Thursday, October 28, 2010

The garden at New Place

The garden at New Place, on Chapel Street in Stratford Upon Avon is one of my favorite places in the world. It is the a place of great beauty and calm. Hidden behind high walls are apple trees, roses, wild flowers and the most wonderful monuments I have ever seen to a human life - wooden benches with plaques commemorating loved ones in the most heart-rending simple words, which touch my very soul time and time again.

Here are some photographers I took last time I was there, about two months ago.

How I wish I could visit it weekly, sit on my favorite bench with my sandwich, listen to the birds and watch the people walk by and be at peace and with a joyful heart. I wish. I wish.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Custom orders for Christmas

Last year, my custom made Flutterbutts (or puppet mobiles) were a huge hit for Christmas gifts. I am providing a portrait Flutterbutt service, where you send me the characteristics of the person you want me to imitate (hair, eye and skin tones, signature clothing and jewelry etc) and preferably a photo and I make you a wonderfully adorable puppet mobile or miniature puppet.

Another option is to order a custom made full size hand puppet, based on similar characteristics.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Facing my anxiety

This weekend was dedicated to the daunting task of creating a watercolor illustration for a new customer.

Whenever I get a job that scares me, I tend to procrastinate and custom paintings scare me to bits. Drawings are so personal and I never know if the customer will like my work. I made many drafts, and felt quite insecure. I guess that is a common emotion among artists who do sporadic work like myself, who have a rather demanding day job. Eventually, I managed to sit myself down on Saturday and drew for several hours till I was happy with the result.

Work in progress

The actual task was to draw six basic body types for a stylist who is about to start a series of lectures and classes. She saw my illustrations on my fashion blog and wanted me to portray the different body types in a whimsical style (as opposed to most ready made body type sketches available).

Hourglass and cello body types

I am not a fan of digital illustration, so this was all done with pencils, ink and watercolor. I am glad to say the customer is very pleased with my work, as am I. There is a great sense of satisfaction when completing a task you were scared of. I should try and remember that next time I find myself procrastinating.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Practicing my new photography skills

This week, I have been practicing my new photography skills. Unfortunately, I missed the second meeting of my photography class due to my painful fractured rib, which forced me to catch up on my sleep. Still, I used the few hours of light I had available this weekend to take some photographs. Here are some of my favorites.

  China blue necklace, available on my art shop.

This is not me :o)
Red heart

Monday, October 11, 2010

Practicing yoga and photography

Part of our Etsy holidays boot camp plan is to make and list new items towards the holidays season (and in general). I have been working on some new jewels for my art shop. They are made from brilliantly wonderful ceramic beads I bought, which are handmade in Peru and feature yoga practices in great detail. This is what I listed for sale so far. 

Lotus tear drop
Lotus tear earrings, available here.

Blue sphere
 Blue sphere yoga earrings, available here.
Dove and lotus

Lotus and dove earrings, available here.

I have only a few of these beads, and plan to make a couple of necklaces in the next few days. 

You can also see the beginning of the positive influence of the photography course I am taking. I started taking manual photographs instead of working in automatic mode and am learning to know my new camera. You can see I was practicing shallow depth of field on the second photo. This photography class is so much fun! Next lesson will be composition, so I hope to get much better photos after that. Can't wait!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

On the road to healing

Some of you may remember that a few days after my mom passed away I got a Little Miss Sunshine tattoo. I haven't yet met anyone who suffered like I have after getting a tattoo. It was so swollen and painful the first week, I had to use mom's cane for walking and could hardly sleep. It took three weeks for the pain to disappear entirely.

A couple of months or so later, the tattoo is on its way to heal. The colors are brighter, the outline is clear and only the chubby little yellow buddy is still discolored and forming a scab.

My friends are showering me with Little Miss Sunshine gifts from around the world - key chains and mugs and bookmarks. And I myself can't wait for the weather to chill so I can start using my old Little Miss Sunshine bed cover (my dad bought it for me when I was six years old).

I have to say I am very pleased with the choice I made, despite it's being so very colorful and eye catching. My flesh is healing, and my spirit is starting to heal as well. I owe it to mom and to myself.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Etsy bootcamp update

I am so proud to update that Aya, from the very successful and inspiring Etsy shop LoucheLab, approached me about being my Etsy bootcamp buddy. How amazing is that? We are yet to set the actual details of our buddyism, but our aim in general is to encourage each other towards achieving our holiday sales goals, and brainstorm new promotions and products. This is Aya's reveling and artful blog. You really should visit.

On top of that, I started using Project Wonderful advertising again, after a few months off. I am using a new ad, which I like, but am not sure how attractive\clickable it is. Your feedback will be most appreciated.

My new Project Wonderful ad

I had a two week ongoing ad on Craftcult this month, and it brought a lot of traffic to the shop, but it costs a lot, so I don't want to continue it for now. Traffic traffic traffic, where the hell art thou?

Plans for my Etsy shop

Hello guys, long time no write.

I have to admit I have been spending a lot of time and energy on my fashion blog, which left this blog quite neglected. On top of that, there is the general neglect my Etsy shop and interests have been suffering these past few months. Caring for Mamisha on her last months meant I had zero energy for Etsy and creation, and after her death almost two months ago I was left less than a person. These days, however, I am trying to recover my Etsy business and am making some plans, which I would like to share with you, my trusty readers.

Step 1 - Set goals for October
This month I plan to reach 2000 hearts and get at least 5 sales on my puppets and crafts shop. On my art and jewelry shop, I plan to get at least 3 sales.

Step 2 - Make holiday plans
I am joining the Etsy Holiday Boot Camp program in order to prepare for the upcoming holiday season. The 2009 holiday season was a great success for me, which I want to repeat and exceed. I already relisted some holiday items on both my shops, which will expire at the end of December. After I finish writing this entry, I will take a few of the steps on my this week's checklist - Read this week's article, make a list of my most popular items (based on web analytics) and find a bootcamp buddy to brainstorm with.

Would you like to be my bootcamp buddy? Please let me know if you do!

Step 3 - Better photographs
I already bought a new camera, which is much more advanced than my previous Canon. I also got a tripod and now all that's left is learning how to use it. I am starting a three week photography course this week, which should make my familiar with my new camera and teach me many new techniques for shooting both macro (for my blogs) and micro (for Etsy) photographs. I am planning to re-shoot my entire jewelry line after the course is done, and am very excited about it. I hope the training meets my expectations. I will surely share my exercises on the blog.

Step 4 - New items
I haven't added anything new to my shops in a few months. The only exception is the Pinky goes shopping tshirt, which is the first and so far, the only one in a new line of products. I also finally updated my Etsy guides in Hebrew two weeks ago, just to find Etsy updated their user interface yet again, so again I have to rewrite them.. Oh well!

I feel no guilt about not making anything new for so long. I have not really been in a puppet making mood lately, if you know what I mean. But now it's time to get back to business and start defrosting. What will I make? Well, that depends on step 3 above. I also expect to get custom orders starting this month, as I did last year towards the holiday season. Nothing like a Flutterbutt or Foamie portrait to please your loved ones.

I would love to hear your thoughts, comments and plans!