Friday, November 7, 2014

A Free Knitting pattern - Baby Cardigan Raglan from Bottom up.

I just finished this Baby Cardigan with Raglan sleeves.  I found it hard to find bottom up raglan pattern.  The pattern is created by me improvising or mixing two neat knitting patterns.  See if you like it.

                                    Wonderland Heather Baby Cardigan

Date started –        Sept  11 2014
Date Finished -      Oct 22, 2014.

Materials used:

Yarn: 3 balls  ( 3 X 50 gms) 100% Washable Merino wool
                           From Knit Picks DK wt .( The name of this particular yarn I used is Wonderland Heather)
                            Each 50 gms 123 yds.
 Needles:         Recommended needle: US size 5
                        But I used US 7 ( 4.5 st =1” ) .

Place markers.
Buttons 3 (about 1” in diameter)

Finished piece;  Width 21.5" Length 10"  ( Suitable for 9 mo - 1 yr old child)

Patterns used :
Seed St pattern = k 1, p1 with odd number of stitches taken, just repeat the same in the next row. So that there is purl on knit st and knit on purl stitch.

Stockinette St. pattern = knit I row, purl 1 row.

Lacy Pattern from Shoelessval:

 Lacy Pattern takes 16 sts.

Row 1: P1, K3, K2tog, K1, Yo, P2, Yo ,K1 ,Ssk, K3, P1

Row 2: and all even rows: K1, P6  ,K2 , P6 , K1

Row 3: P1, K2, K2 tog, K1, Yo, K1, Yo, K1, Yo, K1, Ssk, K2, P1

Row 5: P1, K1, K2tog,  K1, Yo, K2, P2, K2, Yo, K1, Ssk, K1, P1

Row: 7: P1,       K2tog, K1, Yo, K3, P2, K3, Yo, K1, Ssk,        P1

Row 8:   K1,  P6,  K2,  P6,  K1.

Abbreviations:  K=Knit, P=Purl, Yo= Yarn Over, Ssk= slip as if to knit, slip a second st as if to knit, knit them together in that position, SKP= slip one st as if to knit, slip second st as if to purl, knit them together in that position. K2tog = knit 2 st together. PM= place marker,  

Cast on 97 sts.
Knit 6 rows in seed sts. Then:

 Maintain border with Seed sts. pattern with 5 sts,  the Lacy pattern w/16 sts.
            PM, K 55 sts,PM
            Lacy  pattern for the next 16 sts.
            PM. Follow seed pattern for the next 5 sts for maintaining border. ( 97 sts)

Maintain border and patterns until the piece measures approximately 6 inches ( or whatever you want.  I made 6.5 inches),  or  the when the  8 rows of Lacy pattern is finished ending with a K row.

Last row of Body: (with 97 sts)

Border ( Seed st pattern ) w/5 sts.   Purl 19 sts,   Bind off 6 sts
Purl 37 st    Bind off 6 sts
Purl 19 sts,   Border ( seed sts pattern) w/5 sts.
Cut yarn. Place body in a spare needle. (=97sts)

Cast on 27 sts.
Work on Seed sts for 6 rows.
Increase 8 sts evenly (over the next 5” or approximately 30 rows.  I increased 2 every 5th and 6 row) for ultimately getting 35 sts. 35 sts.
Work evenly in stockinette sts until piece measures 5.5” ending with a K row.
On the last row: Bind off 4 sts. Purl to last 4 sts. Bind off last 4 sts. You have 27 sts now.

Make 2 .

Maintain border (Seed pattern) w/5 sts.
K 19 sts, of the front, PM
K27 sts of the sleeve, PM
K37 sts of the back, PM
K27 sts of the sleeve, PM
K19 sts of the front, PM
Maintain border (Seed pattern) w/5 sts.
Purl 1 row maintaining border.

Next row- begin decreasing and making button hole.

Button hole: K2, Yo, K2tog  in Row 1, Row 9 and Row 17 or as you please.

K2, Yo, K2tog, K1, Kto 3 sts before marker.
K2 tog, K1, slip marker, K1, SKP, Knit to 3 sts before marker
K2tog, K1, Slip marker, K1, SKP, Knit to 3 sts before marker
K2tog, K1, Slip marker, K1, SKP, Knit to 3 sts before marker
K2tog, K1, Slip marker, K1, SKP, Knit to end maintaining border pattern

Row 2 : Maintain border pattern, P to last 5 sts. Border.
Row 3: Repeat Row 1 with out the button hole .
Row 4 : Same as Row 2.

Keep on working maintaining button holes as needed until there is no st left in the sleeves between the raglan pattern.   In other words the two raglan pattern in the sleeve will merge.  At this point make the neck band.

Make the seed pattern for 4 rows.  Bind off on the 5 th row.


Sew up sleeves and underarms.  Sew on three buttons appropriately to fit the holes.  Weave all loose ends.  If you want block the piece to give it a nice touch.

This pattern is made by me using two resources that I am thankful to.
Http:// is where I got the lacy pattern.  I loved the pattern she used there.  But I did not quite make that.

For the main template of the Baby Cardigan I used the pattern from
 Plymouth Yarn C116 – The Yarn Patch, FantasyNaturale.  Again I modified it quite a bit.  I did not use the lacy design in that pattern,  just the template for the cardigan.

Hope you enjoy this pattern.  Please leave me some comments if you happen to try it.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Aftermath of a Jewelry Craft Show - What to do after the show is over

What do you do after a jewelry craft show?

You evaluate.
Why and how?

I had a jewelry craft show last weekend.  I meant to let you know all about it , but just could not get enough time to write the post.

It was free,  a  no- booth- fee show and that is why I had taken it.  But was that a good thing?  You tell me your opinion at the end in the comment.

My story:
I thought before signing up what would I lose?  I'd get some exposure, know more vendors and people, see what people liked, what they picked up and put down.  Was price an issue?  It would give me all these valuable insights.

So I took all my inventory, did a practice show display at home, spent 8 hours on preparation ( not making any jewelry), took my tent and all my things, woke up five o'clock on a Saturday morning and headed for the show.

In the show I spent the whole day, that is ten hours from prep work to breaking down.  At night I was so tired I just took a couple of pain killers and slept.

Half of next day went unloading and recuperating.

What was it like:

I found the tent had to be set  on shredded bark. It is a farm.  I was wearing an open toe shoe!

 There was no traffic other than the vendors.  Many of them were grouchy because they were at the back and no one knew that they existed.  The promoters asked only donations from us but charged $15 tickets as entry fee from public  which we did not know before applying. This  discouraged outside traffic.

My neighbor   vendor was a deaf lady in a wheel chair.  When I saw that her friend/partner  brought some card board slabs to roll the wheel chair for her friend with a big smile on her face, I had a different perspecitive.  They sold bath products.

They were my only customers but bought $60 worth of stuff.  I bought from them too, which gave me a nice soothing bath later at night!

One thing I learned - to take notes objectively.  Here are the points I took notes on that may help you in such situations.  I got it from Rena Klingenburg's e -  book Ultimate Guide to your Profitable Booth  which I bought.  It has many good ideas.

 No I am not an affiliate of this product, just a fan of her website. Here are the points I checked after the show:

Event:A&Z show in Martinez:
 Date:Oct 2014.

My  expenses (show fees, advertising,
transportation, lodging, food): Minimal with in $5

My income (sales total; was it what you
expected?): $60. Quite bad but they say you have a profitable show if you have made 10 times the booth price.  I did.

The show itself (well advertised? crowd
size? problems? would you do this show
again?): No crowd. No I'll not.

My  promotions (What pre-show promoting
did you do? Did it pay off?): I e mailed my earlier clients. No ad cost

My booth (location, size, pros and cons):  Putting up a tent on wet bark chips was not fun.  But it did not have any wind, or other weather problems. So not very bad.

My displays (what got attention, what
didn’t work, what was a pain?): I got compliment for my booth but it was a pain. I need to simplify it.

My  jewelry (what sold, what was ignored,
what did people ask for?): $10 - $20 stuff.  Lots of compliments for hard work but no sales.

My  customers (age groups, personal
styles, spending levels, who browsed, who
bought?) : I had only 3 customers Age 45- 60.  Female.  But younger visitors appreciated the style.

My overall sales (small sales, big sales,
single purchases, multiple purchases? bought
for self or gift?): For self.

My specials (how did sale prices and
volume discounts do?):

My packaging (what worked, what
didn’t?):Worked well.

My pricing (most popular price point?
prices right for this show?):$10

What should I do?

More rings and simple earrings under $20, $15 and $10 range.

These adjustable  rings were a hit and sold most.

The biggest thing I learned from this show is:  The deaf lady in the wheel chair had a big smile and did not complain like us, other vendors! . Her radiance  and  positive attitude was contagious . And with all kinds of inconveniences we chat with sign language and body language, helped each other and had a pretty good time.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

All about Jewelry Craft Shows - Three most crucial things for a profitable craft fair

Three most important things for a profitable jewelry craft show.

I've been doing jewelry craft shows for the last four years and about six to seven each year.  Still there is so much to learn.   There is much info regarding craft shows in general in the web, my focus is only on Jewelry Craft Shows.

I came to know about this 31 days blog, where you commit  for writing 31 days,  one blog each day in the month of October.  But by the time I came to see that,  11 days have passed already.  Oh well, I'll do with the rest of 20 days . Besides, writing every day is a big thing.  May be that is why I took to do the best I can.  What shall I write about?

I found  that I am reading and researching a lot about Jewelry Craft Shows lately and so I'd take my readers to this awesome journey for the month of October with me,  with  all that I find in my research, experiments, failures and successes.    So here we start with the three key, most important aspects:

For Whom:

For whom am I making and trying  to sell my jewelry?  Do I know them?


 Know thy Audience   is the mantra for a profitable jewelry show. Knowing and connecting with my customers are important points.  How can I do that?

The first thing I must do is informing them:  e mail and snail mail  my customers of previous shows  with pretty pictures of my jewelry and a coupon, inviting them  to my current show. I’ll post it in Face book too.

 The connecting part is equally important as well. Listening to what they are looking for, remembering their needs and getting back to them  if possible, or just connecting genuinely,  are the key elements. That is what people remember and those are good karma as well.

I try to know about the traffic and the demography of  each show I participate..  For example, I am doing a show  next week where there was no booth price. I usually do not do these kind, but with zero booth fee,  I wanted  to give it a try this time.

I am definitely taking and displaying my low- end products more this time with a nice intricate wire work pendant as a FREE giveaway to collect names and addresses for interested customers in future.

On the other hand, another  show will be in a boutique environment, in an upscale neighborhood where the demography is very different.  I think my more upscale pieces will be appreciat there, though I'll take under $20 items but not my $5 items.

Why :

Why am I doing this show?  First of all I want to sell.   Also, because I am getting exposure to a lot of new people, local vendors and potential clients for my up coming shows with out any booth fee,   though I decide to give 10% of my sale as a token of appreciation for inviting me.

Network -
What I should do before and during and after the show as opportunity comes,  is to know the other vendors, exchange business cards and build a network.

After the show I must send Thank You notes to all my customers who bought my jewelry with a 10% off gift coupon for future  sales.  Also it is a great time to keep in touch with the new vendors I just would meet.In the past   I got great information about upcoming shows and other business related help from fellow vendors.  I came to know which shows are good and which ones are not,  quite easily.   I also support them buying from them and referring them to potential clients and my friends.

What goes comes around.


What shall I bring?  Depending on the demography, traffic and other things,  like the season, trend etc I decide what to take.  For this no- fee show I think I am going to take more  under $20 things.


One of my artist friend takes her not so good finished products, we call  them our "pillars of success" and put them in a bin telling frankly that those are the  practice pieces, may be defective  and  not perfect and mark them very low, like $1 or $2 while she sells similar perfect products for $25.  It shows people  how much goes to learn a particular technique, how much time and material is spent that we do not get back.  People do buy them at that cheap price because they can break them and  re use the beads and findings. I think I might give that a try for this show.

Earrings:  I agree that earrings sell most in jewelry craft shows.  This time I am taking all kinds- studs, drops, hoops, elaborate chandeliers.  My price points are from $8 - $35.

I made some adjustable rings too.  I learned the basic technique  from Rena Klingenberg’s FREE  tutorial  and then improvised my own twist.  Let’s see how they move.

I’ll display some mid range and  higher end stuff  and bring along most of my inventory in case some one wants any thing special.

Slide show of jewelry- I’ll have a slide show of my high end jewelry pieces in my lap top and run it.
Will let you know next time what went well and where I goofed.  Please share yours too.  I’d be anxiously waiting for them.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wire weaving and how I solved a problem

I wanted to make a wire woven pendant.

 I had a  do nut bead which I wanted to adorn with wire weaving.

I have this wonderful tutorial by Gailavira and some previous experience  with wire weaving.

Look at my first try that I did a couple of years ago.
Alankarshilpa-   SOLD

But after a  couple of years gap of doing this type of wire work I found I have lost a lot.

Now look what it is doing to me:

What's wrong?  Why is the wire not listening to my command?  Because, wires have their individual memory, and their way of acting out.  I was frustrated, because I had done this project.

What can go wrong?  I was using 20 g for the base frame.  The tutorial asked for 18 g.  I don't
 have it handy.  I was using 26 g  for the weaving part.

This  time I used 20 g , because that's all I have , but  I used 28 g.

Oh yes, it made a big difference.  The wire is much obedient now.  It is capable of following direction.

I am enjoying the over and under basket weaving motion now.  And look  I did two of them.

And a third one !

So I learned that:

1. Practice makes it perfect.  It took me 90 minutes to make the first one, 70 minutes to make the second and only 55 minutes to make the third.  I learned to track the time it takes to do wire work projects.  It helps me when I do the pricing.  Therefore I'd do an average to price them for selling purpose.

2. 20 g is fine for the base.  It gives me better flexibility than 18 g  for my hands.  But 26 g as a support wire does not work for me.  The brands of wires are also important.  I found art wire by soft flex works best.  It is a bit more expensive but worth it.

Now, which one do you like best. The 1st, 2nd or last?  I am taking a poll.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Zentangles, Polymer clay and Kids

Zentangles, polymer clay, play do and kids…these are few of my favorite things.

I am out of town.  My etsy store is on vacation mode now.  But that does not mean that I am not working.  My brain and heart both are  working fine and hard .

Recently, I came across some thing called Zentangle.

What is Zentangle?   

 Some call it “The yoga of your  brain”

I like how  they define it saying - We believe that life is an art form and that our Zentangle Method is an elegant metaphor for deliberate artistry in life.

 It is doodling, but not quite.  It is deliberate, yet free, not busy work, but engaging.  Find out for yourself  searching in the internet  and then you’ll find that  you are kind of missing those 3” square papers if you are not doing it. 

And then I found another one in the web :

Here are a couple of my Zentangle art try outs 

Both my grand kids, one five year old and the other two are impressed and hooked like me.  And you can calm them easily taking out some 3” paper squares and a pen.

And here are some that my five year old grand daughter made;

My other favorite thing is playing with clay.  Recently I came across this wonderful site where I found I could transfer those zentangles on the clay, I mean polymer clay.

Isn’t it cool?

I could have my grand child draw some thing and then we could make a pendant with that.

But that did not happen yet.

Did you like  the zentangle video?  Tell me what come in your mind for a future project?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Polymer Clay - Lessons learned: Why some of them are brittle

Why   did some of my polymer clay work  break?

This was very disturbing.

I was feeling quite comfortable with my clay work and bought some more clay. Last time I worked mostly with Premo brand.  This time I picked some Sculpey lll as they were on sale in Jo Ann.  But not the Premos.

Some where I read there is not much of a difference among the different clay brands.

I learn a lot from the web and recently  I also  bought  some tutorials from Etsy.  Some of them are just  great and even free, while  the one I recently bought for $12  is totally junk.

Any way, after I doing some hands- on practices, I came to know that some where I goofed understanding  the Skinner blend thing.

 I don't have a pasta machine yet, I was using my rollers.  I was getting some skinner blend effect but not quite  what I had  expected.

Similarly I made some mistakes understanding the Sutton slice  too, but in the process I discovered some thing on my own which I came to know is called Marbelizing.

Any way, I was happy with my new discovery and here are the results:

When they were cured, I mean baked, I let it cool.  Then I sanded and polished and finally varnished it too for the gloss.

I put tiny holes using tooth pick on most of them, but forgot two.  I thought I'd do that when they are dried.

I let it dry for more than 12 hours and then I wanted to finish it with wire work.

I used 20 g wire and immediately one of the earring pieces broke.

I thought I'd use 22 g .  Again the same thing happened.

Finally it took 24 g for the wire work with all the twisting, turning, swirling that were involved.

But why should it be so brittle?

I did not have this problem with the other ones I tried last time?

I researched and found that the reasons could be:

1. I used Sculpey instead of Premo and several sites concluded that Premo is a stronger clay after baking than Sculpey.

2. My pieces were not consistently 1/4 inch thick.  That is one criterion I must remember.  The baking time is 275 F for 30 min for 1/4 inch thickness.

3.  Sculpey says to bake in  275 F for only 15 minutes .  I did it for 30 minutes.  Is over doing bad?  There are mixed opinions on that. So from now on I'll probably use Premo, but be extra careful with Sculpey lll since I already have some of that left, and I like this design with thinner width.  Some  say it is okay to mix two different brands.  I might use the scupeylll as a core with Premo on the top.

I came to realize that unless I  really do it, I can't tell how much I have really internalized this new medium.

Another Polymer clay jewelry article:

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Thursday 30

I  came across this wonderful blog - Alice dreaming where I got this super cool idea of  30 Words Thursday .

So,  I can write only thirty words  no more no less - and that will be my blog post.

I was thinking about FREEDOM since tomorrow is  4th of July -our Independence Day

And I came up with this quotation from Nelson Mandela.

That is my 30 words Thursday blog post!

"As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to freedom, I knew if I didn't leave any bitterness and hatred behind I'll still be in prison."


Friday, June 27, 2014

How to put a Navbar on my blog and organize posts accordingly

How to put Navbar on my blog and organize posts accordingly - that was exactly what I had been struggling to find out lately.

You may laugh at my problem but I am sure there are people who are just as web savvy as I am.  The learning curve is different for each of us and we are at different spots in that huge curve too.

But I found out that if you are persistent there is a way.

There are lots of generous people out there who are willing to share what they know.

Just put your problem in the search and you'll get some where.

First of all, there are some  You tube videos  by John Sommers   that were were helpful.  But you do forget important steps  just viewing or listening. You need that guide when you are doing it.

 So I went to this site.  She explained it just in a way that I could understand.

I printed out this valuable post. Just follow the steps.

How I put the Navbar:

She literally took me by my hand, follow the steps in her blog. and I could put  the Navbar in the  Lay out page of  my  blog

At this point I have just two labels or titles or categories - Business and Tutorials.

I have 155 posts so far.  They are  all over my blog  .  I wanted my readers to find what they need, when they need,  that I have taken time to write for them.

I want to share my mistakes and my success to help  others.  That is why I was trying to put a  Navbar in my blog.

Why didn't I do it earlier?

I tried,  but I was not this persistent .  I was determined  not to quit until I  learn it and find it,  this time.

And I did. And if I can,  I am sure any body  would too.

Organizing the posts under the relevant labels:

Now organizing my posts according to the labels is another road block where I got stuck for a long time.

This wonderful writer whom I don't know personally, cleared it for me.

All you have  to do is go to your post and  at the bottom, just before the comments, in my case,  you see the picture of a  pen, click it. 

It will take you to the HTML page where you  write, where you can edit your work.  At the very right hand side you'll find the word Label with a little tab icon.  Just write your label there, for example I might write the word Tutorial or Business for my two labels that I am working on.

Now click View Blog.  You'll find at the very end of your post - just before comments- the word Label and your specific label ( tutorials in my case or Business) .

Now if you click that word all the posts that have that particular label will appear there.  So you will get all my tutorials under the Tutorials heading.

Isn't that cool?

And most importantly I learned something that I was trying to learn for a long time.  It was great sharing it with you.

I have tried many blogs and web sites that tried to answer this question or solve this problem.  These two were the most lucid ones for me. And I want to thank them profusely.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

What is the Most Popular Color in Jewelry?

Alankarshilpa- The Blues

I was wondering - what is the most favorite popular color in jewelry?

What is yours?

I did some research on this online.
Hope that will help me in my jewelry making and help my readers  too.

My  own experience showed that it is RED.  Whenever I put some vibrant red jewelry on the bust, in my craft shows,  people are drawn to it immediately.  It sells fast,   even if the workmanship of the next piece is much complex and more note worthy.

But my  online research says some thing else.

Statistically and historically the color is BLUE.

From denim jeans to corporate logos, the color blue consistently ranked as the world’s most favorite color according to Color

It has been noted that-

53% percent of the world flags have blue in them

Blue jeans are worn most all over the world as casual dress.

A dark blue suit is considered most professional business attire

Aristocracy is blue blooded in European language.

Mother Mary wears blue lapis lazuli in most art

Lord Krishna’s body is blue.

Look at this experiment in this  blog - True Colors – Break down of color preferences by gender.

Both male and female audience chose blue.

The most popular jewelry color around the world is blue.

From the days of Egyptian royalty lapis lazuli was designated as the official color of the pharaoh. It remains popular today, in part because blue evokes feelings of loyalty, dependability, commitment and relaxation. It is also less gender specific and looks great on men as well as women. The blue sapphire is currently the most popular and most affordable of the top gemstone- according to Appropriate Fashion Colors for Every Fashion Statement

Let’s see what Pantone says for Fall 2014 jewelry trend.

“ This is a season of untypical colors- more reflective of imagination and ingenuity, which makes for an artful collection of colors and combinations, not bound by the usual hues of fall”- Leatrice Eiseman – Executive Pantone Color Industry.

Create an individual imprint

For example, take Sangria red or Aurora Red for a more sophisticate red

Pantone Fall   2014 trend:

Then I like this Sangria in the goblet.

I love that wine color!  Ooh! So yummy.

Choose Bright Cobalt that has a subtle twist on the traditional Cobalt Blue.

Look at Cognac a classy cultured brown and the Misted Yellow.  These are the popular color trends this Fall season 2014, suggest  Pantone color specialists.

My favorite color changes according to the season and  my mood of that particular day. I can’t say blue is my all time favorite color.  When I choose color I am more in the present.

But now, today, I am drawn to a vibrant vivacious color.  I am feeling like working with some rich lapis lazuli.

So it is BLUE again? 

Alankarshilpa - Knitted wire jewelry in blue.

I am curious to know what is your favorite color.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Polymer clay jewelry with stamp and a shine

I found the answer - How do you bring the shine on your stamped polymer clay?

I found the answer -Yesterday was my second day with Polymer Clay jewelry making .  As I am playing  with play do more and more with my grand children,  I am getting more and more interested in trying out polymer clay jewelry making.

Here is what happened yesterday

At  the very right hand corner you see what my husband calls pillars of success - the broken ones that got ruined while adding the wire part to it.

I used Fimo and I think I used 250 degree for about 20 minutes.  Next time I'll raise the oven temp a little bit more and keep it for longer. 

I found a great site where Gina was demonstrating using the embossing thing. Here is the link of the video .

What I liked about it  is that the raised , stamped part had a nice metallic finish.  How can you do it with out using metal clay or powder?

  I did not quite have quite the ingredients she mentioned, not her stamp, or the particular embossing thing,  but I had some embossing powder that needs heat to show the gold shine.  So I used that.

At the very left hand corner I integrated it with my wire knit jewelry part and I will finish it as a pair of earring.

Today, I went to Michael's and bought some Primo- I think Fimo and Primo are kind of same, and the kind Gina mentioned in the video for the embossing material too.  It was on sale 40% off - other wise the thing is pretty pricey $18.

Anyway I'll show what I am coming up with in the upcoming posts soon.

I am also seriously working on wind proofing my  craft display ideas.  I do have a show in early June, so every day I am working a little bit on that aspect. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Wind proof Jewelry Craft Display

How to survive a windy craft fair for your jewelry display?

 How to display my jewelry for the craft show against horrible wind ?  I am at my wits end.

I am serious about displaying my jewelry for craft shows with the most beautiful and functional way.  And I work hard to make it look aesthetically pleasing  and functional. A week earlier I do a mock show display  at my home , in my living room, even after doing craft shows for the last five years and at least six or seven shows a year so that I do not forget any thing. So that I can give the best I can.

Still, it was such an embarrassment  this weekend in an out door show that it took me quite awhile to get over with it.

Here is how it looked in the beginning:

After 2:30 pm the wind stared catching up.  First, it knocked off my two  rotating wire earring stands that hold 24 earrings earring each. Then the busts one by one with necklaces on them.  It totally destroyed my whole theme, all my planning, my pride and self confidence. And  when people started to come back to my store for the second time  after they have seen all the booths, this  is what they saw.  I was totally crushed.

What do they see now ?  My earrings are flying, bracelets on the floor...I am running around like a chicken with out head.  I was almost in tears.

My friend, a ceramic artist and I was sharing the booth.  This was her turn to bring the tent and the weights.  She forgot the weights. And we found after we hoisted the tent,   that part of the tent is  broken, We kind of managed- the roof was not all the way up, and it was not that noticible.  But forgetting the weights was disastrous.

We could  not go home at that point, we had to find a solution very quickly. All my jewelry was flying all over.  I started putting the necklaces  that were on the busts just flat.  Put all the earrings in a basket ( thank God, I had some extra baskets).  We took off the sides  of the tent which was working as a sail  at that point and then took off the whole tent with the help of our kind neighbors.

Fortunately I made okay selling before this catastrophe started,  so made the booth fee and some more.  But the whole thing made me feel very low.

We have already signed up and paid  for another show in August right  here and many vendors said it is typical that the wind will be there.  So I need a solution.

 I took a deep breath and remembered
  So I decided to  think about strategies.  First of all the remedy for wind is weight.

Bring weights - not only for my self but for the neighbors too - just in case.

I do use stones in pillow cases that I tie around the legs of the tent at the bottom.  No matter what,  I should always bring them.  In case my neighbors forget them, it will be giving them an important helping hand, besides we are not alone in this journey.   I learned that my neighbor  vendors' mistakes can affect me.

I read from the comments in a blog - a fellow sufferer, Janice writes - "... that not only weights at the bottom of the legs, the key is to attach the weight to the canopy frame."

How to use weights so that they look pretty?

 I decide to attach some weights to the canopy frame.  How could I do that so that it looks beautiful as well as functional?  I think I'll get some stones or rice bags that I'll tie in  burlap  bags and squares tied with raffia.  I'll use several weights - 5lb, 2 lb and 1 lb weights in the similar burlap squares with raffia to match and  give the display a cohesive look. These bags could be hung from the sides of the tent in a nice way.

There are some useful ideas in Rena's blog where the writer mentions similar solutions to add weight aesthetically, making it cohesive with your display and brand.

Remember bungee cords, sturdy yarns or rope, safety pins, paper clips, silly putty, clamps and all these things that with help against wind.

Flat display:

Think how I can display things flat?
*Use beautiful baskets,
*Trays  uplifted  with easel - ( I did this and it it did not topple)
*Tiles standing on wire easels for necklaces instead of flimsy leather or velvet busts -(save them for indoor shows).
*Here I got a great idea that I am going to steal - the portable jewelry binder
*Boxes with lids attached.

I think I am also going to use boxes as my display.  Cover the Priority Mail Boxes with fixed lids that I receive for  my jewelry  supplies from various on line stores and cover them with the same co ordinating burlap.  I can use the  flap as a vertical side for  hanging necklaces and keep similar necklaces in nice gold boxes for people to find out.

The most important thing it to do a trial show at home on the driveway a week earlier.

Phew!  Instead of making jewelry I have enough home work cut out  now to survive a windy craft fair show.  

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Why Healing Gemstone Jewelry

.Why  would you wear healing gemstone  jewelry or energy jewelry?

Jewelry is worn to make a statement.

 The kings and queens showed their powers and hierarchy wearing the appropriate crowns. 

The rich showed their affluence wearing the dazzling pieces,

Style – uniqueness:
 Celebrities showed their style in their unique chosen piece.

Healing and Energy:
 There is also another reason why people wear jewelry- to heal. To bring positive energy in their lives.

Do gemstones really have healing properties?

Crystals, gemstones, minerals and the metals we use to make our jewelry have been in this earth for a long time.  They have witnessed and absorbed energies from Mother Earth and the celestial universe, over thousands of years.  Crystals may look inert and still, but they are vibrating, vibrating with energy. 

The scientists have acknowledged that fact. One simple example is- the use of crystals in watches or use of quartz in surgical instruments.   Various old civilizations have given thoughts and respect to this aspect of energy and have used it in healing. The Hindus and Buddhists used the Chakras, the Celtics, Native Americans and the Far East civilization; all understood the potentials  the gemstones have for healing.

While we sometimes may feel skeptical like Benjamin Dean, poet, philosopher, holistic healer – who says “How in the world can a rock help to heal?” we find the answer agreeing with him – “Any thing can heal if you can open your heart to it.   Receptivity is a necessity.”

“Healing occurs because stones bring the hidden core of spirit energy to mind” – explains Ms. Elisbeth in her writing.

Healing properties of Gemstone Chart:

There are several resources where you can find the healing properties of different gemstones and crystals, just by searching the Google search.  I'll just give one example.  I use many of them  for cross references, to be sure. 

Cleansing energy jewelry:

Holistic healers and even a lay person like me, who believe that the gemstones have healing powers, are serious about cleansing the gemstones to energize them with positive vibes.

 Because the gemstones, crystals and minerals are here for thousands of years and have absorbed energies, they might have absorbed some negative energy too.  Therefore, it is important to cleanse them and charge them with positive vibes.

“You catch a sight of a beautiful crystal, but when you pick it up it feels strange, you wear a necklace and you feel suffocated, even though there is plenty of wiggle room.  … What you perceive is the invisible ballast “explains Michael Gienger , in his book, Purifying Crystals

Holistic healers use different kinds of cleansing methods: the Sun and Moon method, the running water method (where you let the crystal be under a natural running water source like a river, brook, water falls not tap water), the Reiki, are  just some examples.

Reiki Method:

The one that I’d follow is the Reiki method.

What is Reiki ?

 In a nutshell Reiki is a form of energy balancing, the gentle healing art of hands that is used to help and heal any living thing. 

Mikako Usui , a Japanese Buddhist monk( 1865- 1926) brought this healing art into the modern world from the Far East around 1922.

Reiki method is also used to cleanse any negative energy and charge the gemstones used with positive energy, to manifest its positive healing properties.

I do not have formal Reiki training,  but I use my prayers and cleansing rituals so that the gemstones  I  use in my jewelry may fulfill their healing energies.

One experience I’ll share with you before ending this post.  

 I had made a bracelet with the gemstone,  apatite.  Apatite has the power to control appetite, or  help with emotional eating.  I had given that to a friend whom I wanted to help.   She was struggling with her weight loss.

 She  came back after six months losing significant amount of weight and gaining a lot of self confidence.

 I am sure her positive thinking, creative visualization, receptivity to my good wishes and hard work all contributed to that result.  But I cherish her comment –“Your bracelet was beautiful to wear in parties, and whenever I thought of taking second helpings on my plate,  the amazing apatite beads held my hand.”

You may want to read her story here.-, The Healing Blue Apatite  

Friday, January 31, 2014

How to write the perfect product description for my real customers in my Etsy shop

  Perfect Product Description for my real customers in my  Etsy shop

I had no idea that  writing a product description for my product in my Etsy store is just  not quite enough.

I thought what I need to tell my online customers  are- the dimension of my item; the materials used and may be the technique I use.  But that is not all.

I understood that I need to make the SEO happy as much as I need to satisfy the real customers, who are people, not keyword crazy robots.

This article is about how to satisfy the real customers  with my product description.

Wear your customer’s hat
Of course, it is important that I need to tell the customers about the dimension, material and techniques used in my jewelry, but what is more important is putting myself in the buyer’s seat.

Roberto Verganti writes in the book Design-Driven Innovation

“People do not buy products, but meanings. People use things for profound emotional, psychological and socio cultural reasons as well as utilitarian ones"

I hear the same resonance in the article -  Let your customers see themselves in your products:

Let your potential customers know what good your product is for them
Let your browsers know how the piece will make her feel against her skin.

It is important to include the measurements and features in your description but don’t let those be your main focus.

These are the key things I’d remember from this article.

Tara Gentile in her article (Writing 101: Customer friendly descriptions)

 “Item descriptions are a great exercise in selling psychology”

Here she points out how the product description can  change as we change our perspective.

As a  jewelry maker I  focus on writing about the dimension of my jewelry, what it is made of, my experience about finding that awesome material or  how much I put into it to create.  Those are things that are reflected in my description.

When I wear the customer’s hat, take the customer’s perspective  I am  thinking – how is that jewelry piece  going to affect my  mood, looks or  decision, environment etc.

 The priorities are completely different.

As a seller my  job is to pluck that string – how is it going to make my customer feel extra special owning my product.

I have to remember to switch the perspective, wear my customer’s hat and think – what is there in  me from that piece?  why or  how  is that product so essential, that I should buy it right now?

 Here, I have a fabulous thing I want to share with you -  I found a great worksheet that you can down load for FREE

 It has helped  me polish my product description for  my  real  customers.  

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