Thursday, September 29, 2016

NEWS: Amazon Shipping?

Package delivery is on the radar of billionaire Jeff Bezos, who founded the mammoth online retailer, 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 Once again, they have rescinded the free shop offer.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.
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:


Creative Writing Now 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

Monday, September 19, 2016

CRAFTING: Basic Tools For The Beginning Wood Crafter


Been thinking about starting a simple wood project, but don't know what power and hand tools to buy? The basic tools to begin working with wood are not complicated, large or expensive. Listen to what The Wood Whisperer has to say about outfitting your first woodshop.

For more info on woodworking visit TWW comprehensive website.

The Creative Seller

Saturday, September 17, 2016

NEWS: Screenr Site Defunct As Of Last Year

Just visited site and found out that Screenr was retired on November 12, 2015.  I never used their service, but you can download your videos, and they provide this statement on previously shared media, "Please note, all of your embedded videos and links to your videos continue to work." 

To read their notice on why they closed the site, and get instructions on downloading your media, go here
The Creative Seller

Saturday, September 3, 2016

NEWS: 11 Main Now OpenSky

11 Main has merged with and is now OpenSky. The website is offering a special 20% off to celebrate. Their tagline is Welcome to our new home where you can find the best deals on everything that you love.

The sellers at OpenSky offer all types of merchandise. It looks like handmades would be listed under hobby, though they could be placed under any pertinent category. I did a search for 2 common and saturated categories, handmade tags and handmade cards. Not a single one came up. So for now, OpenSky seems like it's mainly a resellers haven. As with 11 Main, membership seems to still be via invite, though application.
The Creative Seller

Friday, September 2, 2016

BUSINESS: Cheap Product Photography Lighting

The tripod feet extend out of the base of these tabletop photography lights.
Love these moderately hefty, bright LED, tabletop photography lights. The perfect size for tiny studio use, they are not too heavy or too light.  Replacement lamps are not expensive and are available at Amazon. So glad I chose to buy these at Reviewed feedback at Amazon first, because there was non at the Walmart listing.

This pair of tabletop photography lights feature 10-LED spots each.

The listing was from Lodestone Studio in California, who provided free, 2-day shipping. They were packaged ok, in a Priority Mail bubble envelope, without any additional protective wrapping. I would have shipped them in a box, with extra padding.  Glad the housing wasn't cracked.

A customer at Amazon complained about cracked housing, and felt that it was because the lights were shipped in an envelope. Don't know if they had ordered from Lodestone or not, because there were several versions of these nifty lights from different sellers.

The beams in these economical product photography lights are bright, equal to 75w incandescent bulbs.

These small photography lamps can be used with the tripods, or hand-held.

I expect long use from these, though they are cheap. I take good care of my stuff, and these won't need to be transported or knocked around. Great investment, and wonderful that the under $20 price included a pair!

The Creative Seller
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