On November 30, 2014
Wise words, indeed, offered to me via Instagram user pagan_wizard, who reminded me I have no excuse to put off projects except for the excuses I make for myself. In other words, just because there’s a reason to procrastinate, doesn’t mean you should. Even if The Flash vs. Arrow is happening next week, resulting in an epically, mind-blowing night of television, and I have no idea how I’ll contain myself until then.
Distractions have a way of working themselves into my schedule more than work has a way of working itself in. This has been a sad theme for the month of November that I’m determined to transcend. Yes, I made a few new pieces, started a YouTube channel and posted my first ever time lapse process video. And yes, I finished new tutorials, ran a great sale and enjoyed two Thanksgiving dinners.
Still, somehow, there are a dozen projects on my to-do list that range from YouTube video technique tutorials to wire wrap lockets to bead embroidered head pieces! A love pendant, the zodiac signs, and goddess jewelry. These are all projects waiting in the shadows to be born into the light, and I’m… what? Watching Jane the Virgin?
What’s wrong with me? I have an entire galaxy of sparkling gemstones curling in the darkness of their drawers, and I’m taking their voice from them, silencing their song, simply by my avoidance of them. This is no good. No good at all. The deep alto of the lapis lazuli, the rising vibrato of the labradorite and the aria of stone and wire are all unheard because I’m thinking of things to do that aren’t jewelry.
I think I’ve taken the train to crazy land, stepped on to the platform and unrolled a sleeping bag! This is not a good place to call home.
So, I’m making a list. I’m checking it twice.
I mean, I’m finalizing my projects. This month. I’m taking a stand against my own procrastination. There are simply too many songs I wont silence again.
Join me SUNDAY May 8, 3pm-3am US Eastern
on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nicolehannajewelry/
Oh yeah. I’m doing it. I’m making this big. 10,000 is huge. It’s a monolith of creating, sharing, conversing and, I dare say, I enjoy a fair bit of selfish glee as a result. I get to do what I love for a living. I get to share it with all of you. That’s a fantastic gift with a whole lot to squee about.
So, I’m starting it off early.
For every 1000 Facebook “likes” between now and the big day, a goodie goes to live with someone new. Four pieces of jewelry will find new homes between now and 10,000 Facebook “likes”. Both the item and the winner will be picked at random, but to win, a certain level of interaction will be required. I promise it wont be painful, and I’ll explain in a moment. First let me take a moment to talk about that monolith. Cue 2001 Space Odyssey intro…..
10,000 Facebook “likes” is, to many, an arbitrary number, a meaningless representation of marketing and business. But to me, each like is a person. It has a face, a personality, a presence in this world. And that presence has chosen to take a moment out of his or her day to share something with me. When you click “like”, comment on a post, send me a message or share your work, I become a part of something bigger than myself. I become a part of your day, your life, sometimes even your creative process. This is mind-blowing to me in its immensity. And I’m humbled.
Because of you, each one of you, I can wake up in the morning, tell my husband I’m going to work, then walk out to my couch and play with wire. This…. well… it’s a gift that is staggering in its beauty. And if I can share my appreciation in that gift and reward the time you generously give me with your likes, comments and posts, I’m going to do it big. I’m doing it with a day consisting of twelve glorious hours of constant freebies. Twelve winners. One every hour. Oh yeah… You heard me. I mean business. Every hour, someone present for the giveaway and actively commenting will win a Tree of Life Pendant, similar to the one pictured above. Growth is a good thing. Growth in business, sure, but creative growth as well, and in relationships fostered through interaction. This is a journey you’ve all shared with me, and I want you to continue to be a part of it, to continue to allow creativity a place in your life and, I’ll admit, my life as well. I’m a selfish creature at heart. The thought of a world without art, or the ability to create it is a numbing one indeed.
But wait… there’s more! Once every hour, on the half hour, during our giveaway day, a brand new tutorial will be given as well, to anyone present to claim it. Twelve brand new lessons, just for you.
Yet… somehow…. there’s still more!
There will be one Grand Prize, super duper winner, who will receive a custom seed bead embroidered necklace.
Now here’s how to win…..
The giveaway will occur within a week of reaching the magic number. It will be announced frequently on Facebook beforehand. However, since Facebook likes to hide me in news feeds, if you’d like to get the notifications, it means you’ll have to check in frequently. Some things that help is to like my page, hover over the like and click “Get Notifications”. But even this is sometimes flawed. If you check in every day or every other day, interact with a post or two, then Facebook knows you’re interested in what I have to say and (usually) forwards my posts to you. Many people missed out on my last giveaway day because they received no notifications of the event and didn’t check for news, events and posts often enough. I don’t want you to miss out!
Winners for the tutorials aren’t chosen. You just have to show up. Be there, wait for the post including the link to the tutorial, and grab it. The tutorial will be available for fifteen minutes. Why fifteen minutes? Because I’ll be posting oodles during the day, and I’m a little obsessive compulsive and removing the links at set times keeps me mentally organized. Plus, these are for you… who have followed me, supported me, encouraged me for months, sometimes years. Removing the links prevents the links from being shared across the web as a whole. This is not a thank you for strangers, but for you, those of you reading this right now. YOU are not a stranger to me. You’ve been a part of my journey, and it’s my gift to you. Yes, you’re bound to miss some, but I’m hoping 12 hours allows those of you from all over the world to get something, at least once. I’d stretch it to 24 hours, but given my significantly broken and woefully human body, there are (unfortunately) certain limitations to which I must be a slave.
Now, some deets…..
I hope you’ll join me for it.
And if you have any questions about the giveaway, comment below. Which could actually be considered your entry for the GRAND PRIZE. Two birds, one stone and all that jazz.
I’m very excited, and I hope you are as well! I’ve got so many great things in store for the coming year, and I thank each of you for the opportunity to make it happen. You are all golden to me!
On November 11, 2014
Although, to be fair, they are all kinda vanity posts, aren’t they?
Anyway, I have my nose buried in Facebook for at least three hours a day, and happened upon a chainmail-esque “10 Things You May Not Know About Me” post, that beckons readers to respond with a post of their own. And I thought why not. Maybe my quirks will entertain you, while I carry on the tradition here in my blog. Or maybe you’ll nope right out of this post. But I felt like writing tonight, and when I feel like writing, random posts happen.
Now on to the things….
1. I’m addicted to Reddit. I could spend hours on it. I get my news from it. I learn about politics and world events. I discover new artists, photographers, skills and hobbies. I’ve never seen so much chagrin and sarcasm contained in one site that I can’t help reacting with a smirk of impressed surprise and glee. Needless to say, it gives me the giggles.
2. I read so much smut. All the smut historical romance I can find. If “Harlequin” is anywhere on the cover, I’m reading it. And those Barbara Cartland books! When I was a young girl, Lifetime (I believe) released a few mini series based on Barbara Cartland books, and I was embarrassingly overjoyed. The Ghost of Monte Carlo makes me believe in the power of romanticism. The Lady and the Highwayman is on YouTube. Seriously. Watch it.
3. I’m a poetry snob. I’ll read all the historical romance smut ever, but put a rhyming quatrain in front of me and my gag reflex starts to activate. I can’t help it! I’m a lover of contemporary poetry. It’s what I write, what I understand, and how I relate emotionally to the content. But rhyming poetry makes me sneer. I’m ashamed. Seriously. Because I’m passionate about the written word. But the automatic reaction I have to rhyme is often violent.
4. Despite my love of romantic literature and romanticized ideologies, I am one of the least sentimental people I know. I lack the mental ability to appreciate keepsakes. Everything I own has a purpose besides sentimentality. Do I keep photographs of my kids? A few. Did I keep their baby hats, a lock of their hair, their first school drawing? No. What I keep I do so because it evokes in me a feeling via its aesthetic properties, not because I associate with it a memory. Is that strange? My husband would say yes. Ha!
5. I can actually call myself a religious rights activist. I’ll spare you the politics of it, but it’s a selfishly proud moment for me.
6. I love all things macabre. A museum of torture devices? I’ve got my tickets!
7. I geek about television and movies to such a degree that I actually dislike seeing a movie with my husband because his response to my inevitable question “What did you think?” is always “Meh.”. What about the feels, the action, the cinematography, the amazing score? Or did you hate the score? Why did you hate it? There are not enough hours in the day to discuss this subject.
8. Debate is a devilish past time of mine. The Egyptian riots, India’s sterilization, PETA, Obamacare and the dolphin hunts…. if I’ve read about it or researched it, I have an opinion about it. Usually a strong one.
9. Since pretty much forever, I’ve struggled with stage fright. These days, crowds or groups of more than 7 strangers can send me into an honest panic. But beyond that, I’m incurably camera shy and speaking before an audience of … well… anyone with whom I’m not familiar will send me into a sweaty, mumbling downward spiral, from which I’ll stumble before falling into a whimpering fetal position.
And last, but not least….
10. Spiders. They all must die.
Now… tell me ten things about you! If you have a blog, and decide to write a vanity post of your own, share a link in the comments. I’d love to read it!
In the meantime, happy weaving everyone!
On October 30, 2014 October is, generally speaking, the highlight of my year. The changing of the leaves from their summer greens to the golden armour of fall. The pumpkins lining stoop after stoop, some clearly carved with grinning faces. The cold touch of a changing season in the wind. These are all the most obvious, but everlasting, reasons to love the month of October here along the east coast of Michigan.
To ward off the negativity of this month, however, I would need a whole army of pumpkins. Thanks a lot Mercury in Retrograde. Which, for those who aren’t aware, is the time of the year when everyone is most likely to muck up the simplest of plans. When everything, from the physical body to the trip to the grocery store, somehow turns horribly, horribly backwards.
This month I managed to catch pneumonia a second time. I lost several tutorial files. My concentration has been non-existent, and I’ve generally felt more ill than I have all year.
However, now that the retrograde ended on the 25th, things are coming around. I recovered the lost files, my trip to the cardiologist revealed my heart is pumping perfectly, and the effects of the pneumonia are slowly (painfully slow) ebbing away.
But about that cardiologist…..
So, I had to get a stress test two days ago. I’m 38 years old and have never had a reason before this year. This horrible month, to be exact. My chest was hurting, I was extremely fatigued, easily winded, and had a slight cough. There was no sign of infection, and the lungs looked clear, so we got to rule out the lingering pneumonia, but which also meant there were more pressing concerns. My heart.
Off I go. I Googled what happens during a stress echocardiogram, of course…. because I Google everything. According to WebMD I have prostate cancer, so I suppose a stress test is the least of my concerns. I was hooked up to the machine, walked the treadmill and, well, realized how hopelessly out of shape I really am.
I don’t talk about it often, but I have struggled with weight my entire life. Though I’m not entirely sure “struggled” is the right word. It’s never bothered me. I’m always comfortable in my skin. But with pressing, undiagnosed health problems constantly lingering, it seemed unwise to continue to catapult cupcakes into my face on a daily basis.
This summer I cut grains. All grains. Which was painful, because I love cupcakes.
And over the last four months I’ve managed to lose 45 pounds, an accomplishment for which I’m quite pleased with myself. However, as my five minutes on the treadmill for the stress test clearly indicated, I had a long long way to go. To admit I was a tad ashamed of my heaving after those five minutes would be doing a disservice to my humiliation. Walking back to the car, I realized, time to buck up and fight for life.
Today I went for my first 2.5 mile walk, and it felt really good. And by “good” I mean it killed my calves and felt as though nails were being driven into my heels. And every day I plan on going for a 2.5 mile walk. I’m going to build myself back up instead of allowing my body to tear me further down. I’m going to drive nails into my heels until I just don’t feel them anymore, because anything is better than constant sickness.
I’ve lost most of my hair, permanently. And I can’t do much about that. But I can, you betcha, change things elsewhere. Cliche though it may be, where there is a will, there is always a way.
So, I’m starting November with positivity oozing from every pore… and, to keep it so, I will sacrifice spiders and maybe beetles (because they are icky), to every god listening.
Bring it, November. I got your number, buddy.
And I am finishing up October well. I’ve posted new tutorials, a special one week only, discounted Tutorial Bundle Package, and my creativity is booming (these tutorials are available individually as well). Ideas have been swimming these last few days. I have new beaded pieces to finish, more goddess jewelry and more (hopefully successful) experimentation with knotted cords and possible micro macrame. It’s going to be an exciting new world for me in the coming months, and I hope you’ll stick around for the journey.
Don’t forget… the Tuesday Treasure Hunt is next week, with an all new lesson available. And I’m hoping to have another contest going before the end of the year, if time will allow, so keep an eye out.
And thank you for listening to my ranting and raving. It does a body good to vent. You should vent too… tell me what’s bothering you in the comments below. Who knows? Maybe releasing it into the world, releases its power over us.
Happy weaving everyone!
On October 23, 2014
Well it’s that time once again, to round out another Finish It! Design Challenge. And this one produced pieces as beautiful as expected, and then stretched the boundaries of that beauty into something even greater. I am always reminded, when I host these contests, of the endless sea of creativity which comes rolling in a roaring tide of beauty and inspiration. Thank you all so much for participating. Thank you for endeavoring to support one another with encouraging words and thank you, most of all, for the unending, exquisite work.
On a personal note, given my various unwelcome discomforts during the month of October, this contest has been a blissful distraction for me, and I very much appreciate each of you for allowing me an opportunity to escape into a world of delightful innovation. You have all shown a unique perspective and character that clearly represents your individual artistic styles and have entertained me beyond measure!
But enough gushing and onto the winners!
Group Favorite: Tim Whetsel! Congrats Tim! You win $25 (payable via PayPal), my piece completed from the tutorial, and five tutorials of your choice. Please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) your address and your choice of tutorials.
Judged Favorite: Chosen by a group of seven judges (four jewelry artists and three consumers, myself included), the winner is Erica Teeter! Congrats Erica! You win five tutorials of your choice. Please email me (email@example.com) with your choice of tutorials.
View the entire GALLERY OF ENTRIES here!
Now this is not to say that every piece wasn’t absolutely stunning, because judging was as difficult as its ever been, and rightfully so. I love hosting these competitions and am warmed by the knowledge that those of you who enter and those of you who comment and support the entrants enjoy taking part and sharing your gifts and talents. I look forward to hosting another one soon and hope to see you all enter again.
Thank you and happy weaving, you wonderful humans!
On October 16, 2014
Okay, you are all kinda blowing my mind. There were over 50 entries, and you’d never know, by the looks of them (fabulous looks, I might add) they were derived from the same steps and list of materials. Tutorials are a great exercise for expanding creativity by choosing the directions by which you adhere. Or not! The point, as you have all eloquently proven, is that anything is possible. More than 50 unique entries, by more than 50 talented ladies and gentlemen, and I couldn’t be happier to have had the opportunity to view them. The participants have pushed themselves beyond their perceived limits, and proven to themselves, hopefully, they are artisans among the best of them. At any rate, you are to me.
For participants and casual observers alike, the gallery of entries can be found here. If you submitted an entry, but do not see it listed in the gallery, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your entry as soon as possible, and it will be added immediately upon receipt.
The gallery of entries will be available for viewing… well… indefinitely or, at the very least, until Pinterest falls into the dark abyss of the internet, at which point the images will (hopefully) be moved to another file sharing system.
View the entire GALLERY OF ENTRIES here!
The gallery of entries will be available for VOTING, however, through October 22, 2014. Voting is open only to those who participated in the contest. To vote, simply follow the link and comment “VOTED” beneath the image of your choice. If you are not a member of Pinterest or, for any reason, cannot comment, please email me your choice at email@example.com and I will vote on your behalf.
A note to non-participating viewers and commentators…. please reserve the term “VOTED” for participants only, to avoid confusion during the judging process, but do feel free to comment as a show of appreciation for the beautiful work submitted. These entries are worthy of the recognition they receive and then some.
On October 23, votes will be tallied and the “Group Favorite” (most voted by participants) will win my completed version of this project, any five tutorials of their choice, and $25, deliverable via PayPal. In the case of a tie, I will place the deciding vote.
Also, a “Judged Favorite”, chosen by a panel of four jewelry artists and three “consumers” (who are not participating in the contest), will also receive any five tutorials of their choice.
Every contestant should receive the finished version of this tutorial as a thank you for his or her participation, within 24-48 hours. If you have not received the tutorial by that time, or have trouble accessing the file, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you all so much! This has been an amazing experience, as always, to see the entries as they trickle into my email. I have looked forward to each entry over these last two weeks, and was continuously amazed by the creativity and craftmanship. You are amazing!
Happy weaving everyone!
On September 27, 2014
It’s that time again! Time for the “Finish It!” design challenge! Past time, actually, as I let myself become distracted by all the amazing fall television previews (can we say Sleepy Hollow). But, I promised a contest in September and I aim to deliver! Here you’ll find all you need to know about the contest and rules, but if you have any questions, please feel free to ask them in the comments below, or email me at the address provided later in the rules.
The purpose of this challenge is to encourage the participants to extend themselves, their talents and creativity, beyond the limitations of a single set of instructions and create pieces uniquely their own. Each contest has resulted in a wealth of beautiful and original artistic expressions, and I expect this one will produce no less the amount of brilliance. You have all amazed me with, not only your exuberance and enthusiasm, but your results as well, and I’m excited to see what this contest will inspire within you. Here’s the gist: At the bottom of this post is a link (highlighted in red) to a tutorial only 8 pages long, and ending abruptly halfway through the instruction. Your job is to create a piece beginning with the steps, as explained in the file, but ending with your own imagination!
A “Judged Favorite”, chosen by a panel of four jewelry artists and three “consumers” (who are not participating in the contest), will also receive any three tutorials of their choice.
Every contestant will receive the finished version of this tutorial simply for participating. So it’s a basketful of goodness, and all you have to do is try.
Please note: Awards may change.
Happy weaving everyone, and I hope you have fun!
n October 22, 2013
Etsy is, by far, the most recognizable of selling platforms, especially for handcrafted goods, though have recently changed their policies regarding content. Etsy does not charge monthly site fees, utilizing instead a $.20 listing fee and 3.5% commission, which are paid manually on a monthly basis. Listings expire every 4 months.
In the last two years, Etsy has altered their search options, and “recently listed” is no longer the default. This means, listing regularly and often for exposure no longer results in the same sales. Large shops with more disposable income often flooded the search with products constantly re-listed, while small shops were swallowed in the mass listings. However, since Etsy now invites manufactured product, the small business owner is equally likely to experience a lack of exposure. If you generate your own traffic, these changes are less likely to directly affect you, but if you generate your own traffic, there are also far more affordable solutions.
The site is pleasant in appearance, with a professional “image”. The “handpicked” featured front-page items are generally photographed and constructed well. Though this “juried” hand-pick process often relegates less established shops to the shadows, the quality images do, admittedly, draw customers to search and buy. Individual stores are not customizable. Direct downloads are available, with what appears to be little fuss. As with Artfire, there are multiple payment processing options, ideal for those who would prefer a PayPal alternative. This platform offers coupon options, maintenance and vacation mode and bulk edit.
In the forums, the staff interacts politely and professionally with consumers and shop owners, but usually with cookie cutter response, and without any real meaningful discourse.
Focus is all-inclusive!
Site fees are higher, at a promotional $12.95 per month (normally $20). There are no listings fees or commissions. Though fees were partially (and supposedly) used to “advertise this site to buyers” (and note there is no mention of advertising the seller), the sales were, for me, entirely self-procured. The logo is large, distracting and designed to create a site-centric focus (not seller-centric), and the general design of the site is uninspired, lacking a modern appeal. The focus is all-inclusive!
The site is easy to navigate, and caters to a wide range of product, styles and price ranges. The product listings are nicely designed with sections dedicated for the description, materials used, shipping and additional product information and individual shop fronts are customizable in very limited ways. Shop owners are also provided their own imbedded blog, which is a pleasant perk. It seems that, once in a shop, the “search” function defaults to search the current shop, which is also an incredible feature. Direct downloads are not, I believe, currently available. This platform offers multiple payment options, coupon options, maintenance and vacation options and bulk edit.
The forums, in my experience, bred hostility, negativity and condescension, and the staff would often reply to questions or concerns in a manner entirely unprofessional, with foul language and bullying. The forums were trolled by “top sellers” who frequently (and carefully) advertised their “SEO How-To” and “Photography” manuals, and generally promoted a feeling of spam instead of helpfulness.
Handmade Artists’ Shop
Fees are exceptionally reasonable: $5 a month or $50 a year (savings of $10). There is no limit on the number of items you can list, and listings never expire. Focus is handmade! Their website experiences glitches. Direct downloads, though available, do not always send or are not always received with reliability. Clicking “Recent Products” (featured first on the home page), “Featured Artists” or “Handmade Highlights” can often re-direct to the home page. Possibly to blame is the presence of sold items, which remain as highlights. This wouldn’t necessarily pose a problem if it was easy to access the shop via the sold listing. However, a redirect complicates a search for similar items by the same artist or owner. The site logo is pleasant and unassuming, with a focus on products and stores. The product listing side bar is not, in my opinion, well designed. The “Shop Owner” name is large, but directs to a profile instead of the shop home page. This seems redundant since “Profile” is also an option beneath the owner name, while “Store Home” is a small link above. While not problematic, exactly, if you prefer a look more streamlined, this storefront may not appeal.
The site, as a whole is easy to navigate and generally pleasant. Search categories are alphabetized and easily accessible. The forum is friendly and inviting. My experience there was one of helpfulness and encouragement. Andrew and Kimberly (owners) were, in my opinion, quick to help, address site-related concerns and were good-spirited.
With an estimated 600 shops, the products range from high end to quick and affordable gift ideas. The atmosphere fosters creativity, but may not best be suited to those who have a particular “high end” web presence or “juried” expectation in mind. There is no, from my experience, requirements as regards image or product quality, and this site suits a wide range of artists and product. There is very limited internal traffic and sales, generally speaking, result from the efforts of individual storefronts and less from the promotional efforts of the platform.
Free to join and list, sell fine art or photography prints and products on RedBubble. Upload an image and RedBubble will print, package and ship the item when a purchase is complete. They provide a base price for each type of print or product, and the seller chooses their mark-up value. Where materials and overhead were previously included in your cost of doing business, they now become obsolete via the RedBubble platform. Payment is remitted for sold items (I believe), once a month.
Though this isn’t the most affordable option for the customer, with a higher base price and seller mark-up, the products are of a lovely quality and the website represents this quality well with a very modern, portfolio web presence. The search is easy, with oodles of eye candy. Though I’m not sure if this feature still exists, account holders were also able to upload original fiction, poetry and artwork (not otherwise for sale) for comments and discussion within the RedBubble community, which remains a feature I found particularly appealing. Traffic and sales were, in my experience, entirely self-procured. This platform is better suited to those who want to “set it and forget it”.
Hate it in every possible way. Wont buy there. Wont sell there. The fees are outrageous and, as an indie or handcrafted business, it’s impossible to compete with mass production with a yard-sale mentality. The storefronts are functional, but not attractive. The checkout process is PayPal dependent and the favored option to place a “bid” (instead of the immediate gratification of a “buy now” purchase) is patience-withering and often results in paying more for a product than the product is worth. eBay is no friend to the handcrafted ideology unless that ideology also includes making no money.
Focus: Everything under the sun. Plus the sun. Made in China.
Motto: If you want to become the victim of a crime….
Regarded as the perfect alternative to Etsy, Bonanza sports 3.5% transaction fees on the first $500 plus 1.5% on any remaining transaction balance, with a $.50 minimum. Fees are paid manually once a month or automatically for every $100 of final value fees accrued within a month. Which is too complicated for my tired artist brain. Otherwise, there are no membership, monthly or listing fees.
The site has a beautiful classic look, and easy search, but is not utilized well. Storefronts are called “booths” and are fairly generic with no customizing options. Re-selling is the name of the game here, generally speaking, and If I never see another Louis Vuitton “vintage” listing, it will be too soon. The front page consists of a collection “curated” by a user, and usually consists of 20 blue items, 20 Gucci watches, or 20 babies in lion costumes. Not incredibly creative and, in my opinion, tiresome for the consumer.
Products range from cheap dollar store finds to overpriced $5000 bulk iPhone parts, and everything in between. Digital downloads are currently unavailable. Booths are equipped with “live chat” options, but sellers are rarely available. The forums proved to be unhelpful and dull with generic “ask support” responses, indicative of a lack of presence by site staff.
By far my personal favorite, and the best experience I’ve had with a selling platform, Storenvy is entirely free. No membership fees. No monthly fees. No listing fees. No final value fees. To keep this service free, features you might have enjoyed on other platforms are now “extra” services which require purchase. Though a single generic coupon option is available, “super discounts” are available with purchase. Custom domains are also available for $5 a month. As with Artfire and Etsy, a Facebook app is easy to integrate. Listing product is easy and relatively fuss-free, but basic. Direct downloads are currently only available through a third party app which, in my opinion, charge high fees for unreliable service. PayPal is the only payment option.
The site has a new “portfolio” front page, featuring editors picks. This doesn’t thrill me, and is not particularly helpful for those who rely on internal traffic. The focus is indie-centric, and the platform hosts more than 50k stores. The default search sorts by “popularity”, and I honestly haven’t discovered what determines the popularity of a listing. If you appreciate the Pinterest platform, Storenvy will definitely appeal. Storenvy “Marketplace” sales (ie site search), for me, have been fairly nonexistent, but that was never my audience. If you generate your own traffic, however, free is where it’s at.
The storefronts are completely customizable, with two available free themes, and dozens of others affordably priced by individual designers. I’m told by Adam (Director of Community) that direct downloads and more themes are on the honey-do list.
Currently, the forum has been disabled but was, admittedly, not very user-friendly to start and seemed to encourage a promotional philosophy. Less discussion, lots of self-promotion. There are a couple amazing Facebook Storenvy communities I would suggest if you like the forum interaction. Storenvy staff are very good at responding to questions or concerns, either via their contact forms or Facebook message and have, in my experience, followed up after tickets or complaints are placed and addressed.
Please note: These reviews are based only on personal experience and in no way represent a wider public opinion. Many of these experiences occurred one or more years ago and these platforms may have since improved or degraded their service. I invite each of you to test these services for yourself, and share your experiences and opinions in the comments below.
On March 18, 2013
Fabulustre, used in conjunction with a buffing wheel, gently buffs light scratches and polishes metals to a high shine. Advertisements recommend a muslin wheel and promises minimal clean-up and dust, with excellent results expected on most metal surfaces and some plastics. Though available in large and small sizes, my supply arrived in a 5″ cardboard tube (depicted), with a disposable cardboard lid which, once removed, I found impossible to re-insert. The package, however, requires no special storage requisites.
Upon arrival, the compound was surprisingly solid, a density which seemed unintentional at first, and I almost mistakenly returned the product. Never fear fellow noobs, it’s perfectly normal for your polishing compound to be hard enough to bludgeon someone to death! Or, like me, drop it and break a toe. So…. don’t drop it. And, you know, don’t bludgeon anyone.
I used a wool wheel with my Dremel, turned it on, pressed it against the surface of my compound, then to my piece, and voila! It turned a really ugly black (note the wheel depicted). BUT, it’s supposed to. The wheel, not the metal. If the metal turns black, increase your Dremel speed and you’ll see that beautiful shiny surface peek through in seconds. Take the before (top) and after (bottom) pictures provided, and the luster is immediately distinguishable. Polish works equally well on bronze, brass, copper and fine silver, though I’ve yet to test this on a silver-filled wire. A slight sheen of dust to wipe off the surface….of the metal, my glasses, the counter, the inside of my mouth (I think I sneezed dust for 45 minutes)…. and you have a beautiful piece of polished jewelry. To be fair, the dust was more likely due to the wool wheel than to the compound, so I recommend a cotton wheel for use with this product.
For the low price of $6.95, this product will last FOREVER. I can’t imagine a day in which I wont still have this same tube of Fabulustre polishing compound tucked within my supplies. A finish four months old still shines, which speaks towards the longevity of the process and the quality of the product as a whole. Though, if I’m honest, and despite its ease of use, I much prefer a nice polishing cloth and to call it a day. I find the luster of this compound artificial when used on heavily woven areas, with a look that was completely unnatural, like foil, though larger coils and bare wires were luminous. If weaving excessively, I recommend a tumbler for your polishing needs instead. Better yet, just let the metal do its thing and appreciate the beauty of its own natural processes. I’m a purist at heart.
On August 11, 2012
Liver of Sulfur is a potassium sulfide mixture used in the creative community to oxidize, prematurely, fine or sterling silver, or copper bearing metals, including bronze and brass. Though available as a water-soluble solid, the Liver of Sulfur Extended Life Gel settles well into the metal or wire working worlds, more convenient in both time and expense, than its dry versions.
Unlike solid versions, the Liver of Sulfur XL (extended life) Gel is crafted for versatility and ease of use. It’s shelf life is far more impressive than it’s dry counterpart, and less likely to degrade in light or air, thanks to its easily stored screw-top or flip-top bottles.
The odor, though pungent, is harmless when properly prepared for use in well-ventilated areas. Purchased from Monster Slayer, the gel was thick and requires mixing pre-use. If left untended, the gel begins to settle and harden in a insoluble layer so, though its potency lasts much longer than the dry versions, still requires some attention.
The gel, as purchased from Monster Slayer in 4 oz containers with screw-top lids, was easy to use, requiring a small dipstick of gel mixed with water. A gel and hot water solution results in instant antiqued gratification, with deep and complete patina. It was my experience pre-mixed solution only sustains potency for twelve hours before discard becomes inevitable.
The gel may also be heated and painted on surfaces, though I found my supply woefully inadequate in this regard. Not only was this process messy, but neither heating the surface nor the gel granted me patina of any real notable depth when painted. However, the liquid solution was entirely successful in all regards.
Having also purchased a flip-top bottle of Liver of Sulfur Gel from Beaducation, I can attest to, without hesitation, the superiority of its screw top counterparts. The flip-top bottles seemed convenient and easy for storage, but leaked if on its side. Also, drips were harder to contain with the flip-top variety (ironically), than with a screw-top container, which allows for a greater area over which you can transfer and control the gel. Also, the Beaducation gel was inferior in potency, requiring more gel in less water to attain the same level of patina as with a less gel/more water solution from Monster Slayer.
The Monster Slayer gel proved itself remarkably resilient, attaining a shelf life of more than fourteen months while maintaining the same level of potency as its first use. I can easily recommend this product and this company for a reliable source of oxidization for those willing and ready to experiment beyond the frustrations of boiled eggs.
Have fun experimenting and happy weaving!
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