Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Etsy Mentioned on HGTV Blog

That explains the recent slowdown. Tough to do anything when its crawling at a snail's pace. Good for Etsy, but how could it be good for either buyers or sellers if no one can navigate quickly enough? I, for one, get very frustrated as both buyer and seller on a site that is perpetually slow. I usually move on and make a mental note not to return to that site because its slow. Will this be the case for Etsy? Why don't they do something to speed things up and handle the load?

If just a mention in a blog like HGTV's get this kind of traffic and results in a noticeable slowdown, imagine what would happen if Etsy did some REAL advertising to the masses!! It would bring it to its knees and crash the entire system. I have often wished that Etsy would do some real advertising. Not everyone who buys quality handmade goods is on MySpace or DeviantArt or places like these with younger demographics. Some people actually do watch HGTV and DIY for crafting ideas as well shows like Beads, Baubles and Jewels which is on PBS. And some of those people may have deeper pockets than the younger demographics that Etsy seems to be targeting. What if Etsy advertised even just a one sentence ad on someplace like this? I shudder at the thought of what the servers would do.

I wish that Etsy would do some advertising in publications or on shows such as those I mentioned, and to an older demographic. IMO, it could only do good for everyone.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

This 'n That

Tonight when I was reading the Mountains Times online (a weekly publication of the NC High Country where I'm originally from), I came across something that practically knocked me off my chair: "They are about 3,000 miles from Paramount Pictures studio, but Todd and West Jefferson will serve as stage and setting for a major motion picture this year." (Whoa! I about had a heart attack.)

“MileStone Entertainment is planning an autumn shoot in the High Country for the movie “Edgewater,” which producer John W. Beach describes as a blend of “The Sixth Sense,” “Of Mice & Men,” and “Slingblade.” Now things like this just don't happen there every day! Maybe in NYC, but not in West Jefferson!

Ashe County was the stage for a movie in the past, Where the Lillies Bloom, but that was back in the 1970s and it was a pretty obscure film. I remember my English class went on a field trip to see it because it was filmed in Ashe and Watauga counties. It was pretty cool watching places you saw every day right up there on the big screen. And coming from such a small place I felt famous if even just for minute.

Nothing like this hardly ever happens up there. I mean, Ashe County is a pretty out-of-the-way place. We get excited when the Charlotte weatherman mentions us! However, my little piece of heaven keeps attracting more and more people from the nether regions all the time due to its pristine and natural setting. But that, too, is changing for the worse as more and more people move there. (I'm talking about the price of land and the cutting down of the trees. Very hot topic so I won't get started.)

Well, I suppose if this movie does film there and has any sort of success, you can count on even MORE people moving there because of its beauty and laid back atmosphere. The thing that gets me about the people swarming to live there is they come because it's very laid back, out of the way, slow paced, hardly any major crime, everybody knows everybody else, beautiful, and not a lot of traffic; and then once they move there and started paying taxes, they try to change the place to make it more like what it was they left in the first place! (Oops, there I go again. I'll hush.)

Congratulations, Ashe County, for better or worse. I hope it brings only good things.


Dancing Moon

Made this pair of earrings using hammered sterling silver circles (hand forged and hammered by me), and attached beautiful little rainbow moonstone briolettes to them. I called them "Dancing Moon." I listed them last night and by golly they sold today!!! I hadn't even gotten a chance to upload them to Flickr yet!

I'm so thrilled with every sale. It really makes my day and makes me happy that folks like my pieces. (Little steps, I keep telling myself. Little steps.) These earrings get to travel to Pennsylvania. I hope they are worn in good health!



Today Kevin was a race car driver. He got in his car seat which he carefully positioned in the center of the couch. Then, using the Xbox steering wheel to drive, he began racing. He had so much fun. Winnie the Pooh was on TV while he was racing. I don't know if the two were related in his mind but I thought it very interesting that he was watching Pooh while driving! I wonder what he was thinking. His driving was like Tigger's bouncin'--all over the place!

Oh, how I do so dread the day when he does learn to drive. He is going to be just like his mother was... a leadfoot! Hopefully I have a quite a few more years before that happens though!



Only 29 days until MerleFest! I doubt I'll get to go it's gotten so expensive anymore. But I'll be there in spirit. If you're not a bluegrass fan then you might not know what MerleFest is. It's one of the best bluegrass fesitvals in the country. It's held each year on the campus of Wilkes Community College in North Wilkesboro, NC in honor of Merle Watson who died several years ago. Merle was the son of Doc Watson who is a legendary bluegrass artist born and raised in the NC High Country. Check out the link. It's a great place to get to know bluegrass.

Every kind of person you can think of attends Merlefest. It's a family event as well as a hippie sort of event. It draws people from all over the country and North America. It's time well spent. I've only been three times but I had a ball each time. I would love to one day become a vendor at Merlefest. Someday I will. There are so many wonderful crafts there!

This year the artists performing include Bela Fleck, AKUS (Alison Kraus and Union Station), Jerry Douglas, Sam Bush, Del McCoury Band, Doyle Lawon and Quicksilver, Doc Watson, and Tony Rice to just name a few. Bela, Sam, Jerry and Tony are my favorites. I saw them perform together at the Birchmere in D.C. calling themselves the 'Superpickers'. I was blown away. That was in the 1980s. Now they are 'supreme' pickers!

There was one performer I saw on the schedule that I thought was extremely odd to be at a bluegrass festival and that was Elvis Costello! How cool is that?! I wonder what the heck he'll be doing there! It's fantastic that he's appearing though. He will bring in a different demographic than usual. I'd love to see him. He's an all-time favorite.

If you ever get a chance to listen to Bela Fleck, Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, AKUS, or Tony Rice you should do so. They are not just ordinary bluegrass musicians. Bela plays jazz banjo as well as classical. He can play any style of music out there. Jerry Douglas is mainly bluegrass but does play different types as well. They are both on MySpace too, so you can look them up there. AKUS is just fantastic and Sam Bush is a wild and crazy guy. Tony Rice, well he's sophisticated bluegrass but just about anything goes with him too. Check 'em out, you might like 'em!

Got to go to bed. My eyes have just about had it for one day!

Until next time....

Monday, March 26, 2007

New Life for an Old Item

Visage, originally uploaded by msbellee.

So today I decided I was not going to put it off any longer. I have to begin shooting new pictures of all my old items so that they might have more appeal to the masses. Here is the first one. I thought it turned out rather well, but that's just me.

One down, about 15 to go!


Pick Up Your Toys, Kevin!!

Didn't do much today other than wash some clothes and fold them. Put away Kevin's bicycle out of the middle of the living room floor for the umpteenth time. I am trying to train him to put his things away. It's NOT happening! Any suggestions? I've tried making a game out of it. "See how fast you can put your toys away. Ready, Set, Go!" That only works part of the time. He likes to pretend he's riding a motorcycle or that he's in his 'spy car', and he goes sailing from the kitchen through the living room, back through our tiny hall where he proceeds to stop just before crashing into the wall! (We have a very tiny house. Only about 1100 square feet. We outgrew it about 5 years ago!!!) I finally told him that if he didn't put his things away, the next time I had to do it I was putting them in the trash. He picked them up!


Today I was rudely informed that a wasp nest was under construction right above the front door. One came in the door today as I was going out to get the mail. Kevin screamed, "IT'S INSIDE, MOMMY!" I heard that scream all the out to the mailbox. So I hurried back in only to find that the wasp had planted itself on the glass of the front door and was trying to get out. So I just opened up the door to let it out. Well, he flew off, then turned around and headed right back for the door. I looked up to where he had flown and there it was: a wasp nest was being built right above the door in the corner of the alcove. As much as I hated to do it I had to get rid of it. I know wasps don't mean to be a bother but you just can't have them above your entryway. I knocked down the nest and went to take cover! It didn't do much good. They just went right back to building it. So I broke down and got the wasp and hornet killer. Poor things. They didn't stand a chance. I almost cried. But what was I supposed to do? (Wish that was all you had to do to get rid of fire ants, just spray 'em. That ain't happenin'!)

Well, I'm off to continue the tedious task of reshooting all my jewlery. Maybe this will pay off and something old will sell.

Until next time....

Now You See It, Now You Don't

Have you ever seen something, then looked again and it wasn't there? Kind of like floaters in your eye. That's what these alluring pearl earrings I listed on Friday night seemed like. I'll explain.

I got frustrated that I couldn't get decent pictures of these pearls. Everything would be in focus but the pearls themselves. I didn't know what to do. I was using my light tent and getting frustrated, so I tried photographing near a window. Still got frustrated. Well, I finally got some pics that I was okay with and listed the earrings. (Whew! Glad that was over with!) That was about 2:00 a.m. or so (I think). I sat back and admired my work for a little while. These pearls really are beautiful. I've never seen baby coin pearls quite like these. The color is awesome. But I thought they were so pretty and creamy. Anyway, I went off to bed and dreamed of pearls like I do so many nights!

After fixing Kevin's breakfast the next morning and getting my coffee I go check my shop. My pearls were GONE! I thought I had done something wrong with my listing. Not 6 hours earlier I had listed them! Where did they go? All that work and they're gone! I checked my inactive listings and they weren't there. I did a refresh and they still weren't there. Well, it didn't dawn on me that they might have sold so quickly. But, sure enough, they HAD sold along with a bracelet and another pair of earrings all to the same customer! I was blown away. All that work did pay off after all. I'd never had anything sell so quickly before. I wish it could happen every day. Now you see it, now you don't!


Talk about gorgeous, I have been hoarding some faceted tanzanite beads that are divine. AAA grade and so sparkly. Well, I finally turned some of them loose and made a pair of truly sublime earrings. They are the most expensive thing in my shop for what they are. But, on the other hand, for what they are they are a really good price. I wish I knew how many carats of tanzanite were in these earrings, because there's about 4 1/2 inches of beads here. These are rich! They ooze confidence and personality. I added a top-drilled freshwater rice pearl at the bottom and I love the way they turned out.

Tanzanite & Pearl Earrings


Tonight I made another pair of glowing coin pearl earrings. These are bigger and white. They, too, are very lustrous and luminescent. Why do most people think pearls are just for dressy occasions? I'm out to change people's opinions of that. I love pearls. They come in all shapes and sizes, all colors and go with anything! Everyone needs pearls. Every day!

Now aren't they just pretty? They'll go with anything. A bride could wear them. You could wear them with jeans. Anything! That's what I love about pearls. Their versatility!

Well, better go. Got to decide what to make next so I can keep the ball rolling.

Until next time....

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Sale Number 20!

Well, I am officially no longer an Etsy newbie. I made my 20th sale this week! And it was another international sale. This time I had the privilege of sending my 'Best Friend II' pearl earrings all they way to Australia! I was so excited. I have to acquire another great strand of pearls like those so I can continue to make my best seller.

I also created a pair of custom order earrings that will be used on a bride! How very flattering to be chosen for such an honor. To know that my earrings are going to be worn down the aisle makes me a little nervous but proud all the same.


This week I also had the privilege of being in two treasury lists! The first one was by Jennifer Gardner who is a fellow Charlottean and also sells unique and beautiful jewelry on Etsy. Turns out she works not far from my house! Go figure. We have become good email friends and I hope to meet her in person at some point. I really appreciated her including me in her 'Carolina Girls' list! It was her first list and she very thoughtfully included me. Thank you Jenn!

The second list was by Jamie of vaughnellen on Etsy. I was the first person she ever talked to on Etsy and the first person she convo'd. I was flattered and touched that because of that she included me in her first treasury as well. It's so nice to be remembered for the little things. Jamie makes some really beautiful jewelry as you can see by visiting her shop. Here is her beautiful list.


And me? I've been playing outside with Kevin, running around in the warm air and telling him to watch out for fire ants! Yes, it's that time of year again: allergy and fire ant season. My car is covered with pollen. It's got this yellow glow to it. The pollen count is so high that when Kevin and I stepped outside today we both sneezed in unison! Everything is blooming or already bloomed, the leaves are coming out and the tulips are up. Mine aren't flowering, of course. I won't dig up my bulbs and divide them because of the fire ants. So I grow these pretty green leaves and that's it. I have one little bud on my candytuft and that's probably all it's going to do. The blueberry bushes have rebloomed nicely. They began blooming earlier in January of February and got zapped by frost. But they have come out nicely. My hydrangeas probably will not bloom very well as they got zapped too.

Yes, I was a pretty good gardener. I just won't do it here anymore because of all the fire ants. I used to love to garden. That ended when they plowed down all the trees next to our house to extend our housing development. We were at the end of the cul-de-sac and had nothing but trees on the southwest side. I was in tears the day they raped the forest down. I swear I could hear the trees crying. We used to see deer, foxes, possums and now we only see fire ants. THEY moved in when the trees got raped. Now instead of a nice forest with lots of critters and homes for the critters, there are 13 houses that are so close together you can spit from one neighbor's house and hit the next. It's really sad. It's no wonder we have global warming and pollution so bad we can't breathe. The trees are being clear-cut. They give us so much. We NEED trees. Don't get me started. It's a hot topic for me, raping the land for 'progress'.

Something I have been doing lately besides being a mommy is doing a lot of experimenting with my light tent. I'm trying to figure out what lighting setup I like best, what backgrounds, etc. I'm getting better, but I haven't quite got what I want yet. I plan on rephotographing all my items so they look better and more professional instead of taking pictures on my boulder. I like my boulder. I personally like the look, but I'm sure a lot of people don't think it's very professional. And if I want to ever be featured on someone's blog or site or something like that I want to look professional. So I bought a variety of paper to use as backgrounds today when Kevin and I were out and about. We went to Lowe's and I got some floor tiles to use. I like the look of one of them especially. I'll post a picture when I'm satisfied.


I have made some things but am still playing with the pics. However, I did list three pairs of earrings. Beautiful oxidized sterling and bubble gum pink turquoise earrings, and a pair of almost gothic looking yet romantic swarovski crystal and oxidized sterling shoulder dusters.

The third is a simple pair of shiny hammered silver petal shaped dangle earrings. These would be great to wear every day.

Hopefully I will find a suitable method for photographing my pieces and it will become my new style. We shall see.

Until next time....

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Gone International

I made my first international sale this past week. I shipped a package with two pairs of earrings all the way to Malaysia!! How cool is that?! I was so excited and nervous all at the same time. But it went just fine at the post office so I had nothing to worry about. The customer was very friendly and spoke excellent English. Can everybody speak English?? Anyway, I can't wait to hear how she likes them and if they got there all right! She bought the copper pearl earrings above and the wine pearl and hill tribe earrings I did just last week! Now my niece wants a pair just like the wine ones!


I am in another treasury list today. I always go check out the lists in the treasury and when you see a little gold star beside one that means you are listed in it! There it was. And below is a picture of the treasury. It was by intrepidsoulmate of Etsy. She added my blue crystal threaders to her list. Thank you intrepid!



We went to the park today, Kevin and me. He played and played. It was gorgeous out today. We were there for over 2 hours. (Boy am I feeling my knee now.) He did every single thing you could do at the park and then some.

At one point he fell and his arm got stepped on by another little boy (but he was ok). He gets so melodramtic when something happens to him. It's funny to see him react. He said, "what was he trying to do, kill me?" I got so tickled but he was crying so I couldn't laugh. I had to play nurse to his teeny boo-boo and comfort him. I told him that the little boy felt bad about stepping on his arm and explained why he shouldn't say things like that when it was an accident! He got over it!

Well, that's it for now. I hope to make some new things to show you very soon!

Until next time....

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Enchanted Earrings

I created these today with some items that I ordered last week and I was thrilled how they turned out. After I finished them, I stood back and looked at them and felt enchanted by them. So that's what I called them.

They are made up of amazonite faceted 6mm rounds, beautiful etched brass dangles, and lovely medium sized kidney earwires in goldfill. I like the ear wires a lot. They're not the tiny kidney earwires you're used to seeing. These have a noticeable presence on the ear. After I listed them I had 28 views in the first 15 minutes, the most I've ever had so soon after listing something. And I listed after midnight east coast time! I'm going to make some more of these little beauties.

While using my brand new light tent for only the second time, one of my two light bulbs BLEW! Brand new, only been used once and it blew! Boy was I mad! I don't want to have to buy a brand new bulb, they're expensive. I want the seller to replace it seeing as how I have had it less than a week and only used it once! Actually this is the first time that particular bulb has been used because that light tripod was missing a screw and I had to wait to use it until I got one to put back in it. That's another thing that upset me about it. Brand new out of the box and it's missing a screw for the light tripod. They better replace it. Those bulbs are supposed to last a very long time and this one lasted less than 15 minutes!? He'll get bad word-of-mouth if he doesn't do right by me.

Kevin and I went to visit my sister in Raleigh this past weekend to get outfits for my nephew's wedding in April. We rode with my other sister, and my mom and another sister met us there. The killer aunts were together again! Kevin had a really good time in the malls. He said, "wow, this is a big mall" and "look how hight the ceiling is." He was just in awe of the buildings we were in. It was fun seeing his reaction to the places. While there we ate at The Cheesecake Factory and I ordered a chicken salad sandwich and Kevin got chicken strips. Well, I had enough food to feed a third world country and so did Kevin. I've never seen portions this big in my life. I couldn't believe it. All the food was really good. But the best was dessert. The cheesecake was to die for. Kevin and I ate a whole piece just ourselves! I can't wait to go back!

While visiting in Raleigh, one of my sister's bought some of my jewelry. I was thrilled. (Thank you Gail! I hope you like it.) She bought my best stuff too! My shop is now bare, so I have to get on the ball and start making new things to fill my shop again. Here is a picture of one of my favorite pieces that she bought:

Well, it's getting late. I just wanted to write a bit before I hit the sack. I still can't get over the response to the brass earrings. I'm just thrilled. I hope someone buys them and not just looks at them!

Until next time....

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Have Some Wine... colored pearls that is! Well, it's about time I created something new, huh? Yep! I used the prettiest dark wine colored potato pearls to create earrings, a bracelet and a necklace. I'm not selling them as a set though. I accented the bracelet and earrings with Hill Tribe silver charms and the necklace with a Hill Tribe flower pendant. It was very hard to get the color of these pearls to display properly. They look different depending on what light they are in. I used my new light tent to snap some pics of them and the trusty old boulder to do some pictures too. In the listing I used some of both. I really like the way these turned out. They are sort of organic and rustic while being elegant at the same time. Pearls aren't just for dressing up anymore! They are fast becoming my favorite beads to create with, they are so versatile and colorful!

Sale Number 12!!
I sold another pair of earrings!! Yippee! It was the third pair of my 'Best Friend' white pearl earrings. The girl who bought them told me she was going to wear them as her bridal earrings for her wedding!! I was so honored she picked me. It was so very uplifting and flattering when I found out that is what they were for. I have more of the pearls so I'm going to make another pair and list them yet again. They seem to be my most popular item!

In a Beautiful Etsy Treasury List
A fellow North Carolinian and 'Etsian' from near Raleigh, Carol (of silverbeadsandclay on Etsy) created a beautiful treasury list and very generously and thoughtfully included my 'Are We There Yet' coppery pearl necklace. (Thank you, Carol!) She uses precious metal clay (PMC), polymer clay, wire and beads to create her pieces. They are quite beautiful and intricate and she is a very talented artisan. I would love to learn PMC and I'm very envious of her for that AND she has begun metalsmithing classes! Carol sent me a picture of her first piece and I was so jealous! It is so gorgeous! What a first piece!! Here is a link where you can see it: I just had to tell you about her because she is very sweet and talented. A good combination!

Kevin Has His First Loose Tooth!!
As I was brushing Kevin's teeth tonight before bed I noticed something: Kevin has his first loose tooth!! I could see the permanent tooth right behind the loose one. I thought it was a piece of food or something, so I looked closer. Sure enough, there's a tooth back there!! It's one of his bottom from teeth. I told him and we both got excited! I'm so excited for him. I said, "Wow, Kevin, what do you think the tooth fairy will give you for it when it comes out?" He said, "About $900!" Don't I wish!! He ran to tell Daddy and is so proud that he's losing his first baby tooth. I just thought to myself, "Just yesterday he was in diapers. Now he's losing his first tooth. Tomorrow he'll be graduating from high school. Where did my baby go?!"

Well, gotta go. Gotta package up the earrings to send to my customer, and then practice taking pictures with my light tent! Wish me luck!

Until next time....