beachcombing as I have.

Just look at What Twillypop can hold in hers. You can read more about how much Sara loves her bag at Twillypop's Place.

Jane also makes super fun  Shell Seeker Totes and her new Beach Glass Drawstring Totes, and because she is such a sweetie, she is offering This Beach Glass Tote as a Giveaway. Details on how you can win at the end of this Post.

Aside from her love of the Beach, Jane also offers a way you can take  your old favorite T-Shirts out of the closet and into the light with either a Quilt T-Shirt kit you can stitch up yourself or you can get a Custom made Quilt like this one.

Jane stitches up all kinds of wonderful headbands, totes, bags, coffee sack rugs and other goodies for you and your home. She has a wonderful selection of fabrics and does not mind a challenge.

If you would like to win the Beach Glass Tote shown above, Please stop in and post your favorite item from her shop in your comments. Get an extra entry for posting a link to her shop on Facebook or Twitter. Make sure to leave your post link in comments. Last day to enter Giveaway is July 14, winner to be announced July 15th.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What Evah! - Someone Tweeted "Dental Floss"

Kris with little sis Poppy
My DS is annoying, however I still love him and want him to have the surgery he needs and then get back to North Dakota so I only have to see/hear from him when he needs to know how to cook something or has a tummy ache. I'm sure he thinks I'm annoying too.

Someone Tweeted the words "dental floss" and It brought back memories of his childhood. I have to start with his birth - I'll try to be brief.

When I was pregnant, I knew something was wrong, so when Kris was born, I wasn't surprised. I told my DH too. He knew I was pretty good at predictions. The hospital staff were a little shocked at how well we took everything. Kris was a blue baby, very serious heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot. Meaning his heart was basically deformed in many areas. His was pretty severe, and he needed a temporary fix at 3 days. He did well.

Things looked good and the docs said he would probably need open heart correction at 5. He went in for an evaluation at 14 months. The results? He needed surgery soon. I was thinking maybe in 3 years. It didn't really sink in. They said they'd like to set up surgery in the next 2 weeks. My heart stopped beating.

Although the 6 hours in surgery were the worse 6 hours of my life, it all went well. They did what they could in the 6 hours allotted for the heart lung pump and he would last for about 15 to 20 years more with luck.

After that Kris developed normally. Still many problems but his height was normal, often Tet kids are stunted, but not Kris. He was pretty active too, but was he ever skinny. Guess that's why he did so well. He was also odd in that he only liked to eat veggies, grains or a bit of healthy protein, no sweets or fats. He would still rather have a Pizza than a Birthday cake and that's what I had to make him every year.

Of course he was teased by the neighborhood kids for being such a twig. One day one of them said "you're as skinny as a toothpick", and another said "that's too big, he's more like dental floss" and so the name stuck. For the rest of the time we lived in that neighbor hood, all the kids called Kris dental floss. When I first heard it I had to LMAO. It really was kind of clever and if you saw just how thin he was you might agree.

Kris had a second open heart surgery at 19 to replace 2 valves and open his pulmonary artery, and for the first time in his life, he had a nice solid "normal" heartbeat. Of course there was the metallic click of an artificial valve, but it was a nice normal rhythm. Now the vales are leaking and he needs a little more correction. He will need little fixes for the rest of his life.

We've almost reached our goal to get Kris to Cleveland Clinic in July. Thank you all so much. If you would like to find out more. You can HERE and BTW, he is not as skinny as dental floss these days :)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Life on Mars - A Quiet Week

I am so unbelievably late with this post, mainly because I felt that there was nothing so unusual this week to write about. Sliding across the linoleum floor on a plastic pencil box lid and doing the splits, ending with a pulled hamstring and double groin pull. Ouch, but not unusual for me, because I am a class A klutz.

The zombie kitty (long story - skin ailment) came in our house and stared at the food and water bowl for 2 hours and then he disappeared. I found him on the kitchen counter eating our last stick of butter. He doesn't live with us anymore so it was all quite a surprise. Our cats do NOT jump on the kitchen counters. 

After complaining for nearly 6 months about her toothache and how her DH spent money going to the dentist to get his teeth fixed and she is in so much pain and he won't spend the money to get her teeth fixed, MIL finally went to the dentist. There was nothing wrong with her teeth. And I had to listen to that for 6 months.

We did find out that the Next door neighbor who knocked Poppy's DH off his chair and verbally attacked him because he was listening to Brittany Spears in his own yard, was given a choice of 180 days or $1000 fine. Guess that's why he threatened to sue her DH for calling the police. (Can you sue someone you attacked for calling the police on you?)

And the 7yr old showed the neighbor kids the magic set he got at the thrift store for $3. One of them liked it so much he paid $11 for it. 7 yr old tried to get $20 first. 

But there was nothing so eventful this week and I sure hope the neighbors don't read this blog.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Biz Buzz - Christmas in July

Well it's almost my favorite time of the year (not) Time to pull out the Red, White and Green rugs, Jewelry, Table Covers and promote, promote, promote, all things winter that no one really gives a damn about this time of year. That's not entirely True, the Southern Hemisphere is experiencing Winter now (you know Australia etc) and I'm SURE they need to be reminded.

I am talking about the worse marketing scheme EVAH - Christmas in July. There is a long history of Christmas in July starting in 1892, but I won't go into it, you can read about it on Wikipedia.

Christmas in July conjures up images of Santa on the Beach, catching waves with his elves, and the Mrs. Reading her Romance novel.

I hear that Christmas in July is enjoyed in New Zealand, because they don't get to celebrate Christmas in the Snow, like we do. Whopee.

Not that I don't want to think about snow or have a tall cool drink while I'm at the beach, but I really don't want to sit there, wearing a Red and Green striped bathing suit and Snow Man earrings, because people are just going to think I'm Freddy Krueger in Drag.

Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas in December, but seriously, do you think that many people want to spend the whole month of July sitting by the TV watching what QVC has to offer in the way of "Holiday Previews"? Summer is for Fun in the Sun!

I know all the seller sites are promoting "Christmas in July" but can't we be a little more creative and original? Maybe there is a reason that sales are down in July and way up in December - NO ONE WANTS CHRISTMAS IN JULY!!!!!

Come on all you wonderfully creative people. How about Summer Sizzle, or Hot Deals - Cool Creations. You think of something better...PLEASE... and post it in the comments. Maybe we can start a Handmade Revolution. NO MORE CHRISTMAS IN JULY.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Buyers Paradise - Desert Rubble

My favorite shop today is Desert Rubble. Lynn is wonderfully creative and sells only on Artfire. I just love her work. I'm a big fan of Steampunk and this is the most unique take on Steampunk I have seen.

The gears, leather, screws an other pieces and parts are made almost entirely of polymer clay. I just love her mechanical bugs like this Steampunk Bee.

There are so many great items in this shop, mostly neck charms, but look at the great wine glass charms too.

Don't you just  love the Fairy door above. With Fantastic items like these, no wonder she has so many sales. What imagination and Detail.

I have a particular fondness for eyes and this one is just great.

Much of her work reminds me of those Great 90's Post Apocalyptic Flicks like Mad Max or Waterworld where living things need to be altered to survive.

You have to stop in to Desert Rubble, and take a look at the fantastic selection.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What Evah! - Ticket to Cleveland

If you know me, and some of you do. You know that my son needs surgery. He doesn't look so bad, but inside he's a wreck. He needs a valve repaired/replaced and the Cleveland Clinic is ready to go. He just needs to get there (or rather here) from North Dakota.

It turns out that collecting miles is very complicated. It would take at least 50,000 miles round trip, they can only be collected in lots of 1000 and someone has to pay $15 for each lot of 1000 miles donated. That actually ends up costing more than the flight so unless someone has enough miles for the whole flight and can buy him a ticket outright, not really worth it.

Flights are not too expensive, but it is more than we have to spare right now. If any of my friends can donate any little amount, even $1 my son, Poppy and her boys would appreciate it more than you can know.

Our goal includes a bit extra for travel and food expenses in Cleveland, but if we can't get that, we can use whatever we can get.  Please click on the Donate right over there -----> for more no obligation information. There is a little bit of a blurb about his history.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Life on Mars - A Series of Unfortunate Events

I didn't feel like writing yesterday. Just a little Blue or Unmotivated. I guess it all started a few years ago. Maybe in Texas. They say bad luck comes in 7 year stretches so I hope it's almost over.

I took a job in Texas as a lighting designer. Lets just say that the money was so good that I reached exempt for social security payments. But the owners were Mercurial and I knew I would soon be a passing fancy. My time came just as I was building my dream home, in a live oak woods, with a kitchen island and whirlpool tub overlooking the beautiful back yard. I had to walk away from that one. Unemployment in Texas was pathetic so I lived off my down-payment while job hunting.

I found a job in NY the same day my new Grandson was born, the same day as the Major power outage on the East Coast. What kind of sign was that? The owner told me he was going to do something not quite legit to save him some money, and I agreed to keep quiet. Bad Karma, I should have known better. After a few years with a maniac of a boss, there was a serious explosion between us and I was looking for work again.

I found work consulting, but it wasn't enough to make the payments so I had to sell my house. I didn't make much with all I owed and had to declare bankruptcy as well. By By good credit.

Poppy and her boyfriend bought an old house in a bad neighborhood, because it was cheap, but with my consultant income, her income, and his job, we could afford. Then the market crashed. I lost my consulting job and He lost his job.  I owed back taxes from the Retirement I had to cash in to live, and the IRS wiped out the last of my savings and my bank account was closed. Poppy was still earning, but things got really tight. Then her appendix burst.

I took the lousy Utica hospital 8 hours before they operated on her. Her lung collapsed in surgery and she almost died. Took a bit of recovery, pneumonia, but was feeling better after a month.

By this time almost everything in the old house went. We had no hot water tank and we were boiling water and using Camp shower bags to wash. The boiler went so we were heating the house with space heaters and the fireplace. Then Poppy put paper plates in the fireplace. They blew up the stack and caught the creosote on fire. That was the end of that house. With a condemned fireplace and no central heat, the city condemned the house and we were forced to abandon it. We loaded a truck with what we could fit and moved back to Cleveland in a teeny cottage owned by relatives.

It was OK. We had to leave a lot behind, but it was so much cheaper that we were OK. Then we got kicked off of Etsy, our main income. It has been really tough for us. We have no car and our income had dropped by half. We have no public transportation to even get to a job if we wanted to. We're trying.

Last week we were in fear of having our power shut off. But that worked out. We are taking a wee bit of public assistance, but that's what I payed so much taxes for in the past. And now my son needs surgery and I don't have the cash to get him here. I'm sure that will work out too.

I know the cursed period is coming to an end soon, but after working so hard for so many years, it's hard to see the sun behind the clouds. I know it's there though. And I have faith that we will all be in a better place financially soon. Just wish those damn arrogant cashiers wouldn't give me dirty looks when I have to use my food card.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

What's Cooking? - The Trick to the Stick - Sticky Rice

I just discovered the secret to making sticky rice (I use it for sushi) and I've been dying to share it with you.
Sticky rice is used in Asian cultures because 1. Rice is healthy, cheap, and actually has protein as well as carbs, and 2. Sticky Rice is easier to handle for eating with hands or chopsticks.

We are such a cook and serve it up fast society, that I never, ever imagined what my problem could be, making sticky rice. I'd buy the packaged short grained, glutenous, sticky rice, cook it and no sticky. I've been cooking rice for years, and I swear I know how to cook rice. I was wrong.

Did you know that you have to SOAK rice for hours to make it sticky? You can actually make ANY rice sticky by soaking it. You don't have to buy fancy sticky rice. Soaking makes the Gluten come to the surface of the rice, so when you cook it, it sticks together.

You can boil or steam with the same sticky result. Just take your rice, preferably short grained, with the proportions of 1 cup rice to 1 1/2 cup water. Soak for 3 hours to overnight. REALLY

This is how I cook, so easy. I put the rice in a pot and add the water. Soak for 3 hours. Do not add salt or any oils. Bring to a Boil then remove from heat. Cover and let stand until all the water is absorbed.

So easy And indeed yummy. In China, a bowl of rice is served as a stand alone accompaniment to the meal. Food is rarely slathered over or mixed in. Fried Rice, with bits of meat and vegetables is a cheap meal, served in factories and low income homes. Kind of a budget stretcher, like pasta or soup. Quick to make, and puts good use to leftovers.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Biz Buzz - Big fish in a Little Sea or Little Fish in a Big Sea

There is a new seller site that opened this week. It's called Groove Press and not that anyone is selling there yet, but for some reason I really liked the vibe so I am setting up a shop there.

Since I have opened the shop, I have been on the front page constantly, because there are so few sellers. I have sold on eBay, Etsy, Artfire and the bomb (not in a good way) site Zibbet, and I have never received so much attention. Although my Etsy Treasuries and Artfire Collections have been on the Front Page, and I have been in the Etsy Finds and Artfire Collection of the Day, I still have not had the constant exposure that I am having on Groove Press.

Of course no one knows about Groove Press yet, so no one is really buying from them. But there was a time when no one knew about Etsy either. I just have a gut feeling about this site. I think they are moving in the right direction.

Groove Press is not fully functional yet either, there are quite a few little glitches so I've had to write them every day to help point out some of the problems. Their customer service at this time, is fantastic. they auto respond immediately and I get a real response within the day. Of course they don't have a lot of people to respond to right now.

So because I have been trying to help them with little things they might have overlooked, they have promised to make me a featured seller soon. So here is my question, is it better to be a Big Fish in a Little Sea, getting a lot of exposure on a little noticed site, or be a Little Fish in a Big Sea like Etsy or eBay and get very little to no Front Page time and be almost invisible?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Putting it Together - Getting DS Home for Surgery

I know, I'm supposed to be telling you how to make things on Friday. But I just had to share my good news.

As some of you know my 30+ year old son needs heart surgery urgently. There's been debate on how soon, and there has been a battle with the Government to get SS disability. He is and he will not be able to work full time for the rest of his life.

Background:  Kris was born with a very serious congenital heart defect. Several small procedures and 2 open heart surgeries later, he has been able to live far beyond what was predicted, thanks to the miracle working team at the Cleveland Clinic

Unfortunately replacement Valves only last 10 to 20 years, and the ones he has are leaking.

Here's the good news. He has surgery scheduled for Mid July.

We do need to get my son From North Dakota to Cleveland and we can't afford it. He is trying to work on a free flight service that it is a string of puddle jumpers who volunteer their time and fuel. It would be nicer if we can collect miles so he can take a real flight and save those nice people their time and money.

If you have any miles, or know anyone who is willing to donate, please contact me HERE Please use subject Air Miles, so you email doesn't get thrown out with all the spam I get. Thank you much and Thank you for forwarding this post for us.

XOXO Cinders

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Buyers Paradise - Pesky Cat Designs

When I first set eyes on a sweet little bird on a branch applique on a bag like this Messenger Bag, it was instant LOVE.

I've been an admirer of Pesky Cat Designs at Etsy, for quite some time. And recently we have become acquainted on Twitter.

Elisa makes the sweetest bags Like this Leaf Patterned Purse.

She makes the loveliest Harris Tweed, Faux Leather and Cotton Ticking Bags.

Just look at the Quality inside these Bags. Wow.

What a Fantastic selection of Purses, Messengers, Wristlets, Cross Body Satchels and Totes she has in her Etsy Shop. But My absolute favorite will always be the Bird on the Branch.

You just have to stop by Pesky Cat Designs and tell her Cinders Sent you.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sharing Time - Ever Have One of These Buyers?

So I gave you the opportunity to be a guest blogger and no one volunteered so You get to here from me again. If you would like me to shut up for at least ONE day of the week, you can be my Guest Blogger. Find out More by clicking the Guest Blogger Tab or by clicking HERE

Now for my two cents. On Monday I shared a nightmare of a Buyer story. I'm sure many of you have had worse, because I have too. Today I'm sharing the other kind,not the buyer from HELL, but the buyer from the OTHER place. I received this message yesterday, from a buyer who a gave a little break in pricing to.

Hi Cinders

Just wanted to let you know I received the apron and it is great! You did a wonderful job making it. It is going to be given to my son by the 8 year old son of his fiance for Father's day. My son and his fiance are going to be married in August and after that my son is going to adopt her son. The proposal was during a Star Wars game and her son was in on the plan, so the Star Wars theme is PERFECT. Thanks for taking our Best Offer because he wanted to be able to afford to buy it!

The apron is awesome, thanks again!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

What Evah! - Tweeting with Deepak

This should probably be in Life on Mars, but I just couldn't wait till next week.

Sometimes My Big Mouth gets me a little Further that I ever expect it to. Like yesterday, when I started this little RT comment on Deepak Chopra's Tweet. This is a copy of Twitter Feed from TweetDeck so you have to read from the bottom up.

Just my average snarky comment, but it was from my heart. I seriously believe that we should try, even if we can't do. 

I didn't realize at the time that he was borrowing from the Yoda "Do or Do not. There is no try." Until Poppy and the boys told me. But that was a little different as Yoda's was to a direct action, not a philosophy.

Well anyhow, another lively conversation that made my morning a little more interesting.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Life on Mars - Ever have one of THOSE buyers?

Listing Image
Ever have one of those customers. You're not the only one. I will not mention the site this was sold on  or the customers name, just some excerpts of the communication.

This is the listing description.

"This listing is for a Fantastic Apron made with Vintage Rainbow Brite poly cottonFabric. I gave her lovely ruffled skirting with RED lace ruffle trim the top is lined with white twill and the Red grosgrain ribbon waist and Neck ties are left long for adjustment to your size (If it is too long for you simply cut and lightly singe with a lighter) This measures approximately 11” wide at the waist and 27” long. It does not wrap around.

This will be limited edition however print placement may vary from piece to piece

One Size fits S M L Contact me for XL XXL listing

come from a nonsmoking but NOT petfree environment!
Vintage fabrics will have some character or wear."

Here is - well not the first communication, but first after her receipt.

Apron sent to Customer
Hi, I just received the apron, but was very disappointed. In the picture you have in the listing, the colors are very bright and vivid and the fabric of the apron that I received is extremely faded. I understand that it is vintage, however, I would never have bought it if I knew the fabric was that faded. I can barely see the print, and it certainly does not look as it does in the picture. I would like a refund or to exchange it for one that is as bright as the one you have pictured.
Please contact me asap.

The Apron to the left is the Apron sold and with very slight wear. Certainly not so faded that you can barely see the print (not the greatest picture either, poor lighting). I pointed out the item description, that the fabric may have some Character or Wear and that I do not use extremely faded fabric. 

I also do not refund unless items do not match description (covers buyer if I accidentally send out the wrong item, I'm not perfect) and her Apron definitely did match the description. I did not have to refund, but I honestly felt bad that she was so upset, and I offered her a refund. Even after I offered her the refund she threatened legal action?????

I am very sorry you are disappointed. I have sold literally hundreds of these with no complaints. Please read my feedback. The listing is very clear, I do not think it needs to be changed. Vintage fabric can have some wear, as described in the listing. I do not refund, but I will make an exception if there is no damage to the Apron After I receive it. For your own protection, I recommend that you get tracking for your package when shipping. As you are new to this site I also recommend that you read descriptions thoroughly before purchasing.

As for legal action, that is a very immature and rediculous threat as there is no legal action you can take against me for selling merchandise that is exactly as described. You couldn't take legal action against me even if it wasn't as described. Empty threats do absolutely nothing to make you appear a reasonable buyer.

And her reply to my offer of a Refund?

Do not continue to insult me in your messages. Calling me names is certainly not something you do as a respectable person. As for what you wrotr in your listing, im beginning to suspectyou intentionally wrote it in a way that would mislead a buyer. Adjectives like "character" and "wear" do not prepare someone to recieve something that is extremely faded. If you had written that the fabric would be faded, I definitely would not have even bid on it. I will ship it back to you only after you agree to a refund, although i have serious doubts about whther you can be trusted as you have already misled me once. Your numerous sales mean nothing to me. I only care about this transaction. I paid for it promptly and you sent me an apron that is extremely faded. Based on what you have done and your subsequent emails i definitely have grounds for legal action. I hope it doesnt have to go to that point. I dont appreciate being duped by you and am giving you the chance to do the right thing and make amends. Clearly you have an excellent command of english, so why weren't you more clear in your description.

Do you not know the difference between right and wrong?
Please do the right thing and refund my money and do not dupe anyone rlse who may buy this item. I dont like or want anything else you arw selling, thus there is nothing to exchange. The only thing i would be willing to exchange for is another rainbow brite apron that is as vivid and bright as the one you have pictured in your listing--which is what i thought i was going to receive in the first place. Did you digitally enhance the picture? Why isnt the apron you sent me as bright? This is why i say you item listing and description were deceptive and misleading. 

Well I didn't have a picture of her Apron on the listing, because they are CUSTOM MADE WHEN PURCHASED. And Saying a threat is immature is not exactly saying she is.

There were many more conversation than I have posted. All this because of Slightly, and I mean Slightly worn fabric. It got worse. I received her merchandise, refunded her and  kept professional through the whole thing even though I really was tempted, you know. I also let her know that she would not be able to purchase from again. Even after she received a full refund she left negative feedback. I guess was rude because I said that her threats were ridiculous and I wouldn't sell to her. Go Figure. Well Maybe I was ;)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

What's Cooking? - Panaché

When I spent the Summer in Provence at the Lacoste School of the Arts. There was but one Cafe in the tiny town. Usually during the hot summer days, the people would set out under the umbrellas on the Patio overlooking the Luberon Valley. The neighborhood dogs sat in front of the bar. Quite a sight.

The drink of choice in that part of the world, on a hot summer day was a cool refreshing Panaché (pan-uh-shay). I have tried to reproduce it here, with really poor results until just recently. In France, they use French style lemonade, like Lorina. If you can't find it, you can make a lovely one with a real lemonade like Minute Maid. Do not try it with lemonade mix or lemon lime soda. I've tried it and it is not the same.


Chilled French Style Lemonade or Real Lemonade
Chilled Lager Style Beer

Fill glass with Equal Portions of each, no ice. Enjoy!

It is a little odd at first, but after a few, you will be wanting it every time it gets hot out. So refreshing! Cheers or should I say à votre santé

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Biz Buzz - Still Reeling from Heartsy

If you really put a small value upon yourself, rest assured that the world will not raise your price.

~Author Unknown

Last weeks Post about Groupon like sites for Handmade really had some Lively Conversations on and off Blog. If you missed it, take a look at Your Breaking my Heartsy.

Funny thing, after that post I got asked to participate in another Groupon Type site that gives 30% to 60% off. After I declined nicely, and forwarded my post, the manager said that he understands and that it was exactly what he was trying to work against with his new site. How does that work again???

Well one really wonderful thing came of my post. I found this wonderful Article, on a wonderful Blog - Oh My Handmade Goodness, about a sellers experience with Heartsy and how it compared it to other advertising projects. My Experience Being Featured on Heartsy

I also found out about a wonderful new site called Worthsy through this post Post on Pricing Talent.

Worthsy is an Experiment that dares to pose the question, How Much is Handmade Worth? Read more about how it got started HERE.

We are not the only ones who want the World to know the true value of Handmade.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Putting it Together - My Favorite Adhesive

When I was in my first serious Design class at the Cleveland Institute of Art, I was warned by the instructor that if I built something it had better be constructed well. My first project was a hat that I constructed out of sheet acrylic, a hat with windows.

That acrylic was not easy to work with. Cutting was fine, but gluing it together was a nightmare. I tried EVERYTHING. Superglue (cyanoacrylate), silicone caulk, epoxy - any and everything that could glue acrylic.

 I finally had it assembled. It was decorative, so there were small pieces as well as the larger structure. I was proud, but concerned, with good reason. As I walked up to make my presentation, smaller pieces started falling of. The larger structure held, but it was pretty much a disaster. At least is wasn't as much of a disaster as the student that squeezed toothpaste all over a motorcycle helmet for his project.

Oh if Only I knew about E6000 back then. Since I have graduated I have been a product designer. I have actually attended several seminars on various adhesives, their composition and their abilities. It wasn't until I started crafting again, until I found E6000.

If you haven't tried E6000, you don't know what you're missing. For crafting, it is the greatest stuff. It can take up to 3 days to dry completely, but when it does, WOW. It adheres to almost anything, metal bales to metal bezel cups? No Problem!

Read the reviews at Epinions for E6000 if you don't believe me. This stuff is beyond great!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Buyers Paradise - seventytwostitches

I love so many sellers and each Thursday, with their permission I am going to feature one of my favorite shops on Buyers Paradise.

This weeks shop is seventytwostitches on Etsy.

I love seventytwostitches because the work is not only adorable, but fresh and original. Like sumi-e painting, expression and charm with just a few strokes of the crochet hook. Just look at this super cute Flower Pot.

There are so many wonderful things I would love to share with you, but there is not enough room here. You've got to go look for your self.

Just look at these Cute Crocheted Toys for Pets, Babies, Kids and Even Adults. Check out the Food! Breakfast, Burgers and Apple Slices.

I love so many of the Animals I could not possibly choose my favorite. I do really love this Penguin though. And you have to see the Elephants!

Lovingly Hand crocheted with Wool you will find toys, baby rattles, pet chewies and huggable little friends.

Stop by and Visit my friend if you just want to put a smile on your face. Take one home if you want the smile to last forever.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Cinders' Got a Brand New Bag

I love this new Purse I made, or more like a Sac à main. It is HUGE and so very me. It's slouchy, and so Provençal. It makes me want to buy a pair of espadrilles and sit down with a tall panaché.

I wanted a new purse, something that no one else had, and uniquely me. I'm so tired of all the bags in the stores, no personality and their price is so ridiculous. I found this Fabulous Fabric at my local WalMart. Very reasonable and stain resistant light upholstery fabric. I had the perfect coordinating striped fabric lying around the house.

It took me over a month to decide the shape of my bag. I looked at everything out there and patterns too. I wanted a big bag with lots of pockets, but a rectangular tote wasn't quite right. I liked the rounded look, but I wanted big, something I could carry everything I had and small shopping items too.

So without a pattern and with a dream I started cutting. I made a few mistakes, but mostly they turned out to be happy accidents.

My bag has 4 large outside pockets a spacious inside with a nice sized inside pocket. I have enough left to make a matching make up bag too. J'adore. I think I want to sleep with it.

All I need is to find a snap closure and I'm good to go. I'll be filling her soon. I hope she stays around for a good long time.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Update - Life without Etsy

Well it happened again, another shop suspended. Etsy did one of their sneak attacks Friday at the end of the Day and suspended the shop of a seller, without any warning. This is a seller whose sole income is that of her Etsy shop. These are the cruel people you work under and support. Etsy shuts down shops on Friday at the end of the day, because no one is there on the weekend to answer your emails or calls. I know because it happened to me.

Type in my old address and this is what you get

So how is life without Etsy? I just had to compile my finances for the past 5 months. I was on Etsy in January, sales very good, then I was booted off on February 11th. It was very hard for me to look at that month. While I was trying to negotiate with Etsy, and trying to figure out what to do, I had NO sales for 2 weeks. I was misty eyed as I filled out the financial statements.

Then in March when I decided to get back on the horse and fight, I started making sales again. I really love Artfire, and my shops had sales, but the traffic is still not as good as Etsy. Although I didn't want to, I went back to eBay too. I spent weeks trying to figure out my niche there. I made some sales, but it was 1/4 of what I made in January.

April got a little better, some Artfire Sales and a new Product on eBay that was selling. Still not as much as I was making last year on Etsy.

May, now there was a month. But mostly it was due to hours of blogging work and exposure from a blogged item. Now if only I can get more people to blog my work, life could be rosy. My sales in May were actually higher than my Sales at Etsy last year. But we will see how that goes when I'm not freshly blogged.

By the way, I am selling my Genre Aprons and Clutches. My Jewelry suffered terribly and I was just getting off the ground with it on Etsy. Very disheartening, as it was to My daughter Poppy when she got her shops shut down too.

So even though it was a struggle, there is life without Etsy. If you ever get yourself into the same predicament, please feel free to contact me HERE and I'll help you get through it.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Garlic Dill Refrigerator Pickles

I am trying to reduce sodium so I make a lot of my own foods. I make bread with very little sodium, I make barbecue sauce out of no sodium ketchup, and I make fresh refrigerator pickles.  I cut and pack my own jalapeños by filling a jar with sliced jalapeños and half vinegar, half boiling water. They last at least 6 months that way.

If you get good pickling cukes, these Garlic Dill pickles will not last that long. Not because they aren't prepared to last, but because they are so good you won't be able to stop eating them. The last half gallon batch I made lasted a little over one week. And they are healthy, so go ahead and enjoy.

You will need a Half Gallon Glass or crockery Jar. You can get the fancy latching lid kind, but I just reuse an old pickle jar from the store. We eat a lot of mild pepper rings in our house.

Garlic Dill Refrigerator Pickles

10-12 pickling cucumber
6 cloves garlic peeled
1 small onion halved and thin sliced
2 Tablespoons Dry Dill Weed
1 Tablespoon Coriander Seed
1/4 cup sugar
Cider Vinegar
Boiling Water
Optional - 2 Teaspoons Chili Powder

Wash your jar and lid. If you use a dishwasher, take out while still hot. If washing by hand, rinse with boiling hot water.

Wash the cucumbers well. You will not be boiling these so you should make sure they are clean.

Slice cucumbers, I use a mandolin so the slices are uniform thickness, but you can easily do by hand. Mix with sliced onions and garlic cloves, and place all in the warm jar. Add dill, coriander and if you like them spicy, chili powder.

Pour Vinegar over the cucumber packed jar up to 1/3 full. Mix 1/4 cup sugar with 1 cup boiling water until dissolved. Pour the hot syrup over the cucumber mix. Fill the jar with boiling water, making sure cucumbers are covered. Put the lid on very tightly and turn the jar over a few times to mix the liquids and spices.
Refrigerate. I leave sit for at least 24 hours, 48 is better. But sometimes we can't wait.

I've had them in the refrigerator for several months and they are still fresh, but usually they don't last that long.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

You're Breaking my Heartsy - Why Discounters Ruin sales for Everyone

First I'd like to point out some figures for you. Here is how to calculate your percentage of Profit. Take your bottom line earnings (gross) from last year, that is your sales minus expenses.  Now divide that by your total sales before expenses . Take that number and multiply by 100. That is you percentage of profit.

Looks like this Gross/Sales x 100 = ?

My profit percentage is 54.96%. If I give a discount of roughly 50 percent, I am giving my work away for free. If I were to give a discount of 60% or more, I am paying my buyer to take my work. I love my buyers, but I don't love them that much.

Now lets take a really good look at what Groupon sites like Heartsy do for us all. I am not selling on Etsy right now, but Heartsy is affecting my sales too, the same way discounters like WalMart affect higher priced Department Stores. Lets take a closer look.

The economy is bad, budgets don't allow the average person the free cash to purchase little pleasures. So when the average buyer sees a discount that is what they will use. You want something pretty? why pay full price? you want soap? why pay full price? Is your merchandise that different from another seller's that if given the choice, they will buy yours over one at a 60% discount? I don't really think so.

So what does this mean to me? (royal me, meaning you). It means that by contributing to Heartsy, by offering your merchandise at a lower, discounted price, you are getting lots of traffic from people who want handmade  at below profit prices, and who are not really supporting Handmade. Because if anyone really supports it they will pay a fair price.

You are also devaluing your fellow artisans Handmade Work (just like when your neighbor sells their house for $20,000 less than the rest of the houses in the neighborhood), because if buyers can get it cheaper, why can't your site-mates sell it cheaper too?

There is absolutely NOTHING right with Heartsy. Calculate your profit. If you sold on Heartsy, were you giving away your product for free? So you complain about China product underselling yours? because you just did that to yourself and others at your site and all handmade sites.

I know it's tempting to use Heartsy, but I BEG you to avoid the temptation. There is ABSOLUTELY NO BENEFIT TO ANYONE but Heartsy, who makes money off of their VIP program or $1 off each of your items if you don't agree to the VIP discount.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

$30 at akaCINDERS Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Birdhouse Books who is the winner of the $30 Gift Certificate for akaCINDERS.

I also want to thank all my New and Old friends who have made this month of Giveaways so much fun.

Stop by Sunday for my Garlic Dill Refrigerator Pickle recipe and Saturday I will Post the Reasons I think discount sites like Heartsy devalue all of the Hard work all of we Artists and Craftspeople have been doing.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Smurf Geek Bag Winner

The May Giveaway is Over and I am taking a day or 2 off for a well deserved rest. I will be back soon to comment on why a discount site like Heartsy is very bad for every indie art or craft seller.

The winner of the Smurf Geek Bag is Autumnkitty.

Comd Back tomorrow to find out who one the $30 gift certificate.
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