Thursday, December 29, 2016

CRAFTING: What Does An Effective Video Tutorial Look Like?

Mark Montano has such a colorful studio, where he makes tutorials on quick and easy crafts. I like his music tracks, and the way that he pauses for each step. He clearly indicates what to use and how to do it. It is also easy to understand what he is saying, because he speaks precisely and loudly. He is a professional, so if you want to start creating your own vid tuts, take note on how Mark does it! Subscribe to his YT channel.

Check out this tut for gorgeous southwestern-inspired decor: How to: No-Sew Cactus Pillows. 




I'd love to begin creating vid tuts for some of my fav projects, but really don't see that happening anytime soon. It's like an either-or plan. Do I create less, and produce vid tuts for past projects, or do I forget about vid tuts and continue with current and upcoming projects? Product listings and shop highlights vids can be made in half a day. Tuts can take much longer. The best that I can hope for at this time is an occasional tut. When? Who knows? I'm a creator. I dream all of the time.


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

TIME MANAGEMENT: Taming The Picture-Taking Beast



Well, I just finished editing another 11 pics for a new product that I need to list. As I tensely sat forward in my chair, and leaned towards the computer, working as fast and focused as I could to swiftly complete the task, I remembered my promise. I promised myself that I would stop taking so many pics of my products.

I'm an amateur and handmades products photographer who uses a PS. I taught myself how to skillfully take pics by starting years ago with a $60 camera (on special for $25) from Office Max. I learned what it takes to product clear, sharp up close photos, leading me to upgrade to a camera with a macro feature. Along the way, I learned how to edit photos that I uploaded into my computer. The first ones were almost microscopic, because I didn't understand about resolution and pixels. So through much trial and error, I have become a pretty good photographer/image editor.


I've just fallen in love with the photography process. Though I also love image editing and manipulating, the number of pics that I take has become a burden. I am such a prolific creator, that I just don't have time to run free with photography. It does not help that the many angles of the recommended and necessary product photography is very exciting to observe through the viewfinder.

Some products require more images than others, so that prospective customers can get a complete view of the handiwork. Recently, I began wanting to have at least one unique image for each product that I list simultaneously at various venues. That is not helping my resolve to reduce the number of pics that I take.

I promised myself that I would take a maximum of 4 photos of my products, and increase it when necessary. That necessary resulted in the 11 pics of my Handmade Dragonflies Decorative Envelope

Some products require more images than others, so that prospective customers can get a complete view of the handiwork.

Handmade Dragonflies Decorative Envelope by Artsy Craftery Studio

I've just fallen in love with the handmades products photography process.

Handmade Dragonflies Decorative Envelope at Paper Euphoria
I'm doing ok with keeping my resolution, but I still need to work harder to prevent so much relapsing. I'm almost to the point where I spend way too much time producing product photos ~versus~ creating products. Don't you know: the business management side of creating to sell is the bane of the creative?

Thursday, December 15, 2016

HOT BEVERAGE DRINKER: Coffee To Carafe Joy



Like everyone else, I used to drip my coffee and leave the pot sitting on the hotplate all morning. I would pour from this pot throughout the day, drinking the rapidly darkening and burned-smelling liquid.  I'd always noticed that the brew seemed to become more bitter or strong as I neared pouring the last cup. Though this annoyed me, adding more cream and sugar made it better. I was a coffeehead, and thought this was the way it had to be done. I was going to drink coffee, no matter what.

After I joined, I received a free, black plastic carafe from the Gevalia monthly coffee club, and promptly stored it in the cabinet. I was not going to take time to pour my coffee into it. Anyway, I liked my coffee hot, not lukewarm like I thought the carafe would keep it.

One day, I decided to pour my coffee into it. Afterall, I'd gotten coffee from vacuum pots at cafes, and it came out steaming. I think also that on that day, I wanted to take a batch of my coffee with me to another room. Well, my pot was not a vacuum pot, but I was surprised at how long the brew stayed hot! It tasted almost freshly-brewed. It was still thin and translucent, not dark and thick-tasting as when it was left on the hotplate. 



That day I poured to my heart's new content, and only had to reheat the last cup in the microwave. One day, I left some coffee in the carafe overnight. Well, the next morning the coffee was warm, not lukewarm! So I became sold on decanting fresh-brewed coffee. I have since broken my precious Gevalia pot, finding out that it was glass inside when I dropped it. Unfortunately, have not been able to find another like it. The double-wall aluminum pot, that I ordered from Amazon, with the temperature needle in the cap does not keep my coffee hot for even 2 hours, a far cry from what my beloved Gevalia carafe did.
_________________________
The Creative Seller

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

SMART BUSINESS MOVE: Switch To An Online Calendar

I have started using an online calendar, versus the desktop Vue-minder Light, and others that I have tried. I use Outlook online for my mail (along with Mozilla's Thunderbird desktop), so it's convenient to use Microsoft's calendar. From one window, I can switch back and forth between mail, calendar, and the browser applications, Word, Power Point, Docs, etc.

I was reluctant to do this because of privacy concerns, but there is a checkbox where entries can be made private. It is under the start and end times, besides the checkbox for if you want to make the entry All Day or not.

It's more time saving to use an online calendar. I have access to it at both of my computers, and anywhere else where I can sign in to my account.

A smart business move happens when you know you need to make a change, you cut the procrastination, swiftly do your research, and instigate the change, ASAP!
_____________________
The Creative Seller

Sunday, December 11, 2016

MARKETING: Custom Shops In The Tictail Marketplace



I love my new shop at Tictail, Bead Tonic, but am getting no play for my products in the marketplace. This is because despite the fact that all sellers have a marketplace brand page, Tictail has a very tight format, or branding for the site. They don't share all of the individual brands into the marketplace. They state in the FAQs that they are seeking a better design for the search function though, so that everyone's products can be better represented.

If you start typing in "bead" in the search window, my shop name will come up in the drop-down menu suggestions under brands. Unfortunately, if you add an s to it, making it beads, which most people do, my shop name is replaced by others with the word beads in their names.

Also, as of the date of this post, copying the title of one of my product listings, and pasting it into the marketplace search window does not bring up the product. Needless to say, this is disappointing and frustrating.

Otherwise, the free, custom shop is beautiful and I love it! Will be sharing more detail re: Tictail in my next places to list for free feature.

Believe Silver And Denim Blue Christian Bracelet, 7 1/2", handmade with reclaimed blue denim wood beads, and sterling silver double Brazilian chain bracelet marked with ITALY on one side of the clasp, and the 925 mark on the other side
 
Have A Nice Day , 8 1/2 x 2", with wire hanger and beaded fringe across the bottom, is a small collage and mixed media painting that has a cheery greeting incorporated into the design. 


Order by 12/12 for before Christmas delivery. Thanks for visiting Bead Tonic!

_____________________________________
The Creative Seller

Sunday, December 4, 2016

CRAFTING: How To Straighten & Store Rattail Cord

I bought some rattail cords from a seller on eBay. The seller sent them loose, but folded into large loops and secured in the center. When I unfolded it, it was creased and wrinkled, and did not hang straight at all. I thought Oh boy! I'm going to have to stream this!

I thought about wrapping them around cardboard pieces, but realized that it would crease them even more. Then I came up with the idea of wrapping them around toilet tissue or paper towel rolls. It will take longer than steaming to straighten them, but that is ok. It will be awhile until I will be needing them.

I like the smoothness and shimmer of rattail. I will be using the gray and green for necklaces. The cream had more gold in it than I expected, and the metallic is a tinsel that feels somewhat scratchy in places. Not good for necklaces as planned. I'll use it for sewing projects, and for ornaments and other hanging projects.

See this Youtube video on how to make the pretty multi-strand necklace cords:

How To Make Organza & Rattail Necklace Cords


____________________________________
The Creative Seller

Thursday, November 10, 2016

WRITING: How To Start A Blogger Blog-Watch Videos


Starting a blog is easy. If you've always wanted to write often about things that you love, that you know about, and that you want to learn about too, now is the time to get started. You're not getting any younger, and time waits for no one. Remember? Do you want to blog, or do you want to continue dreaming about blogging?

Here is one video about using Blogger.com, by Lashay Hudson, the creator of Dream Home Based Work. I will add more videos soon,  hopefully about other blogging sites.



_____________________________
The Creative Seller

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

WRITING: Start Writing Poems With Short Haiku

When I became interested in writing Haiku, I really thought that I would not be very successful. The intense restrictions in lines and length seemed like a format that would constrain and frustrate me too much.

Instead, I took well to writing in the 5/7/5 format. Here is one of my verses that illustrates the defining feature of this Asian poetic form.


Tissue-Thin Transcience

Tissue-thin red leaves.
Shaking and quaking in gust.
Detach, flip, and fall. 

The Japanese poetry format of Haiku is written in a 3-line stanza, where the lines are 5/7/5 syllables. Some misunderstand this to mean 5/7/5 words.

The easiest way to stick with the traditional format is to count out the syllables of your words on your fingers, as you repeat them. Try it while reading my Haiku. You will see that the first line is 5 syllables, the second line is 7 syllables, and the last line is 5 syllables.

At Poets.org, Haiku is described as "Often focusing on images from nature, haiku emphasizes simplicity, intensity, and directness of expression." It is true. The poet only has a total of 19 syllables in which to squeeze a moment in time. This verse format is the ultimate in distilling an experience onto paper. Though writing a Haiku may seem difficult, the good thing is that the lines do not rhyme.

If you find yourself writing a Haiku about any subject other than nature, you are writing a Senryu.

I hope you post your first Haiku, or second or third, in the comments. That way, I and others can read and give feedback.
_________________________
The Creative Seller 

Poem (c)Holland Writing & Publishing 
Image: Pexels.com Free Stock Photos 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

MARKETING: What Is Spam? Am I Doing It?

I thought Twitter's definition of  spam was interesting, because I encounter members who regularly do at least 3 of these things. We all know that spamming is bad marketing, and we shouldn't do it, but sometimes the line is very thin. It's good to have explicit directions to consider from different sites. Read what Twitter says below:

"Spam: You may not use the Twitter service for the purpose of spamming anyone. What constitutes “spamming” will evolve as we respond to new tricks and tactics by spammers. Some of the factors that we take into account when determining what conduct is considered to be spamming are:
    • if you have followed and/or unfollowed large amounts of accounts in a short time period, particularly by automated means (aggressive following or follower churn);
    • if you repeatedly follow and unfollow people, whether to build followers or to garner more attention for your profile;
    • if your updates consist mainly of links, and not personal updates;
    • if a large number of people are blocking you;
    • if a large number of spam complaints have been filed against you;
    • if you post duplicate content over multiple accounts or multiple duplicate updates on one account;
    • if you post multiple unrelated updates to a topic using #, trending or popular topic, or promoted trend;
    • if you send large numbers of duplicate replies or mentions;
    • if you send large numbers of unsolicited replies or mentions;
    • if you add a large number of unrelated users to lists;
    • if you repeatedly create false or misleading content;
    • if you are randomly or aggressively following, liking, or Retweeting Tweets;
    • if you repeatedly post other people’s account information as your own (bio, Tweets, URL, etc.);
    • if you post misleading links (e.g. affiliate links, links to malware/clickjacking pages, etc.);
    • if you are creating misleading accounts or account interactions;
    • if you are selling or purchasing account interactions (such as selling or purchasing followers, Retweets, likes, etc.); and
    • if you are using or promoting third-party services or apps that claim to get you more followers (such as follower trains, sites promising "more followers fast", or any other site that offers to automatically add followers to your account)."
________________________________
The Creative Seller 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

BUSINESS: Free Places To List Your Creative Products #1



Below are short overviews of websites where you can list your creations for free. Though the account and product listings are free, most venues charge a fee when an item sells, usually a small % of the total sale. Some venues are 100% free, and do not charge a fee when a product sells. This is #1 in the TCS
series of free listing venues.

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Artifyy...
is a comprehensive creatives site where "options include our STORE; where products are sold at a fixed rate, a SERVICE MARKETPLACE; where artists offer individual creative and business services and a JOB BOARD; where consumers can post jobs they need done and talented Artists bid on their jobs!" It is free to join, and you can sell anything that you make (in keeping with their TOS), and any services that you provide. 

It appears that Artifyy is located in Canada (map marker graphic in footer), and was launched in August, 2016. They take credit cards and Paypal. They take 10% on sales, and according to their Q&As the "10% fee goes towards our marketing budget, so we can get your products in front of thousands of consumers every month."  They also hold funds in escrow. Seller withdrawal of funds is through Paypal, and the platform minimum is $50. Not so bad for services and digitals, but if you sell physical products that require shipping, and can foot that bill until your account reaches $50, it may be a great place for you to sell too! I did not see forums or a community, but they have pages at G+, Facebook and Twitter.

Artifyy.com Q&As 

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Fervous.com...
has no listing or monthly fees, and charges a FVF of 5%, for handmades, vintage and crafting supplies. The site uses Stripe payment processor only, which charges fees that are comparable to other payment sites. Fervous has a blog called On The Spectrum, and the rapidly-disappearing-from-other-venues onsite forums. No logging in to another site to hobnob! I like Fervous' format, which is clean and neat! The site is beautiful and the shops are easy to navigate.

Fervous.com Q&As

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GLC Craft Mall... 
has been around since November 2004, and is located in Delta, B.C. which is approximately 20 miles South of Vancouver, B.C. and 20 miles North of Blaine Washington. This venue is for crafters, artists, artisans and designers. For the free basic plan, you can list 12 items. The Basic Plus Store allows listing up to 100 items for a flat rate of $3.50 per month, which is $42 a year.

GLC Craft Mall uses Paypal for order processing, and there are no setup fees, no commissions, no contracts. There is a 30-day free trial for all upgraded plans. Sellers are required to list 6 items, with images and full product descriptions, within 48 hrs of opening a shop. There is a 7-day deadline for shop deactivation, and a 30-day deadline for shop deletion. I wish more venues would adopt this policy.

The owner states that "We only allow 150 Free Basic Stores in the GLC Arts and Crafts Mall! Basic Stores that have not added any product will be Deleted after 30 Days." This is a great feature, one that I've never heard of at any other listing site. It reduces dead shop clutter, and makes the visitor browsing experience much easier and productive. There is no community at this venue, but there is a Facebook page.

The product listing interface, while extensive and complete, can be somewhat intimidating to some sellers. Also, adding images requires a little more time and patience. They are uploaded and stored in your on sight image library, where you can create folders for organization. It is from there that you select images for your listings. GLC Craft Mall has some great marketing and promotion features built into the product listing interface. When you learn to fill it out completely, it will help maximize your SEO.  

***Sellers Please Note: The search function at GLC Craft Mall does not seem to be always accurate, which is frustrating. Part of the problem could be that some unscrupulous sellers could be improperly cross-listing in order to spam visitors. Another reason could be because of a small data-base of sellers on the site, which causes fill-in products to load when the few that the visitor searched have loaded.

GLCCraftMall.com Q&As, Terms & Conditions

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ShopHandmade.com...
is located in Washington state, and offers 100% fee-free shops and unlimited listings for handmades, re-supplies, and creative services. They say, "Sell as many products as you want. Keep all the money. That's it. No catch." Paypal is the money processor, and your products are shared on the site homepage in the marketplace. There are no public or private stats and no on-site community. On the marketplace page at the bottom, the recently updated shops thumbnails have a fun feature. Mouse over a shop to see the main image slide down. 

ShopHandmade.com Store Policy, FAQs & Update

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< 

Vangoe.com...
is an auction option listing site that refers to itself as "the ebay alternative". Be sure to see the ***Sellers Note at the end.  Vangoe: the art of online selling, is not a site dedicated to handmades, but has extensive categories for handmades, and is open to all products, even cars and trucks. They claim to feature a fair feedback system, free re-listing of up to 52 items (above that there must be a fee to relist), and a whopping 14 payment methods. One video can be added to each listing, and they host digital downloads.

Click the BUY button and be served a plethora of categories, including 36 under Arts & Crafts. There is also a separate Arts category, as well as Aviation, Bulk Items and eBay Imported Items. Interesting! The FVF is 5%, except for a small number of categories, which have a higher fee and/or a flat listing fee. From what I understand, sellers are allowed to set an auction listing, or set the listing to unlimited, and not receive bids. I did not see forums or a community, but stores can be faved.

***Sellers Please Note that Vangoe offers free standalone listings, and a$9.95 per month shop feature. If you free list with Vangoe, you will not have a shop home for your products, and no shop banner. Your listings will only be in the stream of the marketplace. Visitors can pull up all listings per seller, but no shop front will show for that seller. To have your own shop front you have to buy the monthly subscription.

Vangoe.com FAQs.
___________________________
The Creative Seller

Sunday, October 23, 2016

CRAFTING: Cutting Memory Wire For Bracelets & Necklaces


Recently began training at Youtube videos to make memory wire bracelets. One crafter stressed the fact that special cutting pliers are needed. 

 Apparently, this is because the composition of the circle-retaining wire is such that cutting it with regular jewelry wire cutters damages them. I have several types of pliers, including flush ones, and was tempted to go with one of them. Decided to check on memory wire cutters prices and availability.

This one is from Amazon:


I found one at Walmart called a parrot-beak wire cutter that was also under $4 then. They both look like the one used by Gail Nettles, the Beaded Jewelry Diva, in her video tut below:

 

I'm excited about digging in my large bead supply to create my designs. If you've ever thought about making memory wire bracelets, get started! It's much easier than it seems.

______________________
The Creative Seller

Thursday, October 20, 2016

MARKETING: How To Make A Youtube Video


You could boost the marketing of your brand by creating a slideshow with Powerpoint, or any other presentation software, like the free Apache OpenOffice Impress, or Youtube. If you use any of the free video programs offered by websites such as Animoto or Kizoa, you will only be able to make a 30- seconds length video. Better than nothing, but not descriptive enough.

To make a longer, free video, you can use Youtube's Creator Studio, available to anyone who has a Youtube account. You automatically have access to Youtube if you have a Google account, though you may have never visited to complete your profile and build your channel.


 
Here are my quick and easy steps to making a Youtube video. You can do it. Just set aside a little pocket of time, take a deep breath, and dive in. You don't even have to do all of my steps at one time. Do 2-3 at a time, when you can make time. You can always delete your practice videos so no one will watch them.  So you can't procrastinate and say that you don't want others to see your flops. So, here we go!





  • Go to Youtube, and sign in if you're not already. Click your avatar in top righthand corner, then select Creator Studio.
  • In lefthand sidebar select Create.
  • Under Create select Video Editor.

,
  • To the left of the video screen select the Camera icon.
  • Under that icon bar select Add Photos To Project, or Add More Photos.
  • Upload your photos from your computer, or select from the photos that Google shows you are stored in your Google Photos acct from images you share at G+, Blogger, etc.
  • Save a name for your project by clicking the Project window near the top left of the page. Change the default name in the window, My Edited Video, to whatever name you want to use. If you are creating a practice video, name it that.
  • If you want to start on another video project, and keep the one you are working on, click the little down arrow beside the word Project, and a drop down menu will show. Click the New Project button (your current video project has automatically been saved), and a new page will be created, with a new project name, again called My Edited Video.  
  • This is where your projects that you don't complete will be. If you have more than one in progress, and don't give them a name, they all will have the name My Edited Video.


  • To continue with your video creation, lay your cursor on each pic one at a time, and click the + sign in the corner of each to add the ones you want to the video bar below.
  • As they are added, the video will start playing so you can see how it looks already.


  • To add text, click the "a" letter on the icon bar.
  • Go down to the video bar where your images are and click the 1st image that you want to add text to.
  • Go back up to the text creation window beside the video window and click the word Text.
  • There are several text adjustments that you can make.
  • Be sure to check the box  beside "Enable Text" or you won't be able to see on the video screen the text that you are creating as you make changes.
  • Add text to whatever image you want by clicking each one as you finish the other.


  • To return to the original icon tool bar, where you can add transitions between images, scroll to the bottom right of the page and move the button beside the magnifying glass to the left if you can, or a little to the right.
  • This resets the page to the original icon bar.


  • To add transitions, click the bow tie icon.
  • Click, hold and drag the transition of your choice to the video bar where you images are, and hold it between any 2 images until that between space light up, and then drop it.
  • The dragged transition should drop between the images and the video will start playing.
  • Video plays a lot when you do just about anything. I found that clicking in the blank space to the right of the video bar after your last image usually stops it.


  • To add music, click the music note icon.
  • To listen to the tracks first to choose the one you like, click the play triangle to the left of the track name.
  • To add a track click the plus sign to the far right of the track beside the track length figure.
  • The track will be placed under the video bar where your images are, into the music bar below that.


  • After you add your text, transitions and music, and are happy with your multimedia creation, click Create Video in the blue rectangle at the top right of the page.
  • YT will tell you that it will take a while to process your video, and you will receive a msg when it is completed.
  • You will find your video in your YT Channel beneath your header, beneath Created Playlists, under Uploads. That's where mine are.
  • There are other Youtube Video Creator features that I don't know about, or how to use. The steps above have been all that I've needed to create my videos. I do edit this post as I think of things that may make the instructions clearer and easier.


These are the first 2 videos that I created using the exact steps that I've shared above. For the first one, I used the grid and panning in and out transitions, a purple banner at the bottom of the screen set to maybe 40% transparency, and 2 fonts in white. The length is 2:48 minutes.



For the next video, I used the grid and the diamond transitions, a green banner with a bottom orientation, set to about 60% transparency, and 2 fonts in white. Length is 2:04 minutes.






Play around with the Youtube Creator video maker when you can make time. You can delete any test video that you don't like. So there's no excuse for you not to work on creating your 1st promotional video, and upgrade your brand promotion. Mostly everything I do I started by trying and testing.  Trial and error. One way to do it when you have nothing else!

Good luck! You CAN do it!



_______________________________
The Creative Seller 

Images: Pixabay.com Free Images

Monday, October 17, 2016

Amateur Photography: Flowers From The Yard & POD Products



Walking through my yard, I would see these pretty little flowers growing from 2-5" in the grass. The color was a cross between bright pink and purple, and their stems were so long and skinny. I love small things and working in small spaces, so I began to pick tiny bouquets of them.


I had the perfect tiny vase in which to display them, an empty, glass salt shaker that I was saving for a craft project. Every few days, when the bouquet withered, I would happily walk through the backyard to collect more of the flowers that I discovered are wood sorrels.

I had searched my description on Google, then clicked the images tab. When I found the pic that most resembled them, I followed the link to read about the wild blooms. I have found the identity to many plants by doing this simple research, including beauty berries, sweet gum tree, passion flowers and mimosa (silk) tree.



My bouquet in the makeshift vase was so pretty and the individual stems so lovely, that I decided to try my hand at photographing them. So, these are photos of my lavender wood sorrels, picked from my backyard. These tiny flowers are so delicate,  ethereal almost. I love picking them from among the shamrocks. In fact, they are sometimes called "false shamrocks." They are of the Oxalis species, the largest genus in the wood sorrel family.


I enjoy manipulating my images with filters, and decided to use an impressionist filter for my wood sorrel series. Though I have many years experience, I am an amateur at using image editing programs, and an amateur photographer. If I can do it,you can too.


I use a PS Samsung camera, which stands for point-and-shoot. I had considered buying a DSLR camera, which is a 35mm device, but decided that a PS gives me good quality images that I am satisfied with. Since I like doing close-ups, I make sure that any camera that I buy has a macro feature. This is indicated by a tiny flower icon on a settings button and/or an image in the settings window. 


No two photographs are ever alike, no matter how hard we try to recreate the image in our still life arrangements. My chance to photograph wood sorrels like this will never come again, because the opportunity is once in a lifetime. Subsequent arrangements will have their own beauty though.



You can find my Lavender Wood Sorrel images on POD products at Zazzle.
I currently use a Samsung camera, DV150F model.
My favorite image editing software is Photostudio 6.

Creative Selling Ideas at TCS: 

  1.  Sell your images on products at POD sites.

    a. Practice editing images, and experiment with filters through your favorite image editing program.

    b. Practice taking photos from different angles, up close and far away.

    c. Join a POD site. Search Google for POD websites. Some are Zazzle  , Red Bubble, Cafepress, Society6, Fine Art America.

    d. Learn to take and edit large images, around 6000x6000px. Don't take small images and enlarge them, because your images on the products will be blurry and pixelated. This is a big no-no in POD production. Doing this can usually only work when using certain image enlarging software that smooths the edges of the pixels. 

    e. Learn how to upload your images for sale on products of your choice, at the site that you choose at which to open your shop. 

    Good Luck and Have Fun!


__________________________________
The Creative Seller

Friday, October 14, 2016

NEWS: Yarn Available From Retiring Crochet Crafter


Barbara, at Barb's Crochet, selling off yarn inventory.

Because of health challenges, Barbara at Barb's Crochet will no longer be able to practice her craft. She is offering her large supply of crochet yarn at greatly reduced prices to anyone who is interested.

She says, "I am having to quit crocheting due to my hands. I have a ton of crochet thread on hand that I will sell real cheap if anyone is interested. I have Simply soft, Re Heart, Baby Sport weight yarn and others."

She has shared that she has lots of 4ply Simply Soft, lots of Red Heart Super Saver, and a good bit of Sport Yarn, mostly Bernet. She also says, "I will sell any of it for $1.50 a ball +postage. I also have a lot of partial balls that I will let go pretty cheap too."

Barb has been crocheting for over 6 decades, since she was 12, and her designs are exquisitely executed.  Her plan and hope is, "I am sticking to my sewing and hope it takes over for me."

She says that if the yarn inventory doesn't sell via direct contact, she will most likely list it in her crochet shop. Contact her at crochetbybarb70@gmail.com. "I respond to all correspondence within a few  hours", she promises.

Barbara also loves to do oil painting. Find her other shops here:

Creative Designs by Barb: Handmade Designs For Mom & The Kids
Gallery of Art by Barb: Landscapes, Floral And Abstracts



__________________________________
The Creative Seller



Monday, October 10, 2016

CALL FOR CRAFTS: Pics Featuring Baker's Twine

CALL FOR CRAFTS


Seeking pics of baker's twine used in handmades.


Will be added to this post at The Creative Seller: http://bit.ly/2dWOOPZ along with a link back to your listing/blog/etc. Only requirement if your image is selected: make one comment, at the blog post in question, that contributes to the discussion.



Artsy Craftery Studio 4 Feelings Tags at Paper Euphoria featuring baker's twine ties.
Send your bright, sharp image, with the link back that you desire, along with your shop/blog name and personal name if you want to include that, to sjhollandwriting@outlook.com. I will cut off submissions when I've published what I feel will be enough additional images for the post.

Thanks!
TheCreativeSeller.com
____________________________________________

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

CRAFTING: What Is Baker's Twine?

There used to be a time when I didn't think I could like and use that twisted white and colored twine, though I do enjoy coordinating patterns. The more that I look at it, and use it, the more I like it.

Baker's twine is so festive!


It's called baker's twine! It's so colorful and cheery, and makes me think about a festival or fair whenever I look at it. Watch this short video on how the James Lever Company in the UK makes theirs. It's fascinating.


Baker's twine is very big in the crafting world now, but it originated, and is still used, as a utilitarian bakery string. If you visited any bakeries when you were young, you may remember seeing white pastry or cake boxes tied with it.

From BlissWedding Market


Kristina, at Poppytalk Handmade Artists, shares that baker's twine is also called butcher's twine in Australia, and that it was first used to decoratively wrap around loaves (of bread, I assume). She, like me, has not been able to find any info on the history of it.

Tags with baker's twine from Paper Euphoria.

Brown and white baker's twine added the perfect touch to my brown-theme set of 4 Feelings Tags.

At her blog, Caroline shows you how to make your own version of a baker's-type twine. It's actually very funky! She used a really white twine, which came out beautifully.

Baker's twine adds a colorful punch to craft projects.

The Twinery sells mini bundles, in addition to rolls, and offers economical shipping. I'm sold on this jazzy, triple-twisted cord, and will make sure that I always have some on hand!
______________________________________
The Creative Seller

Thursday, September 29, 2016

NEWS: Amazon Shipping?

Package delivery is on the radar of billionaire Jeff Bezos, who founded the mammoth online retailer Amazon.com., in 1994. CBS TV news is reporting that Amazon is working to get into the shipping business, for itself, sellers and customers. This service would rival UPS, Fedex, and others.

Move over UPS and FedEx, here comes... Amazon?

_____________________________________
The Creative Seller
 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

NEWS: Artfire No Longer Offering A Free Shop...Again?

Have had an Artfire account for years, but never used. Seems that they have been on and off over the years re: offering a free shop. A few months ago went to the site to open a shop, and saw that a free shop was available and 25 products could be listed. I named my shop, and then when I visited some weeks later to begin listing, I could not find the free shop link anywhere.

I messaged them at their Facebook page, and here is part of the conversation,

"Hello AF: Having problems opening my shop because the last step keeps taking me to a page to select 1 of 3 paid subscriptions only. Also, I wrote my bio in all 2 spaces, added pics, etc., and saved but was sent to a 404 error page, so all of my content was lost. Thanks."

"Hello, can you let us know what issue you are having on the plan selection page?
A bio won't save until a plan is selected."


"Signing up for the "free" 25 product limit plan. Do you still offer that?"

"We currently offer a Per Item plan which is $0.23 per listing and includes a 9% commission fee for sales made. This plan has no monthly subscription fee and does not have an item limit."

"Ok. Thanks a lot!"

In not answering my question, they told me what I needed to know. Once again, they have rescinded the free shop offer. I realize that site owners regularly launch upgrades and make changes, but I wish Artfire would have been more stable over the years with this and other issues.  Their subscription fees are high now, and listing fees add up quickly for any who are not high-volume sellers. Many veteran sellers have become disillusioned with the site, which sounds like the situation at that well-known mega-site.

The owner has always maintained that he started Artfire to help struggling sellers, because he saw his mom struggle to become successful as a handmades seller. I doubt his mom, when she started out, could have afforded the fees that he's charging today. So what happened to his compassion for the cottage industry?

I wonder how true this statement from the site still is,

"My inspiration behind ArtFire came as I watched how my customers, independent jewelry makers, were being treated by eBay....I noticed what seemed to be a "tax" on creativity with insertion/final value fees. I thought there should be a better option...."

Well, I know that his stance on rejecting the use of insertion/final value fees has changed. I'm not saying Artfire is a place that should be avoided. I'm just saying that while I may still open a trial shop at that mega-site, I have given up on Artfire. 
____________________________________________
The Creative Seller

Saturday, September 24, 2016

WRITING: Decide Which Lines In Your Poem Should Rhyme

When I felt the inspiration to write this poem, I decided that I wanted to have 3-line stanzas, and rhyme the 2nd and 3rd lines. I don't know what that format is, and it doesn't matter. It's just creating, from the deep sense of self. Usually, I let my poetry flow and create itself, and it will usually be free verse. But sometimes, like with this poem, I attempt to corral in the words and give them a more formal structure.



I SAW A TOUCH OF FALL TODAY

I saw a touch of fall today.
It was the morning when I walked.
The coming season to me talked.


The turning trees along the way
Were not quite turning yet, but I
Expect to see it by and by.


The sky was cloudy, heavy, gray.
As I walked on I heard a word.
It was a bird, but that's absurd.


For birds a word they cannot say,
But in my fancy on my walk,
Imagined I the bird did talk.





Notice how the last words in the 2nd and 3rd lines of each stanza rhyme. This is called end rhyme (Creative), because there is a type of rhyme where words in the middle of lines rhyme. I don't deal much with identifying and naming formal poetry styles. I do use the words Haiku and Senryu, because their formats are easy to understand and practice.


Creative Selling Ideas at TCS: 

  1. Design white greeting card with abstract painted design on front. Begin hand-lettering your poem on front, and continue it on inside for a OOAK product. A card that looks handmade by the giver stands out from manufactured products.

_______________________________
The Creative Seller





Poem (c)Holland Writing & Publishing Sources:

Sources:

Creative Writing Now
Pixabay.com Free Images

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

KITCHEN: How To Make Easy Quick Chicken Soup

Chicken soup with odds and ends.

 Winter's not here yet, but just like with hot coffee I eat soup year 'round. It's fall though, and it's a great time for soup! You can make my Caliblend Quick soup with:
  •  water
  • seasonings
  • any kind of chicken
  • veggies
  • macaroni.
It's all leftovers and odds and ends, therefore, it usually will make only 2 or 3 servings. This is a tasty and fun soup that you make with what you have. After reading my recipe, the next time you will have saved some things.

The Meat


My chicken is a carcass. I never throw away the chicken or turkey carcass. Too much flavor and leftover meat. So once the meat is carved off, I wrap the carcass in aluminum foil and put it in the freezer for when I make my next soup dish. You can use any kind of chicken or other meat, that you have. Canned chicken breast doesn't work well, because it falls apart into a pulp in the soup liquid. You can put chicken nuggets in it, cut up chicken patties, boneless wings, chicken fingers, be creative and adventurous!

The Liquid

So I pull the carcass into 4 pieces, and put them into a pot on the stove. I add as much water as I want, depending on how many servings I want to make. Turn the burner on medium. If I have some saved chicken aspic, I add that. Chicken aspic is the liquid from a baked chicken poured into a container and cooled. Then you would scrape off and discard the thick layer of hardened grease that forms on the top. Underneath is a translucent, chicken-flavored jelly that has many uses, including fantastic soup-making!

I save the liquid from canned/bottled mushrooms also, freezing it for my soups. I add that if I have it. You can use chicken broth, if you happen to have some. I usually keep bouillon cubes, so I'll add 1-2 of those. I like clear soups ~versus~ beef-stew like soups, so I rarely add anything that would cloud the liquid. 

The Seasonings 

You can add any kind of pepper, and salt. Remember that the bouillon cubes, and possibly other stuff you added, will add some salt. You don't want your delicious dish to be inedible. Do you keep seasonings, even if you don't use them often? I do, but I use them often. You can add a little garlic, and onion powder, if you're not adding sliced onions. I like sage, so I add a shake or two, and some paprika. Boy, does it make the house smell good! Like the holidays! If you happen to have some bay leaves or parsley, add some. 

The Veggies

Now! The reason that I call it Caliblend Soup is because I add 2-3 handfuls or more of California Blend frozen vegetables! You know. The big chunks and florets of cauliflower, carrots and broccoli. This time I had some Mediterranean Style veggies left, which is seasoned zucchini, squash, green beans, red/green/yellow bell peppers and onions. Can't remember what else. So I threw some of that in there. 

The Pasta

Of course this is like homemade chicken noodle soup, but I've been using macaroni for a long time. I usually always have some macaroni in a glass canister. Once I broke up some ramen and put that in. Once I used both ramen and macaroni. This time I threw in some elbow macaroni. Right into the pot. I don't worry about how you normally cook macaroni, with the draining and stuff. I just throw some in and let the pasta juices cook right in. You can even toss some grains of rice in.

And that's it! When it's boiling, turn it down and simmer for a short while. It's up to you how long. Frozen veggies usually only need to simmer for 5-8 min. to be done. I like to simmer these soups at least 15 min so that the chicken can cook even more and fall off the bones.  Once I scooped up a bowl for myself, I added a few sprinkles of olive oil. I'd seen chefs do that with creamy soups. I decided to do it with mine. Big chunks of everything, and chicken bones with meat on them. Hearty! Too hearty for crackers! I didn't even bother with those.
  

Chicken carcass soup.

Creative Selling Ideas at TCS: 

  1. Add your recipe to index cards designed to fit into a pocket in handmade recipe greeting cards, that you design to list and sell.


_______________________________________
The Creative Seller
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