Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Working my way through the 45 Day Success Guide-Week Two

Well, I'm working my way through the Artfire 45 Day Success Guide, albeit it's going a lot more slowly than the 45 days. Like many others, my Artfire Studio isn't my only job. I have to fit it into my schedule as time permits. I check in daily-I'm hoping to see that first sale on Artfire-I usually post in the forums, check out facebook when I can and even sneak in a couple of tweets. When do I have time to create? So here's the second weeks goals:
  • Day 8-Listing and Starting your blog. One of the features of Artfire is that your studio has it's own blog tab. I find this a bit redundant for those of us who already have outside blogs such as this one. I have posted a couple of articles, but I'll stick with this as my main blog. The upside is that Google seems to like blogs when it crawls for content. The goal is to post 10 more items and 3 posts in the forums.
  • Day 9-Studio Clean-Up-silly me-I thought this meant the cleaning genie was going to appear at my house and clean up my studio-A prayer answered! funny thing, that's not what Artfire had in mind. Their idea of studio clean-up is to add categories to your studio. Lucky for me I had them already in place. Oh yeah list another 10 items. Well, I'm still working on that.
  • Day 10-Work Day! Yeah a day off to create....or just catch a few extra zzzz's. This is the kind of a day I can enjoy!
  • Day 11-Social Media Set-up Day. Now I know why they gave me that day off yesterday-Artfire want to lull me into believing I was sailing right along. Yea, more like a moth drawn to a flame. Here's todays goals: Set-up a Twitter and Facebook Fan Page. But if that wasn't enough How about 3 tweets and 2 Facebook posts, 3 Forum posts and just for good measure post 5  more items. Hey these people aren't fooling around! Well I may not be the most Social Media savvy person on my block, but I do manage a tweet now and then, and Facebook-I don't like to be too spammy. In fact, The fastest way to have me "unfollow" you is when I see dozens of posts from your shop. 
  • Day 12-Social Media Day Two-What there's more? Actually Artfire recommends an outside blog...like here on Blogger. Well at least I've got that covered.  Maybe I should tweet about it...
  • Day 13-Listing and Interacting-Hey isn't this Social Media Day 3? List 5 more items-Tweet one and feature another on Facebook. Didn't I say something about not being spammed with all those look at this item I listed today posts. Really people, I don't mind looking at all your things, but not all in one day. And make it a bit interesting for me.
  • Day 14-Work Day! thank goodness. I need to take a nap.
Actually, following the 45 Day Success Guide  has done a few good things for me, it keeps me off the streets, out of the bar, neglecting my family, shot my diet all to Hell...no really, I find myself at least trying to maintain a bit of a schedule of working on my studio daily. I just need a bit more time to create and photograph my items-it isn't easy to get natural daylight at 9 pm in Michigan this time of year!

So if you're new to Artfire...How goes your Week? For the rest of you lucky souls, why don't you go check out some of my latest designs. And how about leaving me a link to your Facebook Fan Page or your Twitter Link. I promise-I won't spam you! And for all you lurkers-Hey leave me a comment!

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.  ~Thomas Edison

It's A Handmade World: A Glimpse of Spring

It's A Handmade World: A Glimpse of Spring

If your looking for some spring gifts, or just some inspiration, how about going over to the blog It's a Handmade World. She put together a blog post where artisans with handmade goods can post there items. This weeks theme is spring. It's quite a collection.

No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow.  ~Proverb

Friday, March 18, 2011

Red Winged Blackbird

What's your harbinger of Spring? For some it's a robin, but here in Michigan we get robins that stay all winter. For me it's the first red-winged blackbird that I see.I look forward to seeing the birds and hearing their distinctive call. I got a bit curious about my favorite spring bird and found out some interesting items about him on this entry:

The blackbird has long been associated with omens and mysticism. Its color, alone, has evoked both fear and promise. Although called a blackbird, only the males are black. Females usually have a streaky, brown plumage. Not all blackbirds are black. One variety has a yellow head and throat which stands out strongly against the black plumage. The yellow and black coloring has long been associated with the Archangel Auriel. Auriel is considered the tallest of the angels, with eyes that can see across eternity. This being oversees all of nature and all of the nature spirits. Auriel has traditionally been associated with the summer season.

Another variation of the blackbird is the red-winged blackbird. This bird has a red path on its wings, with a dash of yellow as well. These colors connect this bird to the level know as Binah in the Quabalistic Tree of Life. This is the level associated with the Dark Mother and primal feminine energies. This bird has ties to all of the creative forces of nature. On the Tree of Life, black is the color for Bnah and red is the color for Geburah (Mars type of energy). Yellow or amber is the color of the path that connects the two, and it is the path of Cancer, the mother sign of the zodiac. The red-winged blackbird is thus a totem associated with the stellar energies of Cancer.

Who knew? My astrological sign is Cancer, maybe that's why I like this bird so much. Anyway, I hope you like my harbinger of spring. Do leave a comment and share with me what you consider to be a sure sign of spring. I can't wait to hear what you have to say!

"It's spring fever.  That is what the name of it is.  And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!  ~Mark Twain"
Until later,

Enjoy your day.

Monday, March 7, 2011

It's time for Paczki! Polish jelly filled doughnut recipe

What Mardi Gras. In the Polish tradition of Fat Tuesday, we enjoy eating Paczki or Polish jelly filled doughnuts. The Lenten tradition of fasting called for using up the lard, sugar, eggs and fruit that you had in your home. My Aunt Sophie and grandmother, Babcia, would make these delicious filled doughnuts. Certainly a treat you waited for once a year! This recipe comes from my brothers collection of family recipes. I hope you enjoy it!

1 package dry yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1/3 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
1 whole egg plus 3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups flour
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam

Optional: 1/4 cup white raisins

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs and egg yolks. Add the yeast mixture, vanilla, orange rind and salt. Gradually add flour, and optional raisins, blend until well mixed.Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Cover, and set aside in warm area until the dough has doubled in size. On floured board roll out until about 1/2 inch thick. Cut into circles with a glass or biscuit cutter. Place a spoonful of raspberry jam at the center of each circle, fold in half, pinching closed sealing in the jam. Roll into ball shape. Fry in hot oil (350 degrees) or shortening until golden brown. Transfer to paper towels, to absorb excess oil. When cool, dust lightly with powdered sugar.  Note: for a lighter texture, the filled and formed paczki can be set aside to rise again slightly before frying.

You can also fill the paczki after frying with a cake decorating tipped bag. Try lemon curd, custard, or even prune filling for a change! Whatever filling you choose enjoy these treats today!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Week one on Artfire-working my way through the 45 day Success Guide

So I've survived my first week! Moving and setting up a new studio is a lot of work. There is so much to learn-almost like moving to another country and learning about their customs and language!

One of the helpful guides Artfire has is the 45 day Success Guide.  It's no holds bared, fast paced introduction to getting you studio up and running. I'm trying my best to keep up with m daily tasks.
  • Day 1-Getting rid of your progress bar. when you first register on Artfire, you see a progress bar on top of your screen. You need to set up the basics of your studio. Your bio,policies,payment methods and your avatar and banner-now that's a full day one!
  • Day 2-Time to read up. You've got a lot of guides here-You'll find answers to a lot of questions. Don't be lazy or frustrated. get reading!
  • Day 3-Getting your studio ready. Time to figure out layouts, color schemes and shipping policies. Start listing 5 items.
  • Day 4-Getting the feel. Artfire actually has a "test" buying area. Sometime sellers have have not purchased items-this test area actually has you checkout an item-without having to pay for it. You also list an additional 5 items bringing you studio up to 10 items.
  • Day 5-Getting your front page filled. Since your first page holds 20 items. It's time to fill up your shop. Listing 10 more items is a bit of work-but at leat your first page will be full.
  • Day 6-It's a work day You've been so busy listing and setting up your shop-don't forget to keep reading those guides!- That you probably haven't had the energy or time to be creative! So take a day off-get those creative juices flowing again.
  • Day 7-Introduce yourself. Time to check out the chatterbox forums. You'll find a lot of information and helpful people hanging out here. I like to visit the forums on a regular basis. you'll meet all sorts of people-and soon you'll be chatting away like old friends. Don't forget to check out the promotions area and games when you need a break.
Phew! so much for the first week. No wonder I'm tired.Tomorrow I hope to get a lot more pictures taken. I usually do my photography on the weekends when I can photograph my items in daylight. I've got a lot of items to photograph-that going to take some time.

Hope you're enjoying the "behind the scenes" look at what it takes to set up an online shop. It's more work and more fun that you think it is!

Be sure to leave some comments if you have visited. I'd like to know what's interested you the most.

Until later,

"Just living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower".
Hans Christian Andersen

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Seafoam is Serious Business

My seafoam sea glass bracelet has been featured in a collection on Artfire!

Hope you'll take a look at the collection and leave your comments!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Here's what I've been working on

I've decided to concentrate on my sea glass jewelry in my new studio on Artfire. Here's a peek at a few of my latest creations:

What do you think? I'd really like for some of you to pop over to the new studio and let me know what else you would like to see. I've been concentrating on  taking better pictures and I really think it's been paying off. I'll be sharing some photography tips in my upcoming blogs, so check back again.! How many of you are also on Artfire? Let me know and I'll be sure to pop and and visit your studio.