Sunday, November 7, 2010

Catchy Title Here

I'm tired.  It's been a week or so since I've blogged.  A lot has gone on in that time.  I started a new job, and I am... still trying to cope with that.  My creativity has suffered, as I was pretty sure that it would.  It's always seemed that working a J-O-B really puts a damper on the creative juices for me.  I was on a roll, creating new work and getting items posted all over the internet.  I was going full speed ahead with getting serious about getting the Studio off the ground as a real business attempt.  Since I started working, I haven't accomplished much of anything else and that's depressing. 

I've also had quite a bit of difficulty with my schoolwork over the past week and that's been a downer. 

Yeah, things are kinda rough right now.  It's just been bad timing I guess for a job to start, school to suck, and all the momentum I had to come to a grinding halt at the same time. 

On an up note, before I did start the job, I was in a flurry of creativity.  I created several new bookmarks and I'm very, very happy with how they turned out.  I've been questioning the intelligence of continuing to create paper goods.  Quite frankly, I haven't sold any of them since I started getting into making them a couple of years ago.  This is the first time I've really advertised them, so things will pick up eventually.  I sure do like making my cards and bookmarks, but if they don't start selling I guess maybe I should hold off on making any more.  My necklaces, dreamcatchers, and horses have sold well over the years, but not the paper goods - I'm not sure why.  I've read how people sometimes question if they should make what they want or make what sells.  For me, my cards and bookmarks are the things that I classify as wanting to make - even though they aren't selling.

Tomorrow is Monday and many people don't like that day.  I guess I'm strange because I generally like Mondays.  For me it's a fresh start to a new week.  I really hope next week will be better, because this one was pretty crummy.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Playing Around

Well I really liked the looks of the Facebook "Like Box" that I had up here, but it doesn't seem to be working anymore, so I've removed it.  Maybe I'll try it again later and see if they've fixed whatever the problem is...  In the meantime, while exploring ArtFire, I found that they offer a Mini thing like Etsy - only it comes complete with its own shopping cart!  So, if I'm understanding it correctly, someone could buy an item from me right here in the sidebar.  That's an interesting idea. 

The wind is STILL blowing, so I'm still holed up inside, listing items and doing more and more research on the whole online marketing game.  I've got some supplies laid out to make a few bookmarks.  I've decided I want to make multiples of some of my favorite designs.  That way I can have more than just the one in stock.  When I make bookmarks, I tend to make every single one of them different.  I've never made the same one over and over.  Although now I'm thinking it might be worth it to build a small inventory of certain designs.

That's about it for today.  Not too much going on, except in my head, where creative ideas still flow at a mile a minute!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

We're Not in Kansas Anymore

Today is our third straight day of high winds.  I'm waiting for the house to be swept away at any moment and go swirling off to Oz.  I haven't been able to get much of anything done outside of the house, so I've been busy listing items for sale.  I'm slowly working on a plan for the three craft sites that I belong to, as far as what to list where.  I think I've got a plan figured out.

I took more pictures yesterday of a batch of bookmarks I'd missed.  I also took pictures of my new original Nail Necklace designs and used the pictures to design a large avatar picture for my Nail Necklace Facebook fan page.

Here is the avatar pic I put together (complete with sneak peak of the new necklaces!) :

This is the link to the Nail Necklace FB page if you'd like to check it out:

Nail Necklace on Facebook

I was contacted tonight through my Nail Necklace online store about designing a cross for a special cause.  I hate to be so secretive (like I kinda was about the Spanish Mustang resin horse a couple days ago!) but I'm not even sure myself what the details are on this yet either.  I've been invitied to call the gal tomorrow to discuss it.  I'm looking forward to talking with her.  From what I've learned so far, this is a very worthy cause and I'd love to work on a piece for it.  As before, I'll reveal more details as I know them myself.

For now I'm going to get back to listing some things as I listen to the wind roar outside.  I wonder when it's going to let up??

Monday, October 25, 2010

Inside Day

Today looks like it's going to be a good inside day.  Right now it's in the upper 40's outside and it's raining, with high winds.  I think winter is trying to get started.  A bit colder and we'd be having our first blizzard.  I've heard that we may have our first snow this week.  I don't really mind, I like snow and I had missed it terribly when I lived in the deserts of Arizona and California for 7 years.  I only saw snow once in all that time and that was rough for a girl who grew up in the Colorado Rockies and had fond memories of snowy winters.  Christmas with palm trees and sand just didn't quite work for me.

Yesterday we had a good trip up into the hills.  I picked a couple handfuls of wild rosehips and some wild rose leaves in pretty fall colors.  They are being pressed now, along with some Birch leaves in brillian red colors that I've picked from our Birch tree out back.  I already have some neat ideas for the rose leaves.

I think today is a good day to buckle down and get to listing things.  I'm still chomping at the bit to start on some new work, particularly to work on some horses, but I really do need to get everything that is finished listed up for sale first.  I have my Etsy shop, as well as a store at Artfire and a store at a new craft and vintage saes site called Efreeme.  My Etsy shop has about 30 items in it now, but Artfire and Efreeme only have a couple of things.  Today will be a good day to stay in and get those shops populated.

I guess I'd better get to it! 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Horse Archery and Exciting News!

Yesterday my husband and I went to a Horse Archery Clinic. 

Here's a picture of me taking a shot.  Photo taken by Lucia Roda, the hostess for the event:

I wasn't able to take my horses as I'd originally planned, but we still had a fantastic time.  This was my third Horse Archery clinic.  I was extremely excited when the teacher of the clinics, announced that he would like to have a bow building clinic in the near future.  He was asking if anyone would be interested and I was almost jumping up and down.  I want my own bow and arrows so badly and I have always, ALWAYS wanted to learn how to make a Plains tribe bow.  

Other exciting news from yesterday...  In the past I have mentioned my desire to create an original resin horse to benefit the preservation of Spanish Mustangs.  This cause is very near to my heart as I own one of these rare, incredible horses.  Well, yesterday I was told by someone involved in the preservation of these horses that they would like me to make a resin horse for their project!  I will reveal more details as I know them, but I know right now that it will be modeled after a gorgeous dun Spanish Mustang stallion.  It will be the size of a Traditional Breyer - approximately 9 inches tall.  Once a pose has been decided on and I have some reference pictures, I'll get busy sculpting! 

I'm very excited! 

Today my husband and I are going up into the Black Hills to do some exploring via Jeep and our hiking shoes.  It looks like it's going to be a beautiful day for it. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Endless Promotion Activities

Yesterday I worked on the Studio site for a little while.  I added text to all of the pages, pictures will come next.  I've been procrastinating working on pictures for the site because it will be a bit of an involved project - resizing all of the pictures just so and then writing the code for all of them.  A bit more to it than uploading pics here, or on Etsy or Facebook. 

Speaking of Facebook, I worked on the Facebook Fan Page for the Studio yesterday as well.  I created it several months ago but it hasn't been published yet.  That time is drawing near.  I'd like to publish that page and start inviting people this weekend.  I've had a Fan page for Nail Necklace up and running for a little while as well and have gotten sales from it even though it's pretty much on autopilot.  I need to start inviting more people and posting from that page too.

Today is going to be a bit of a strange day.  I want to work on promotion and so on some more, but I also need to get ready for tomorrow.  Tomorrow we are loading up the horses and going to a Mounted Archery clinic.  Yes, that's shooting a bow and arrows off of a horse!  This will be my third clinic and I'm looking forward to it.  I have a handful of things that I should do today to get ready for it.  And for good measure, I have a school assignment due in my new class. 

It's gonna be a busy day, I guess I'd better get started!

(Oh, and in other news - I had another sale at Etsy late last night!  That was a nice surprise right before bed.)   :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Harvest Theme Bookmarks

Well, I finally had a chance to do the Harvest themed bookmarks that I'd had in mine for the Harvest Creative Challenge since it started. Trouble is, I didn't get them posted up last night so they weren't in time to be included. Ah well, they were fun to make anyway!

Here they are (with a link to each Etsy listing below the picture):

I really, really like how the first one turned out - the puppy playing in the leaves.  That one took the longest to plan out and to actually create.  When I finished it, I thought it was so cool and so cute that I almost didn't want to sell it!  But I did list it at Etsy this morning (with a little higher price than the others) so we'll see!  I think it is really cute and it's probably the most involved bookmark I've done - as far as planning and incorporating several different elements. 

My husband has had the idea for me to do high resolution color copies of some of my bookmark designs.  He says that I could then print out as many as I wanted, over and over.  I kind of like the idea, but I'm not sure.  I do like making handmade, one-of-a-kind designs.  Although in the case of some, like the Autumn Fun puppy design above, I'm tempted.  The supplies I used to make that one are things that I bought a long, long time ago.  I don't have the supplies left to make another one.  It is truly a one-of-a-kind.  I think that makes it special, but I also like it enough to consider making copies of it.  I'm just not sure...  I may consider doing prints of certain designs in the future, just to see how they turn out.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Back in the Groove

I'm hard at work listing more new items at Etsy. I'm also planning to list more items in some other places - like my online store, facebook, and the two other online shops I've joined. I have an Artfire store now as well as one at a new site called efreeme. I really like some of the options that Artfire has for their listings.

Today is also the last day to submit pieces for the Harvest Creative Challenge from Etsy. With finals and the overall super hectic weekend, I slid off track with my plans for that. Yesterday was spent decompressing after the stress of the weekend and I didn't get much done other than tinkering with some new nail necklace designs.

Luckily I still have today to get some more items finished for the Challenge. I'm going to put together some paper goods items for it today - bookmarks and/or cards. I may do a dreamcatcher as well. I have plenty of earthy/harvest colors in my dreamcatcher supply stash.

I've also felt the bug nibbling - and now chomping - on me to work on some custom horses. They have been listed in my banners and on my pages as something that I make, but I haven't worked on any of them in a while. I don't know how much longer I can hold out! (haha)

It feels good to be back in the groove!

Monday, October 18, 2010

New Designs!

I've had the idea rattling around in my head for a week or so... Why don't I start playing around with some horseshoe nails and see if I can come up with some new necklace designs? The Disciple's Cross design has been very popular over the years. Lately though, I've been toying around with the idea to make some brand new, original pendant designs - still using the horseshoe nails and colored wire as a base. I think those materials are so cool together - and apparently so do a lot of other people! *wink*

Anyway, I'm pleased to report that between last night and this morning, I've created not one, not two, but THREE original horseshoe nail necklace designs! I'm very pleased with how they have turned out - and I'm not done yet. I've got ideas for possibly two or three more and who knows what else might come to mind. I'm not sure what the next step is. I'm thinking I may make a few of each in different colors and see if there is any interest in them.

We created the Nail Necklace site to sell the Disciple's Cross design, but now I think Nail Necklace will become its own product line!

I'm very excited!! :)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Coming up for Air

I'm so disappointed... I was on a ROLL with posting here in my Studio blog. I had a post each day of this week, until yesterday. The reason for that was that this is Finals weekend for my college courses. Yesterday I was buried in a sea of papers for a huge Accounting project.

It was not a good day.

I had thought today was going to be much the same. I imagined myself struggling all day to put that mess together AND write a paper for my other class - both projects being due at midnight tonight!!

However, luckily I was able to knock the Accounting project into submission - with a bit of help and encouragement from the husband. I just posted the monster assignment to my classroom 15 minutes ago. I'm now on a self-prescribed BREAK before I get back at it and begin writing a 1,500 word paper.

As daunting as that may sound, I'm not too worried about it. In fact, I'm looking forward to it. The class is on something that has long been a personal interest of mine: Nutrition. I've done so much of my own studies on the topic over the years that I could probably write the paper on my own, without having to do any research.

I'm looking forward to writing the paper because it is supposed to be a personal nutrition and exercise plan - which is something I've wanted to do on my own for a while now. I eat fairly healthy and I'm in decent shape, but I've been wanting to improve on both of those things. So what may be an "arduous final project" for others, should be fun for me.

Anyway, I missed a day of blogging and that's a bummer. After I get this paper done I'll have some room to breathe. LOTS of room to breathe. I'm looking forward to getting back to crafting!!

For now, I've got a paper to write!

Then I'll return you to your regular Horse Tender Studio broadcasts. *wink*

Friday, October 15, 2010

First Etsy Sale - A Special One

Yesterday I had my first sale from my Etsy shop, which was also a custom order. A woman sent me a message on Etsy, asking if I could make a custom cross necklace for her. It was to be given to a dear friend who's mother had passed away from cancer. I told her that I would be honored to make this cross for her.

My Granddad was the only "dad" I ever knew. He was, bar none, the most influential person in my life. We lost him in 2004 to a very aggressive brain cancer. No one in the family had ever suffered from cancer before. It only took 6 months from diagnosis until he was gone, and that was with brain surgery to remove as much of it as they could.

I still miss him greatly.

I made the memorial cross last night and will be sending it out to her today. This was a very special project for me to do and I really hope that she, and her friend, like it.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

My First Items for the Creative Challenge

I completed my first two items for the Harvest Creative Challenge at Etsy. They are both the cross necklaces that I make - one in orange metallic, the other in brown metallic.

Here they are!:

I plan to make a few other things for the Challenge. I was very happy when digging through supplies yesterday to find my stash of designer papers - with autumn themes! I also found my laminator in storage (which I hadn't seen in a while) so I'm feeling some harvest-themed bookmarks coming on!

While photographing the new crosses I also took a hundred or so new pictures of other finished pieces, so we know what that means... Another photo formatting party, yaaay! (haha)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lovely Fall Day and Studio Pics

This morning when we woke up it was only 34 degrees. Very close to a first frost, I think it's coming soon. I did another big harvest of cherry tomatoes in the garden yesterday. Hopefully I'll get in another one before the frost hits.

The house has been a little chilly this morning. With chilly bare feet and thinking I should evetually put socks on, I wandered down to the room I call the Studio (yes, THE Studio! heehee) and opened the door. This is what I was greeted with:

The room was delightfully warmer than the rest of the house, having soaked up the morning sun for the past few hours. My chilly bare feet met the sun warmed carpet and it was fantastic! Instead of retrieving whatever now forgotten item I had went in there for, I went to get my camera and started taking pictures, not wanting to leave the warmth.

Here is my desk, were much of the creation takes place:

This is part of the view out the window - our garden and a scrawny little pine tree:

And of course, my cat found some sun as well on this lovey, if a bit chilly, fall morning.

I was insipred to go throgh my supplies and see what might be useful for the Harvest Creative Challenge at Etsy. Here's what I put together so far...

Hmmmm, what will I make? So far I'm thinking one or two cards and maybe even a few bookmarks. I'm also thinking of a dreamcatcher, as any natural colors usually look lovely on them.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

An Etsy Challenge!

I'm a rank beginner over at Etsy, but today I saw a post on the forum about a Creative Challenge with a Fall theme and I jumped right into the fray! Here's how it works: Everyone who accepts the Challenge has until next Tuesday, October 19th, to create a new item in Harvest colors - using only supplies that they currently have. Then list the items in their shop and provide the links in a Challenge thread. The plan is to create Etsy Treasuries with the items.

This fun event was suggested by DesignedByLucinda and so far it looks like 50 or so people have accepted the Challenge. I'm so excited, because I have been itching to do some new work and it's nice to have a theme, and a deadline. *wink* I'm thinking I'm actually going to create a few items for the Challenge - I already have some ideas!

Oh, and here are two blogs that have made posts about this Creative Challenge:

Rox & Things

The Mushroom Grove

The Mushroom Grove posted a list earlier today of the Etsy shops that had accepted the Challenge so far.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Uploading frenzy

I had a sale this morning at the online Nail Necklace store so that was encouraging! Someone bought two cross necklaces. I've been in an uploading frenzy today, putting more and more items up in the store.

I've also started populating my Etsy shop at long last. Here is the URL:

HorseTender on Etsy

I've reading posts and replying to several of them in the Etsy forums. I've also been surfing around, checking out some of the other shops there. It's amazing to see the items that some people create!

I'm still chomping at the bit to start on some new work, but I'm trying to hold myself to the "deal" I made - to get everything I have done so far uploaded to the stores and the dusty Studio site. I think putting pictures on the Studio site will be the most time intensive, but it's got to be done!

Well, I'd better get back to work!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Pictures, pictures!

I spent yesterday in a photo taking frenzy. I've never been quite happy with pictures I've taken of my cross necklaces - and I've tried taking a BUNCH of them over the years.

I went to work in the photo tent and after a few more failures, I think I finally figured out the magic formula for capturing my crosses in pictures!

I'm really starting to like my photo set up!

After the marathon of dreamcatcher creating and the marathon of photo taking, I'm chomping at the bit to move onto another project. However, I've a deal with my A.D.D. crazy self. I'm going to try really hard not to lose myself in another creative pursuit until I have the pictures of all of the dreamcatchers and crosses firmly uploaded to my online store! I'd like to get them all uploaded to the Galleries on my Studio site as well, and maybe even put into my Etsy shop for good measure, but we'll see...

Right now I'd better get back to uploading items at the store!

Oh and by the way, here is the link to my online store:

Nail Necklace - Online Store

For now all of the items from Horse Tender Studio will be hosted at my Nail Necklace store. Nail Necklace is the first online store that I set up. It has been the sales location for my cross necklaces. Until I have TIME to create another store for the Studio, the majority of Horse Tender Studio sales will go through Nail Necklace.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Flood of New Work

I've been working up a storm the last couple of weeks, mainly focusing on dreamcathers.

I've made dreamcatchers ever since I was a teenager. Over the years I have given many away as gifts. My favorite occasions are for a wedding or, in the original tradition of the dreamcatcher, for when a baby is born. I've also sold a few here and there - my "customizeable" dream catchers were a hit at a craft fair years ago. I had let people pick the colors they wanted and I made the dreamcatchers there on the spot. It was sort of a "dreamcatchers made while you shop" idea and it worked out well.

It wasn't until more recently, with the creation of the Studio as an entity, that I decided I'd like to sell them on a larger scale. I realized recently that I didn't have much in the way of an inventory. I had boxes and boxes of supplies, but only a couple of finished pieces. This is due to the fact that the majority of my dreamcatchers have been custom made - either as ordered, or as I made them for those special ocassions.

So, about two weeks ago I pulled out all of my supplies, popped on a movie and went to work. I've now made my way through several movies (and a couple of TV series on DVD) and I have about SIXTY brand new dreamcatchers ready to make their debut!

This is one of my favorites:

I now have quite a wide variety of dramcatchers, in sizes from two to nine inch rings, made in a rainbow of colors, and many with cool little charm and stone accents on the webbing.

Over the last couple of days I've been working on the time-consuming task of taking pictures and getting those uploaded to the store, the Studio's Facebook page, and the Studio site itself.

I foresee many more hours spent uploading photos, as I still have to repopulate the store and sites with pictures of all of my other items as well!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Hard at work!

I've been hard at work creating new things for the inventory here at the studio. I have also realized that Halloween is just around the corner. I made some wonderful Halloween themed greeting cards last year, based on a favorite card that I made for a friend many years ago. The cards feature a black cat sitting on the fence of a graveyard, with bats flying in the sky. The card is made from a mixture of cardstock, stamps, and hand drawn elements. I made up a bunch of them last year and I think I'll post them on my Facebook page and possible at my Etsy store.

I'm currently working on dreamcatchers and will have MANY of them available very soon, in a variety of colors and sizes. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Where did summer go?

This spring and summer has been a crazy busy, very rough time - and the time has flown! I moved twice and had to keep ALL of my creative projects and supplies in storage for a few months. I am now unpacking everything and dusting off my inner creativity. I've been hard at work the past few days, trying to get back into the groove. I've been cranking out new projucts, primarily dreamcatchers at this time. I also have several new ideas for greeting cards and custom horses!

My websites had lapsed during all of the moving around. Today I finally reposted my websites online and now there is quite a bit of updating on those to do as well. I'm hoping to finally get my Etsy store and Facebook pages populated and "Open" for business within the next few weeks.

Moving stinks, especially when one was right in the middle of starting up a new venture!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wow, time flies! Many Updates!

I have been so busy that I didn't realize it's been over a month since I updated this blog! Jeez...

Anyway! I finally came up with a banner for the Studio and an overall theme for the site. All that's left now is to continue taking pictures (furiously) and get them formatted and uploaded. The photo cube is working out... fairly well. I think I kinda messed up in getting a HUGE one, because I've having trouble lighting it well enough from the outside. Jeff loaned me a couple of crazy bright halogen work lights and I'm going to try them next. My little clamp on office lamps aren't quite cutting it! I have quite literally HUNDREDS of items to photograph and it's been slow going so far, trying to figure out what lighting and camera settings work best. I'm hoping once I get the details worked out, I can just start cranking out pics. It's a little touch and go right now.

The big news is that I now have TWO online stores. The first, specifically for my cross necklaces, was set up several months ago and has just been kinda sitting. The second will be my overall store linked to the Studio site and will be the location where orders can be placed from the Studio site. I'm very excited about this development as one thing that had been stalling the progress was how to set up the Studio for online sales. My html skills are still pretty basic and I'm a long way off from being able to write up a fancy sales page/shopping cart from scratch. Jeff had used a free shoopping cart software to created the cross necklace site last fall, and he just showed me how to use the software to create another store - for the Studio.

I've now actually created Facebook fan pages for both the Studio itself, and the cross site individually. Those pages aren't public quite yet as I'm still waiting on having a sufficent number of good pictures for the "Grand Opening" of the Studio site AND the Facebook pages.

For now, here is the banner!:

And a couple of the pictures I have taken, of a greeting card and a bookmark with the same designs:

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Back on Track - My Hero!

The development of the studio website had been derailed due to not being able to settle on a suitable place to set up the (large) photo tent and lights to get PICTURES for the site.

Last night Jeff, my other half, swooped in to the rescue. I told him of the problems I was having and he busted out a couple of 2x4s and some tools. He built me a pretty slick little rig to clamp my lights to. The way it is set up allows me to put lights all around the sides and back of the tent. He also put in a removable vertical support on the back, to hold a light for the top of the tent. Another cool feature of the setup is that it's highly portable - it can be set up, and stored, just about anywhere.

So, now things are back in full swing! I just tested the setup by taking 100 or so pictures and they look great. I still have to format the pics and start putting them on the site!! Then I'll be taking pictures of other items!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Full speed ahead!!

Chaaaarge! ... I received the photo tent in the mail a few days ago. Then I promptly went to town and bought lights and bulbs to light up my new "toy". I've been cranking out new projects for the past week. So when the studio site has it's Grand Opening, I'll have a BUNCH of brand new items for sale. I'm excited!!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Holding Pattern

I ordered a photo tent/cube today to (hopefully) allow indoor photo shoots! I did a bit of painting this evening. I might start tinkering with page layouts for the site between tonight and tomorrow. I guess you could say I'm in a bit of a holding pattern now. I'm going to want a lot of pictures on the site, so hopefuly the photo tent works well. Stay tuned!

Friday, January 1, 2010

A Setback and Bug Bites

I've encountered a slight setback in building my site. I took over 100 pictures a couple of days ago and very few turned out. It would appear that outdoor pictures just aren't going to work this time of year. Even at "high noon" the shadows were long in what I was trying to do. I know the importance of having great pictures, so I'm going to play around some more in the photography department. I'm thinking of buying or setting up a photo lighting cube so that I can take my pictures inside. I think that would be the best idea!

Today I've had the creativity bug chewing on me pretty hard. I had other things on my agenda, but I forsee myself working on some projects this evening and this weekend. Hopefully once I get the photography part nailed down I'll have some BRAND NEW work to showcase for the debut of my site! I think that would be pretty cool. :)

I'm rarin' to go in 2010 - ready to hit the ground running!

Happy New Year, everyone!! :D