Monday, March 30, 2009

Two clips

Gravity by Sara Bareilles - Not only this is my favorite song these days, but the clip is the most wonderful one I have ever seen. It illustrates the song perfectly and is genius in its simplicity. I cannot get enough of it (and who watches clips at my age anyway?).

And on the other side of the taste buds, a stand-up ventriloquism that probably everybody already saw apart from me (over 85,000,000 views on Youtube!). Knock knock, who's there?

I think Sara wins as far is being lyrical counts, n'est pas?

Passover Gifts Fair - יריד מתנות לפסח

קבוצת אמני Etsy ישראל גאה לערוך את המכירה הראשונה שלה (בתוספת אורית!)

פרטי המכירה בהזמנה לעי"ל. ימכרו תכשיטים מסוגים רבים ושונים (אלגנטיים מחד ומזניבים מאידך), בובות מסוגים שונים, בוביילים, כרטיסי ברכה וגלויות, מניאטורות, קישוטים לבית, בגדים לילדים ואביזרי טקסטיל ועוד ועוד.

הכל יחיד במינו, מלאכת יד ובמחירים נחמדים לכיס.

ספרו לחבר'ה ובואו בהמוניכם!!!

זהו. נגמרו הפונטים הגדולים, נעבור לאנגלית.

The members of the Etsy Israel Team (introducing Orit Lisak's art as well) are hosting our very local first gift fair in Tel-Aviv, just in time for Passover. The sale hosts several wonderful crafters and artists offering their handmade goods at excellent prices.

The participating Etsians are: Shay Aaron, Veeek, Bouji, OdeliaLa, RedCatArtBeads, and myself. Orit is not an Etsian, but she is my best friend and a wdonerful one of a kind graphic artist.

Come visit us if you can, on Friday the 3rd of April 10:00-16:00 at 42 Ha Shook St. Florentin, Tel-Aviv. If you cannot attend in person, check our online shops instead :o)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Shop improvements and a big sale

This week I attended an online tagging workshop as well as a shop critique session on the Etsy virtual labs, hosted by the lovely and bubbly HeyMichelle (who is, without a doubt, my favorite Etsy admin). There were some great tagging tips - the main one, I think, was to use your tags as an upsell opportunity by suggesting additional uses for your item.

Michelle also critiqued some shops and items, during which she commented on one of my items and several items on other shops which gave me an excellent insight on how I should be shooting my items. Mainly - shoot the item on a contrasting colorful background, so it pops out of the screen.

So I took the weekend, full of remnant coughing and headaches, and the wonderful much anticipated summer day time (there is still enough light to shoot outside at 19:00!) to take some new pictures of items that should have been sold long ago. I think these two before and after shots will help make the point clear.

In the first example, Apple Flutterbutt was shot in front of a pale gray background, which made her look blend as well. I shot her on a new background, this time more colorful and with colors that compliment her pale color scheme, to make her pop out.

The second is a little different method of creating the same effect. My Blushing Flutterbride was shot on a rose pattern paper I had, which I thought matches her character and scenery. I didn't notice, though, how she gets lost in that background. Today I took new pictures of her, this time against the pale wall of our roof garden, with the first of the new spring roses (still so weak and small and pale, on the dry thorny branches). I used a low exposure, to make the image dark and edited the image to give a little extra contrast to the rose, which made her white wedding dress and vail pop out. It even managed to keep the original romantic vibe I wanted to convey in the original picture.

Now, for some shop news - I am having a huge weekend sale on my main shop, since sales have been low thanks to the "terrific" state of global economy. Some of the items are down by almost 50% and the sale lasts till Sunday the 29th. It includes some wonderful magnets, mobiles, paper goods, home decor, and jewelry. If you wanted to buy from my shops, but wanted to save money, then this is a great opportunity. Especially since I am emptying my shop for a fair next weekend, and what you want may be gone after that.

All prices on my sale section have already been revised. You can see the original price and new one on the item descriptions. Barack and Michelle O'Flutterbutt, for example, cost 50$ instead of 62$ is that a deal or what?

Barack and Michelle O'Flutterbutt

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tursday Night Sale on My Shop

Spend 10$ and up - get 10% off
Spend 20% and up - get 20% off

Today only at my shop

Simply enter "Barack sent me" on Notes to Seller when you checkout to get this deal!

I will refund you via Paypal once you completed payment.

Due to time zone differences, it make take me a few hours to get back to you.
So do not worry if I don't refund you immediately, I will do that as soon as I can.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Creating the illusion of life

The other day I was coughing about when I got an SMS from my friend saying "I didn't know you have a puppet in a movie". I SMSed right back "neither did I". He then sent me a clip from a 2006 Israeli kids movie titled "Little Heroes", which indeed features a puppet I made and sold, having no idea it will star in a film (lawyers already advised).

More than not knowing, more than not being credited or paid, I was shocked at the horrible way the poor puppet was operated. No wonder it looked so blue. Time for a puppet operating and handling 101 boys and girls, based on all the errors made in the movie clip my friend sent me.

Here we go - watch and learn.

The errors are:
  1. Poor thing is being operated from the.. well.. butt.
    God (or me, in this case) gave your puppet an operating opening at the back of the neck. Use it! No need to sodomize your puppet, or hurt your arm. The operating hole is placed at the best place to provide optimal control of the mouth and head, and minimal harm to your wrist.
  2. The puppet is not focused.
    His eyes are all over the place, which ruins the illusion of a real character talking. The eyes of the puppet, and therefore, the point which should be facing the audience, are on your knuckles. Make sure you are holding your hand with the knuckles facing straight and slightly downwards. Practice in front of the mirror, to make sure your audience, be it many or or a single person, feels the puppet is looking and talking straight at them.

  3. He is moving his mouth too much
    The puppet's mouth is moving non stop. If you look at yourself speak in the mirror, you will realize much of the speech is pronounced with a closed mouth using your tongue and teeth. The puppet should not move its mouth more than twice per word. Practice your puppet saying "toilet sit" (or אזדרכת in Hebrew) while moving its mouth only twice.

    Check Erez singing Mon cœur s'ouvre à ta voix for reference. I'm moving his mouth way too much in this clip, but still it is about half the times the blue one is moving in the movie. This is, after all, opera!

In conclusion, here are the three golden rules for creating a successful illusion of life:
  1. Use the tools the puppet designer gave you. Learn the advantages and minuses of your puppet, and the proper way of operating it. And practice practice practice.
  2. Keep the puppet focused on its audience.
  3. Move the puppet as little as needed. Mannerisms are nice on a puppet, but only in the right measure. Do not make it look as if it is possessed.
If all this made you long for a puppet of your own, I will gladly make you a small or large one.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

My heads hurt!!

I think I am coming down with something. I have a slight fever, and a headache, and my shoulders hurt. This is all very blah.

The Etsy Israel Team is arranging its first "real world" sale (I will revile the details next week). For me, it combines hard work (and we are just getting started, the real work will be during the next couple of weeks) and frustration, since only 5 of us are happily working on this sale, while the others didn't even comment on our messages in the team's forum. It is, however, the first time I am getting the team to actually do something together so I am pleased, plus I am positive our next event will be bigger and better.

In the meanwhile, I made a few new hand painted necklaces for my shop (and the sale) this weekend. They turned out

New hand painted necklaces
The necklaces are available on the shop.

I also added several new ribbons to Ribbonzella, and designed a little ad for it. Please tell me if you like it.

New Ribbonzella ad
So very smallish.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Have a(n Etsy) heart

I noticed I only had one new heart added all week and have to wonder, is this because I set my hearts to private (meaning, when I heart someone now, they see me as a "secret admirer") last week? I think one of the ways people find your shop, is when you heart them and they check you out. Note, many people heart shops for different reasons, including "heart me and I'll heart you" sort of trades, which I don't do. I heart only people I want to heart (for different reasons).

Gladiola Flutterbutt's mobile cord
Gladiola has two hearts (on her mobile cord)

My guess is - yes. When I will set my hearts public again, mine will start rising too. Do you agree?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Happy Birthdays all around

It's birthdays all around! Yesterday morning, my new nephew was finally born (almost two weeks overdue). With slanted eyes and dark hair, he kinda looks like no one but himself. A 4100gm bundle of joy. His name is not yet 100% set, so I will keep it a secret for now.

They dress them up like clowns in that hospital :o)

And today, is the birthday of my excellent, talented, light haired, sweet princess of a friend Junie. Happy birthday sweetie, we had a little something special made for you.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My favorite blogs revealed

Today I thought I would share some of my favorite blogs with you.

I just love checking what my favorites' favorites are. I think that is the best way to find websites I will love - based on where people with similar taste to mine, or taste I admire, find inspiration. On Etsy, I check my favorite shops' favorites every once in a while, as a method of finding wonderful new shops. And on my favorite blogs, I look for the blogs they follow. Many times I find treasures that way. So I thought maybe I can return a favor and pass on some of my findings.

Fashion Blogs
  • The street walker - Yael Sloma's Israeli street fashion is as good (if not better) than similar internationally acclaimed websites.
Inspirational Blogs
  • WooWork - Howie Coquitlam is the most ingenious, funny, and bright crochet artist you will ever meet. And his item photography skills are outstanding.
  • Doll stories - Neta Amir is not only a wonderful textile designer, but also a great blogger. Her words bring her creations to life.
  • Illustratively - Heidi Burton is a wonderful, warm, and bright illustrator. I wish I were her (or, alternatively, owned everything she makes)!
  • The Small Object Steno Pad - Okay, everybody knows Sarah Neuburger's creations, but do you know her blog? Not only does she share her creative process, but also shows us her lifestyle (cooking and design), which leaves me day dreaming about my next apartment quite often.

Online Sales Gurus

  • Timothy Adam's blog - one of the most popular Etsy sales gurus is happily sharing his sales tips and methods.
  • Life, craftiness and everything else - Anna's (aka - The House of Mouse) blog is both cute and informative. She shares tons of excellent tips for increasing your Etsy sales.
Hebrew Blogs
  • Handmade by Mekoopelet - everything I wouldn't expect to find at an Israeli crafts blog - fun, bright, and colorful.
  • Moran Yossef's blog - Moran is an accessories designer who owns a lovely blog about fashion and more.
  • טכנומיסטיקה - Ido's blog combines technology, mysticism, cloture, and media in a very appealing and interesting fashion.
  • Be the change - A spiritual blog which calms me down and makes me smile from within.
And just for fun
  • History Buff - a history news blog hosted by historian and author Michelle Moran (who wrote Nefertiti).

Cat and mouse

Ah, my poor dead laptop. Bless its troubled soul.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Ooh baby

Lately I find myself surrounded by babies. Or kinda babies rather.

First, a new nephew is supposed to arrive any day now (he's actually late already). On top of that, I got a baby on the mail yesterday. I hope to God my future babies don't look like that. That is, she is good looking, but those hands popping out of her stomach.. I don't know about that.

The strange thing is that I met a very similar baby on the garage the other day. Do you think they're related?

Obviously, Yossi the garage manager has a soft spot for softies, cause this guy is his assistant in the office.

And when he brought my car back from driving it around to see what's wrong with it, I found he relocated my car bear, to a much much better spot than he had before.

Much much better

Thursday, March 5, 2009

An old friend long gone, and a shop update

Netali and I were friends for a short while a couple of years ago. She was a very complex girl, and quite younger than me, and we ended up fighting a lot and the friendship ended.

The other day I was Flutterbutting while I noticed the doll I am working on is wearing the shape of Netali. A young Punk-Goth girl, with dyed hair and heavy makeup (I am not sure how Netali wore her makeup), pierced well.. everything, heavy shoes, and cloths that scream "look at me, I don't give a damn". All in the effort of hiding her delicate soul, which is not yet powerful enough to handle standing out for herself without the help of visual effects.

Her tiny tank top is made out of ribbon which reads "Womanizer". How cool is that?

I just love my little Netali, and decide to name her after the friend I had once upon a time.

And more on this shop update - Georgina Flutterbutt with her gorgeous peach colored satin and lace dress (which took me ages to make :o).

And my Pink Flutterhead lady got new and (much) improved item images. Don't you think she looks wonderful, strumming the piano?

Also, some lovely new ribbons on Ribbonzella. Check them out!

Wondering where I got that lovely banner? My friend Adigi made it for me.

Monday, March 2, 2009

March of the goals

Or is it goals for March? I keep confusing the two..

The 1st of March is here, and as my previous months on Etsy prove, it is important to set business goals, so I can check myself as the month progresses and see how I can work better towards reaching and exceeding my goals. Last month, for example, I set no goals and just "went with the flow" only there was no flow. February sucks big time, sales wise. So..

For my puppets & crafts shop, by the end of March..
  • I want to earn at least 240$ .
For my new ribbon shop, by the end of March..
  • I want to reach at least 15 sales.
  • I want to recieve at least 100 hearts.

For the Etsy Israel team, by the end of March..

  • I want to arrange a home sale for Passover.
    This includes arranging at least 6 vendors, setting a date and place, advertising and promotion, and whatever else needed.

Etsy Israel Team

The new Etsy Israel Team banner, designed by members of the team

What are your goals for March?