Monday, May 23, 2011

Why ArtFire Rocks!

I love ArtFire.  Of all the online venues where I have a presence, ArtFire is my favorite - hands down.  Here's why, in no particular order:

1)  Cost:  There's a fixed monthly rate.  No listing fees, no fees when items sell.  No hidden, unexpected costs.   This makes it very easy to budget. 

2)  Knowledge Base:  The forum, the Help Guides, the Inside Handmade podcasts -- all excellent.  The education I'm receiving about search engine optimization (SEO) and social media (loved the Social Media Bootcamp series) alone is worth the cost.

3)  The "Admin":  The folks who run ArtFire actively participate in the forum discussions.  Getting a straight answer couldn't be easier.

4)  Selling:  People have found my items via Google and purchased them.  While shoppers are welcome to sign up to join the ArtFire community, they are not required to do so in order to purchase. 

5)  Really cool stuff:   Okay, I've been writing from the perspective of a seller, but let's face it:  I'm a shopper too.   ArtFire features some of the most amazing handcrafted items, vintage items, and crafting/art supplies. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Another Book I'm Enjoying: 30 Minute Earrings by Marthe LeVan

I literally spend hours at my local Barnes & Noble. I especially love to peruse the art & craft books while sipping coffee at the B&N cafe and attempting to narrow my selection to one or two books.

I really liked 30 Minute Earrings by Marthe LeVan. This book features 60 earring projects, each from a different artist -- all created in 30 minutes or less.

Really cool earrings, too: some made from recycled materials (automobile license plates, VHS tapes -- I kid you not!), others made from traditional materials, others made from budget friendly items.

I also like how the top of each project lists exactly what skills are needed to complete the project. If you don't solder, for example, you can skip ahead to the next project.

That said, my first attempt at one of the projects took about 100 minutes (85 for the first earring, 15 for the second) -- talk about a learning curve! Once I figured it out, though I was zipping along.

If you're looking for out-of-the-box ideas, consider this book. It's available at B&N, Amazon, and I'm sure other places.