Saturday, November 1, 2014

Upcoming Fairs I am selling at this year

This year I have decided/accepted in 4 Holiday faires, and to host 2 open house parties.

I am excited, scared, nervous, worried, frantic, optimistic at the same time pessimistic but all of this rolled up into - I CAN DO THIS.

Here is this upcoming schedule - I look forward to seeing folks, stopping by and buying something - And if you say you saw this on my blog you can get 15% off your purchase. 

We look forward to seeing you at these fine Holiday Faire events.





Holiday Sip and Shop
Hosted by: Savannah-Chanelle Winery
Friday - November 7th 2014, from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm
RSVP requested  - Katie@savannahchanelle.com
23600 Congress Springs Road
Saratoga, CA 95070

http://www.savannahchanelle.com/sip-shop/



Casa de Amigos Holiday Craft Boutique
Hosted by: Casa De Amigos COA
Saturday - November 8th 2014, from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm
Casa de Amigos Mobile Home Park - 1085 Tasman Drive
Main Community Center
Sunnyvale CA 94089
Main Club House Map



Open House - Feast or Famine
Hosted by: Vampkitty Designs
Sunday - November 23rd 2014, from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm
RSVP requested - vampkittydesigns@vampkitty.com
1085 Tasman Drive, Space 859 (N Street)
Sunnyvale California 94089
Please park in one of the many parking lots in the park



HOLIDAY BOUTIQUE!
Hosted by: Girl Scouts of Northern California, Coyote Hills Service Unit
Saturday - November 29th 2014, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm
Fremont/Niles Veterans Hall
37154 Second St.

Fremont, CA 94536



Holiday Craft Faire
Hosted by: The Santa Clara City Library Foundation and Friends
Saturday - December 6th 2014, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Santa Clara City Library (Rooms Redwood and Margie Edinger)
2635 Homestead Rd  
Santa Clara, CA


Open House - Last minute goodies
Hosted by: Vampkitty Designs
Sunday - December 14th 2014, from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm
RSVP requested - vampkittydesigns@vampkitty.com
1085 Tasman Drive, Space 859 (N Street)
Sunnyvale California 94089
Please park in one of the many parking lots in the park



Monday, August 4, 2014

Completely off topic - sorta - Following one's passion - A story of a Young Lady and her dream



It hasn't been until recently, like in the last three years, that I strongly believed that we must follow our passions in life, both personal (a given) and career. Doing something without passion for it, really destroys happiness


I've been following piece by piece my own passion of becoming a known Artist, crafts-person, as well as at some point want to open up an Institute to preserve and teach historical bead, paper, sewing craft techniques. Focusing on low to middle income folks who want to get into a trade.


I've known the Williams family since 1997. I have watched Elizabeth (Bear as she was called in the earlier years) grow up to be one very amazing person (thanks to her parents Cat Williams and Matt K Kringle Williams and her sibling, JA, Amber, Joil, Bryin, Cartwright).

Elizabeth has always had a passion for caring for animals, and a gentleness that I have only seen in a few folks when it comes to all animals. It her life goal to be a Veterinarian.


I know my daughter Chrystiana Lynn wanted to do that, and it is NOT cheap. I also know how long and hard road to achieve. Elizabeth has a lot of hurdles, Sciences, Math, Medical school, all ahead of her to achieve this goal. But, like her parents - she is a feisty, tenacious, determined young lady.

The Williams have always been a generous family, opening their doors to strangers, adopting an entire set of siblings who lost both their mother and father in a short period of time (They were exchange students), helping others out when they lost everything with Katrina, the list goes on. They believe, like I do, in pay forward and it shall return when you most need it.

Last few years - the Williams have experienced a serious life changing set of events, including Matt's heart attack. Both Matt and Cat are working towards their degrees themselves, making another great positive contribution to society with what they plan on doing with their degrees. But the money is extremely tight with them. And because they had no insurance = they are still paying off Matt's medical bills.

Now; why am I writing this


Thanks to the twinkiness of the government, Elizabeth's funding for her college education took a significant south turn. This has jeopardized her starting this fall and being able to even continue.

If some clown can get 55k for wanting to make potato salad, all because of social media passing around, and the link went viral, I figured why not see if we can get this to go viral!


I know there are those who will help contribute to something far more reaching, far more important, strangers out there who believe the same - Pay forward and this definitely is something that Pays forward.


Help us Help Elizabeth fulfill her dreams.
Please share (https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/elizabeth-veterinarian-to-be)


Thank you

Ronni Eloff

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Reality Shock --- what happens when you realize you just don't have enough made

Though it was a good one to have, still a shock.  It all started because I needed to clean up my tags on my listings on Etsy.  Right now I have 172 items active up in VampkittyDesigns and you know I have been very proud of getting that many posted.  I still have a lot of necklace sets to take pictures of but managed to get the majority of all the earrings I had made up on the store.  But thinking of adding 1 new tag to 172 listings, well I wasn't thrilled.

Did a bit of research, downloaded the free trial version and fell in love with BEtsi.  This new tool is the BOMB to help me with my listings on Etsy.  I found it not only adds Tags in bulk, I could clean up, re-organize, find my misspelled tags, and standardized on verbiage used in tags.  And I did that in less than 3 hours.

I haven't tried the other parts of the tool yet, but suffice to say, this just saved me hundreds of hours.  Anyway back to my reason for the posting.  One of the features it has is to tally up quickly your stock and how much inventory do you have up in the Store, the fees (Etsy and Paypal) and net worth.

That was the shell shock.  Only $6,000+ dollars of merchandise is up in the store.  That is NOT going to work... not at all.

So it is scramble to make more and get the remaining necklace set backlog cataloged, pictured and posted.

Tomorrow is picture day for about 30 pairs of earrings and 20 necklace sets... Tidbits of what is to come below (taken with my phone camera)





Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Nice to be featured for a change

I do a lot of Etsy treasuries (some posted here for example) and sometimes the group remembers to include me.  But it is really a nice surprise when someone I don't know at all includes something of my work in their Treasury, like today - Etsy Treasury - Join Team Vintage USA


I never had considered my designs Vintage, but looking over some of them, I can see how they could be considered Vintage.  - It was a nice feeling to see this, this morning.

Speaking of Treasuries - it is Tuesday, meaning my weekly SRAJD Etsy Treasury.  This one was a bit of a challenge, since I wanted to do something that hadn't been done in a long time.  Looking over the SRAJD Treasuries Pinterest Board, I realized a very basic combo hasn't been done in a LONG while.

SO -- here's SRAJD Tuesday Treasury - Black -n- White


These are all amazing designs.  Very inspiring that is for sure.

Speaking of designs - SRAJD has a lovely contest each month - themed designs.  I am working on two pieces for this months' design.  But the competition so far is TOUGH.  This is just this month so far for entries.  I have an idea for June 23rd Angkor wat, Cambodia and one for June 30th Marble Caves, Chile. I will post later today on both these ideas and sorta a working journal on how to become inspired - but in the mean time these are the two pictures that are inspiring me for these two weeks.

For Marble Caves, Chile (Picture Credit: Jorge Leon Cabello)


For Angkor wat, Cambodia (Picture Credit: Sam Garza)

Hopefully these two pictures will help guide me to what I want to do.  I have most of the components for the first one.  Today I am looking for the components for the second picture.  Either Agate or Carnelian for the Orange, Aventurine or lampwork green for the other main color.  I have the temple pieces in antique bronze.  It should prove interesting.  More in my next blog entry.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

SRAJD - Tuesday Treasury 5-20

Etsy Treasuries are fun.  I think I enjoy just looking through all the beautifully handmade designs, be it jewelry, lampwork, metalwork, papercraft, sewing, you name it.  If it is handmade, and pleasing, I like making treasuries around them.

With that, being the Captain of an Etsy Street Team (SRAJD Etsy Street Team) we as a group make all kinds of Treasuries to promote the brand, the individual artists and themes.

I do Tuesday Treasuries each week.

This weeks' theme is:


 SRAJD Tuesday Treasury - Dads and Grads
Dads & Grads

Check out our other SRAJD Treasuries.  We have a lot of wonderful artists/designers.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

SRAJD Tuesday Treasury for May 13th

I love making Etsy Treasuries.  They are fun, easy to make and just cool to look at.  I also like looking at others.

I manage the SRAJD Etsy Treasury process which has turned into quite the business.  It is going to be a bit of a challenge by I would love to see us move from 30-40 Treasuries a month to 400 Treasuries a month in a year.


With that I started Tuesday Treasury to get people in the swing of doing a treasury once a week and posting it for the group.

Here's today's  Shiny, Sparkly and Polished

I have another lady who has gotten very creative in how she gets the team to participate in Treasuries.  She picks a theme and then having members of the SRAJD team pick from their store something to match the theme.

One of Shanons' very pretty treasuries.  May is for Emeralds


Anyway check out our other SRAJD Treasuries on Etsy.  Or if you like in our  Pinterest Board 


Ronni SRAJD Etsy Street Team Captain
#3748

Friday, May 9, 2014

The craft that bounces about

My muse bounces between two craft worlds, Beading and Paper.

I'm trying to mix them but beaded paper craft is tricky and paper beads are interesting...but..

However, I took a huge leap forward in my paper craft tonight I think.  This time I made a multi-fold, multi-cut, Mothers Day card for my Mother-in-law.  My husband thinks I outdid myself.  I actually am tickled pink it came out as good as it did.



The outside was a bit tricky.  I did a box fold so the shutters slightly closed but not completely.  Learning how to do the Martha Steward box punches was a bit of a challenge. The butterflies were a ball to make.  I LOVE MY CUTTLEBUG.  I had the husband help pick out the papers and color.  I glittered the butterflies with this off whitelilac stardust.



The first inside layer is another box fold, matching the punch patter on the front.  I love how the smaller butterfly fit nicely on the butterfly paper I used to make the big blue one on the front cover.  I still haven't really gotten into ribbon mostly it just doesn't feel right.



I didn't have a die for the fence so I made my own paper cutting, then did this brush stroke to create a slight dark grain on it.  I could have used heavier stock for the fence but still it would have had a harder time doing the folds.  I  wanted flowers popping out from behind the fence, so the fence is raised and I tucked Mulberry flowers of spring colors with sparkly gems to make it pop.  Added a few smaller butterflies with the smallest die.



This is the back of the first layer fold that covers the garden. My husband always likes to write his own sentiments in his own hand writing on the cards we give to his folks.  This time I gave him a lot more space to write.  I tied the top into the piece by doing a flower boarder on the same background paper I used for the garden.  I wish I had seen this paper before when I made the fence, it would have been a better choice but again, I love how it all worked out.

So that is My Mother-in-Law's Card.

I'm working on my Mom's next (yes I am late but I had two custom card orders that I needed to do first.)






Saturday, April 5, 2014

Preface to Upcoming Blog Series on Network and Craft Artists (Jewelry Designers and Card Makers)

First let me open by saying I'm still learning about all the wonderful tools and ideas the internet continues to bring forth daily. I do not claim to be an expert on this subject but just a student of continued learning.  So not matter how much I know, there is someone who might and does know more than me on the subject.  

But – I have a very unique perspective not a lot of folks do not have on the subject of Computer Social networking.  

I’m a dino in this space, old school and I am female, which for a long time, was a novelty in this virtual space at one time. 

First of all, contrary to the marketroids - Social networking is not new.  

Think about conventions, business cards, social gatherings, exchanging phone numbers, workouts – long before the internet was around.  Social networking is just the ability to connect to someone of like mind and exchange ideas, thoughts, processes or activities. 

For more, see -  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_network .

Computer Social networking specifically has been around since the early 80s with Bulletin boards UseNet, Textual Mu*s  with  people sharing ideas, thoughts and interacting through computers in rooms, newsfeeds and real time multi-user systems. These systems provided the ability to meet and interact with new people, who in turn shared new ideas, thoughts and activities and expanded to meet other new people.

This upcoming series will explore the different Computer social networks and how to utilize them for the Jewelry / Beaded craft designer; the strengths, weaknesses as well as tips and tricks how to utilize these in unison without saturating and overloading your potential connections.

Before you have a sale – you need to connect, and connecting is what Social networking is all about.   But not all social networks work the same, or have the same outcomes with the connections. 


This weeks pretty SRJD Treasury from Etsy



PS. My lovely Daughter is bringing into the world today my granddaughter Lily.  I'm so excited.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Pricing Designs - my two cents about components

On a Facebook group page there is a discussion about pricing (one of many discussions that are going on the different bead groups I belong to) that made me stop and decide to step out of the line of how or what to price what you make.

My last comment sums up stepping out of line

"One thing I strongly believe in is - price your items how you feel about them and are comfortable with. At the end of the day you're the one that needs to be able to look your customer in the eye and feel good about the sale and feel like your worth is important. Everyone here has different way in pricing, some use similar methods. But at the end of the day, if someone walks up to me and wants my piece and can only afford $20.00 and I feel this is who needs to have my piece, I will sell it to them for that. My pieces are my babies. I want them to go to a home that is going to take care of them, appreciate them and admire them. I want them to make the person feel special when they wear the design."


The next comment someone slams the lady for not using higher quality stuff and trying to sell it as higher price.  That is when I decided to really step out of the line and start this blog entry as well.

My comment response about the use of glass - mainly to support the original poster, her prices and comments about using what she had;

"I do agree with you 110% -- for example this necklace below; the most expensive parts are the vermeil beads and the clasp. EVERYTHING else was $2.00 or less. Including the very odd find center bead.  I didn't even have a price on this piece when I put it out at a show and a lady came by - said 'I will give you $200 for this'. I DROPPED MY JAW... She loved it. It was so different and so unusual to her she wanted it. Had I priced it the way I normally would, it would have been maybe $60.00. 

Costs of beads sometimes does play into the piece but doesn't mean lower quality beads distract from the pieces or should make the piece lower in cost automatically. 

I love glass beads. I love working with Firepolish, pressed glass, even wonky Indian glass (which is slightly heavier than most glass beads). The trick is to make it where someone loves it and wants it - no matter what the materials are."



The one thing I have learned is never judge a design by its material list.  I have made some down right impressive pieces that sold for a lot more than expected, because of the design, not the individual components.  I learned a long time ago, rebuilding jewelry from garage sales, GoodWill, Kmart, you can turn the most dullest, ugliest, cheapass components into amazing pieces if you just look at them as something that can be beautiful.

Another example - this was a fun contest, the Ugly bead contest.  You entered and a bead or three would be sent to you that you needed to design around.  



The honking blob of pearl was the ugly bead.  I actually like the bead.  Here's vintage silver-plated filigree beads, with glass pearls.  

Another one of my favorites is bargain bin diving - clearances especially Firemountain Gems. Here's an example of a design that actually prompted me to go find more coin Lapis with heavy matrix.  Again, cost wise - Pewter clasp, Pewter rondelles, fire polish rondelles, bargain bin Lapis coins probably Grade C- or even D by color and it is full of matrix- all very low.  But I saw something that was cool with them and made something cool with them.  And I sold it along with making two more like it and selling them.




Things I have learned when buying components like this;  

Buy at least two strands (especially bargain bin) three if you can afford it.  Sometimes it takes two strands to get enough non-chipped pieces to complete a design.  Don't be afraid to try bargain bin gemstones.

Invest in a small rock tumbler.  A not quite smooth set of stones become amazing just with a quick tumble and the right grit and polish in a tumbler.  Matte turns into shiny.  Shiny always looks cool.

Garage sales - never hesitate to look, find and snag.  Chain especially is always cool to help augment a design.  For example - this piece was fun to make.  I can't recall who bought it (bad me) but it sold over 9 years ago.  The center piece was a bunch of chain that I clamped together.



EBAY can become your very best friend for finding stash - older vintage pieces and stuff that if you like to create - you can go really out there with some designs from some of the stash you pick up.  People are always downgrading, leaving the field, getting rid of stuff they don't think they will use in their designs, pieces, broken necklaces, old stuff.  - Every so often I buy a box of these and see what I can make from it, to push my envelop on design.  

Invest where you can - when you can.  There are a ton of buy groups, co-ops, small groups of beaders who area pooling their resources to buy at whole sale or better prices.  - Facebook has a few, Etsy teams have a few, Yahoo groups have a few.  I'm not going to list them but if you do searches with keywords - wholesale, group buys, co-ops you will find them.  

Don't be intimidate to buy what you don't like, want or use.
I have seen some amazing and beautiful work with Steel, copper, brass, bronze, silver plated, gold plated, aluminum etc.  You don't have to put Swarovski crystals into your designs if you prefer the softer more gentle cuts of fire polish.  You don't need to use Sterling silver if you happen to like the look of Gunmetal, or gasp a really awesome looking bead that happens to be plated over plastic.


BE HONEST - when you list your materials list if you're selling on line.  But don't make it the priority to call out as the top way to describe your designs.

Lastly I leave you with a piece that is completely and utterly designed with nothing but beads I found in garage/thrift/ebay. (Very old piece)








Monday, March 10, 2014

Milestone Marker - 150 listed on Etsy!

Wooohoo, I just passed 150 listing of items on my Etsy store.  Picture below is my 150th item YA!



Mind you this has been a very long and drawn out process that I need to blog about.

Several years ago I opened up my Etsy store.  I have been making jewelry, beaded accessories, rosaries, etc., for a long time.  I've been selling also for a very long time what I make.  

I prefer to do custom work, given that it really becomes a One of a Kind piece for the person, but to get traffic you have to make stock.  And I did/do.

That, is where the problem starts.

For every item you want to sell, you need to take a few pictures of it, document what the materials you made it from, create some blurb about it and post.

I decided 1/2 way through this process to standardized on keywords, additional information text and style of presentation.

I just recently decided to add in my SRAJD Number to the descriptions and a picture with the pieces.

Etsy doesn't have the ability to do html in the body of the descriptions.  This is frustrating.  Links don't work in the body, so if you make a matching bracelet or earrings and want to sell them separate from the necklace - the URL will not become a hotlink.  I like using tags, and pretty fonts and formatting to make my descriptions pop, similar to what is on Ebay.

Instead of breaking their page into smaller sections, especially for those of us that crash using Firefox (another beef of mine - great browsers gone bad), if you need to change a picture, or add a new keyword - there isn't a good way.  You have to go through all of it to change something small.  

Keywords and Components you can't edit, you have to remove and re-add.

Worse of all, there isn't a template so I can have a 'more info' and expand the section to show the rest of my standard verbiage in the description.

It takes me about 20-30 minutes per item to post.  I try very hard to catch mistakes, such as formatting or upper case/lower case issues, but it is so cumbersome to do.

Not sure if going back to hosting it off my own website, where I can do library, templates, java scripting and other widgets.


**************************************

Anyway,  I entered a weekly challenge with one of my latest designs. 


I had a ball making this piece.  It is up on the Etsy store (with matching bracelet and earrings).  The design is called Hopscotch, though I am not sure why - it was what it wanted to be called.

Tomorrow is more picture taking, more posting, but I am starting to see the end of the backlog of already made stock.  I need to figure out next set of steps to get more traffic to Etsy, to the block, and to my FB page for Vampkitty Designs.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Different ideas - Looking for something

Lately, I have been looking for something to push my envelop of my jewelry designs.  

My Awareness bracelet for Heart Awareness while pretty didn't push any boundaries. 


 Nor did the Blue Medicine Feathers design push my designing abilities.

I really want to figure out what I can do to push my designing abilities.  I am not sure it is materials, style, color, what, but I feel I am okay in the place I am and people are buying my designs, but there is this desire to create something of a WOW factor.  

Where to start?  I don't want to add yet another expensive aspect to my creations by learning metal clay or lampwork right now.  I plan on it when I have a big enough space/studio to do such.  

The below piece was an experiment in pushing boundaries by using these what I thought originally were ugly beads (Mother of pearl shavings with purple dye overtones).  However with the Amethyst and Copper, the design really turned out well.


I have these ides where I move away from the symmetry I do now to something off center, slightly daring, but when I sit down at my workbench, the beads want to be uniformed, elegant, organized.   I've fiddled with a few custom lampwork pieces I have that are not balanced, but I can't seem to find the voice I have with the beads when I follow the normal path.

I just really want to create WOW pieces.