Saturday, December 15, 2007

This Blog has Moved

I have officially moved this blog to KnotGypsyDesgins.com

I have imported all the content and comments. I will leave the archive here for awhile for those who still find me by the old links and bookmarks.

I hope to see you there - at the new site!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Moving the Blog

I have thought long and hard about this. I think it is past time to integrate this blog into my website "KnotGypsyDesigns.com". In the interest of centralized information and time management, this is for the best.

I will eventually get all the vital information and links transferred to my website. I will leave this blog up as is until transition is complete. This may be awhile as it will be a lot of work - I should not have waited so long. They warned me over at Bloggeries Blog Forum, but I was stubborn and would not listen.

I have already begun posting over at the new site. Unless something unforeseen comes up, I plan no new posts here.

Hope to see you at the new site!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Working Around Artists Block

Yes. I have been experiencing Artist's Block. All week. Scarlet (my muse) seems to be sleeping. I am awake and in the mood to bead, but I cannot decide what to bead. Besides being in the mood, I need some new pieces...Christmas is coming. Scarlet! Wake up!

Nothing.

I sometimes get these blocks. All artists do, I think. Well, maybe some super artists don't get blocks. But, I do.

What to do about it...

First, I tried some unrelated no-brainer tasks - like housework. The physical movement is good for circulation - gets the blood moving to the brain. After all, housework does need to get done. I can still feel productive.

I am also using psychology on myself. I am a bit of a rebel and I hate housework. Sometimes, I'll get bored and "go play beads" to get out of housework. At times like these, I allow myself to rationalize "playing beads" as "working". Problem solved - I got around my block...BUT...

It does not always work. Sometimes, like this week, I decide instead to "sort my personal jewelry and clothes". I rationalize that I need to sort and purge anyway. I need to keep my clothes organized so I will have something to wear - especially now that I go set up at some venues. I need to look good, don't I? The block wins this round because I cannot argue with that.

Okay, I have been cleaning house all week. I have sorted my jewelry and my clothes. I have even cleaned out my desk drawer and reorganized my beading area. Enough.

Now, I need a more direct approach. So, I actually got some beads out and played with them. Still no inspiration. This is one serious block. I cannot let it win. My pride is now involved. I must beat this block.

The next tactic is to get back to basics. Make a "Spirals Lariat Necklace". It is a simple design and does not require complex decisions beyond choosing colors. It is a long enough project that I can lose myself in it. It is a long enough project that I may get bored and begin visualizing my next pieces...

I better go and get back to it...I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Wimberly Market Days


I survived the weekend. I even made a few sales. I paid for having to get up so early, though! I have spent the past few days recuperating.

The booth needs some work and we have plans for that. We have a vision. The market is closed Jan-Mar, so we have time to get the booth painted and spiffed up for next year. We have decided that this month and next are our "learning months".

Happily, we have electricity and lighting. We have a small fridge and a coffee pot - what more do we need? The doors and windows are lockable so we can leave stuff there - cuts down on what we have to pack and carry. I love anything that cuts down on the work!
I am very excited about this opportunity. I have worked with my friend before and we get along great. I have every reason to believe this will be a satisfying venture.




Friday, November 2, 2007

Knot! News - Weekly Update

Not a lot of news this week. I have been doing some Fall cleaning. I have been working on that perennial chore of sorting and purging. I thought I was a pack rat until I moved in with my husband. He is a master pack rat! So wish me well on this ongoing chore.

I have also been getting ready to set up at the Wimberly Market. I have most everything ready now with just a few small chores to finish up. I am excited about this opportunity, although I do not look forward to getting up so early! I am a night person. I have always been a night person. 6 years in the U.S. Army did not make me into a morning person. If Uncle Sam cannot do it, it cannot be done. Oh, I get my body up, but my mind refuses to cooperate until much later.

I have recently agreed to a custom order. I know, I don't usually do that. But, the customer has bought several pieces from me before and is so enthusiastic about my work - How could I say "no"? She is so easy to work with, stating she used to be a weaver and knows the challenge of creating something from someone else's mental image. So, I have rules, but I am not rigid and sometimes we must break the rules - even our own rules.

My hubby is now back on night shift. Thankfully. I am readjusting to that now, but it is a happy adjustment.

I think my goals until after the holidays are to finish the custom order, produce one more pattern ("Tapestry Bracelet" by popular request), and focus on beadwork for the holiday season. After the holidays, I have some reorganizing and fine tuning to do with my "system" - administrative work. (Ugh).

Jewels in Fiber


I have been buying my C-lon nylon beading cord from Jewels in Fiber for several months now. I have been extremely happy with her prices and her excellent customer service. She carries a variety of other cords as well.

Recently, I opened my mail to find C-lon micro cord samples! She sent me some samples without my asking for them! It was such a wonderful surprise.

Marion Hunziker-Larsen is also an amazing artist. I am in awe of her talent and skill at knotting. Her style is unique. I encourage you to take a look at her Collection.

So, official thanks to Marion for her excellent service and thoughtfulness. Applause for her gorgeous work.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Knot! News - Weekly Update


What a week! But then, every week seems to be an adventure.

I have finally finished the pattern for "Lacy Ripples Bracelet" and have listed it in My Etsy Shop.

Most of the week has been devoted to household chores - trying to get caught up. With Fall bringing us some cooler temperatures, I have been in the mood for baking. I made a cake and some lovely French Bread...But I digress. You are more interested in jewelry, aren't you?

One of my customers, Beverle Sweitzer, is a metal refinisher by trade (webpage). She is fairly new to micro macrame. Rather ambitious, she began with my "Fans Bracelet" pattern. See below for the result of her first effort. I think she is off to a great start. She is also new to digital photography of jewelry, but states she is excited to be learning new things.

I have probably mentioned that a good friend of mine has bought a space at the famous (at least in this part of Texas) Wimberly Market. She has invited me to share her space. So, this past Sunday, I went to see the space with her. We took some of her stuff to leave in the space because the space comes complete with a building with locking doors and windows. It is rather nice. I think we will be happy there. We will be setting up the first weekends in November and December. Just in time for the Christmas rush...

I am feeling the need to bead, so take care and have a great weekend.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The DIY Factory Show

Well, the show is over. I had a lot of fun, and even made a profit after expenses! They held it in an old club with two balconies. I was located on one of the balconies. They had several bands, a working bar, and a fashion show. All very festive and artsy! Here are some photos of the event.

View of the entrance from my spot on one of the balconies.
View of the stage from my spot on the balcony.
View of the rest of "my" balcony.

And, finally, my table.

I've Been Using Up My Stock of Beads and Cord


I want to make room for new beads and cord! So, a couple of weeks ago, I made these bracelets in an effort to use of some leftover beads. So far, I have listed the brown one at My Etsy Shop. I will be listing the other two over the next couple of days. (Gotta take advantage of the "time machine".) I posted this photo under "Now Showing", but it is not a very large view, so I apologize to anyone who was frustrated trying to see these bracelets.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Knot! News - Weekly Update

In spite of Murphy's efforts this week, I am ready for my show (tomorrow). I finally got my patterns printed out, got my display worked out, and am mostly packed up. Due to the printer problems (see previous posts), I lost time out of my schedule. I did not get that necklace made that I wanted to have done - the one I mentioned that would be nice for Halloween. I still want to make it, but it won't be in time for the show. Oh, well.

My cat is doing much better. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she stays that way. Hopefully her problems are over.

I did manage to get some more work done on "Lacy Ripples Bracelet Pattern" - it is almost done. I think I will relax tonight.

I'll let you all know how the show goes...Until then, have a great weekend.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Murphy was not Satisfied

So, I took my printer to the store, but it was more than 90 days since I bought it and they would not exchange it. I guess printers are only meant to last for 6 months...

I really need a printer, so I had to buy a new one. They have already discontinued my previous model, so I had to get the new improved version.

Just last week I had spent $20.00 on an ink cartridge for my printer (before it broke down). It was nearly full...But of course, the printer ink cartridges of the previous printer won't work in the new one.

What a racket.

On a positive note, I think the new model is somewhat better than the previous one - an instance where "new and improved" really is improved. I got the rest of my print job done last night, so it is off to the photocopier down the street to make copies.

See, this is the kind of thing that steals my time from beading and pattern making...Talk to y'all later. Here's to hoping that Murphy, being busy with me, will be leaving you alone.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Murphy’s Law


“Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong, and at the most inopportune time.”

I was printing out some patterns (for the upcoming show) today. I got couple printed out when my printer refused to go on. I tried shutting everything down and checking the USB connections, and got another pattern printed before it again refused. I fiddled some more and managed to get 8 of 10 pages of my 4th one done. That's it. The printer is done. But, I have 5 patterns...

The printer is only a few months old and has been working fine until today. Today, when I only have 5 days before the show...at least I have those 5 days. But, I am accustomed to Murphy's Law as it seems particularly strict in its enforcement with me. That is why I was working on this today instead of on Friday night. (Thankfully.) Now, I will have to take the time and spend the gas to return the printer to the store for an exchange.

Good Old Murphy...Let's keep our fingers crossed that this will satisfy the old devil.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Knot! News - Weekly Update


Well, this week has been more productive than recent weeks. Perhaps, I am getting back on track! Hopefully, the recent trend of bad luck has run its course.

I have gotten a folding table, made a black velvet display mat, found my Indian bedspread, made a bracelet display (see photo), and set it all up in my living room. I have begun to work on placing my jewelry on it. I have nearly finished pricing it all - I still need to price my clearance items. I have even found a volunteer to accompany me and help out at the show. (My dear partner would help, but he is working most of the day of the show.) I am getting excited.

Last night, I sketched out a nice idea for a necklace that I hope to get done before the show. I want to make it in black with garnet red and some reddish gemstone chips, you know, for Halloweeen.

Since I have gotten together most of what I need for the show, I hope to be able to finish "Lacy Ripples Bracelet Pattern" this coming week. Man, I hate getting behind, and I really hate things that come up to get in my way - like migraines. At least, thankfully, my kitty is doing much better. She is back to her usual tricks and now more spoiled than ever...

So, take care and have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I Didn't Even Know I Was Entered...


And I won a blue ribbon! I may have mentioned this before, but...

A friend of mine bought a bracelet and a pair of earrings from me last year. This year, she entered the bracelet in her county fair. It won a blue ribbon! She didn't tell me until afterwards. Yesterday, she brought it over and gave it to me. She also brought the bracelet so I could photograph them together.

She gave me such a boost to my morale!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Cagey Crafters Forum

I joined Bead and Button Forum back when I was first starting out online. I loved the community. Everyone was so helpful and friendly. I learned a lot as well. Well, I still love that community, but they have changed the format and software. The new look is wonderful, and I do like the way the forum is now set up. However, since the change, every time I go visit; the pages take so very long to load. I mean they load excruciatingly slowly. I tried everything I could think of - using my refresh button, clearing cache, I even tried a different browser - all to no avail. I kept returning, hoping that they had done something about it as others were complaining, too.

I will continue to check in to see if they fix this in the future, but I am in need.

Good News! I found another forum with all the friendliness and helpfulness I was looking for. CageyCrafters is somewhat smaller than Bead and Button, but the members there are actively involved. They even offer gallery space for members, and it is all free. I joined up a few days ago, and I am already feeling welcomed. I think I found a new community...Come join us!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Finally, Some Kits for "Fans Earrings Pattern"

I finally got some kits put together yesterday. I put together 4 kits for "Fans Earrings Pattern" and listed them at my Etsy Shop. They match the kits I have listed for "Fans Bracelet Pattern" as well, so you can make matching bracelets and earrings. Find them in the "Kits" section of My Etsy Shop.

I was motivated so I put together 3 kits for each of my 5 patterns to take to the upcoming DIY Factory Show. I am getting excited about this show. Today, after I do some housework and make my grocery shopping list, I will be working on display equipment. I have a few ideas...

Well, I better get to work, bye for now.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Amazon.com Affiliate and aStores

Since I really, really don't want to give up my dream of making a living doing what I love, I find that I need to increase my income.

I have recently added a few Google adsense ads, hopefully not going overboard. I don't want to clutter up my sites with too many ads. Squidoo is paying some, and the lenses are fun to make. Yet, I still need more...

So, yesterday, I signed up for Amazon.com's Affiliate program. I even created an aStore - "KnotGypsy's BookStore for Beaders" - can also be found in sidebar. I put together an eclectic collection of books on jewelry making. If you don't find anything you like there, try a search of Amazon.com - right below my store widget.

Some books I have already tried or have had recommended to me...



I am still learning about this program and hope to improve the store in the weeks to come.

Signing off for now...Have a Great Weekend!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Knot! News - Weekly Update

And the beat goes on. Just when I thought my cat was getting better and my routine was returning to normal, she came home with some wounds. Today we go back to the vet for a follow up. I am very emotional and attached to my cats (perhaps more than is good for me). I feel stressed whenever one of my loved ones is sick or hurt (including the cats). This has made me sluggish, but I am recuperating and getting my energy and focus back. I must get my focus back. I have too much to do.

This week I posted some more on my website KnotGypsyDesigns.com. I posted an article on "Cord" as the first installment on a (revised) series of articles on materials and resources. I posted another knot "Lark's Head Knot" in the series on "Basic Knots". I added some helpful hints and comments I have received from customers by email. I changed the background. The site is coming along.

I rotated stock at my favorite local Coffee Shop "Chiro Java" where I have some items on consignment. They even had some money for me - I had some sales!

I did some more beading and have 3 new bracelets - I will post them when I have them photographed.

I had to go buy more stuff to make up kits for the upcoming show.

Today, I really need to get those kits together and some for "Fans Earrings Pattern" to list on Etsy. I also need to make a bracelet display with some velvet I have on hand and a cardboard tube a friend of mine brought me from where she works. This same friend bought a bracelet from me a few months ago. She recently entered it in her county's fair - It won a Blue Ribbon! So now I am an award winning jewelry artist! Well, it is only a blue ribbon from a county fair, but it is special to me. She brought me a little cheer at a time I could really use it.

I know, I know, I really need to finish "Lacy Ripples Bracelet Pattern"...

Friday, September 28, 2007

Knot! News - Weekly Update

Another week already?

This past week I have been working on getting ready for the upcoming show. You know, getting my display equipment together, figuring out what all I need, etc. Today I must go into San Antonio to get my tax permit and then to a meeting for the show. I'll be dropping off business cards for the goody bags (for the first 75 people to come in the door) and picking up flyers. The show will be on Oct 20, which will be coming up soon. If you are in the San Antonio area, I hope you will stop by and see what we artisans have to offer. Go to DIY Factory for more info.

I have also been beading. Some for the show and perhaps some for my Etsy shop. I have not yet decided what I will leave in my Etsy shop and what I will be taking to the show. Another of those things I need to get done. Here are some of my new pieces. Remember to click images for larger view.
Nouveau Earrings with Gemstone Chips (Sorry, I don't know what kind of stone).
And matching bracelet
And in green with malachite chips and size 11 seed beads with a blue undertone
Of course a matching bracelet.
I also did a set in blue and am working on a set in red.

I did work some on the "Lacy Ripples Bracelet Pattern", but am not yet finished. I do tend to bite off more than I can chew. I am working on this.

And, wellllll, I goofed off some this week, too. I got caught up in a book I was reading and could not put it down. Has this ever happened to you?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Knot! News - Weekly Update

Here it is, Friday again! I've had another interesting week. Puts me in mind of that old Chinese curse "May you live in interesting times". In spite of a migraine, and continuing to care for Bella, I have gotten a few things done. So, here is what I have been up to since last Friday morning:

Friday evening: I did some work on my website (KnotGypsyDesigns.com). I decided to integrate my forum into the website. Since WordPress is a blogging platform, we can post comments on any post. So, for example, you have a question or a comment about "Spirals Anklet Pattern". You can go to that entry on my website and post and/or read comments about it. Friday night, I posted most of the relevant topics from the old forum on the website - photos of customer's work (using my patterns) and a quick survey. I also posted "how-to" instructions for "Slip Knot" and will be posting each of the "Basic Knots" as well. I hope to make KnotGypsyDesigns.com an informative site in addition to showcasing my jewelry.

Saturday: Day off! Saturday night was "Girls' Movie Night". Occasionally, I get together with a friend of mine and her daughter to eat and watch movies. This time we ate Chinese take-out and watched "E.T. The Extraterrestrial". My friend's daughter had never seen it and we all needed a fairy tale to lighten us up. (It has been stressful for all of us lately.)

Sunday: My friend's daughter had told me about an art site "DeviantArt.com", so I checked it out. Seems like a lot of fun and you can create a gallery of your work. They have various arts represented from graphic arts to jewelry, etc. So I signed up. It's free.

I also worked on another slave bracelet. It was lovely, but I messed it up. I reversed the wrist band part and it just doesn't work as I think it should. So back to the macrame board...

Monday: I had a migraine, rendering me good for nothing else. I survived. I get migraines just often enough to be grateful not to get any more!

Tuesday: I began work on my next pattern "Lacy Ripples Bracelet". I was still feeling a little disoriented from the migraine, so I did not get a lot done. I also had to take Bella back to the vet for a recheck visit.

Wednesday: I have reorganized how I am producing my patterns. Instead of inserting the relevant knots used into each pattern, I have now created a separate pdf file of "Basic Knots". I also created a pdf file of "Helpful Hints and Resources" where I put information that is the same for all the patterns. Each pattern will now contain "Materials", "Notes" (relevant to that pattern), and "Steps". When you order a pattern, I will send the pattern and the two other pdf files as well. This will save me time in creating patterns. It will also save you printing time and costs; especially if you purchase more than one pattern. Why didn't I think of this before?

I also spent some time making up kits to list on KnotGyspyDesigns.com and some for my upcoming show.

Thursday: I streamlined my kits for "Spirals Key Chain Pattern". I am sorry, but I just don't have time or space to devote to offering custom kits. I had been reading in an Etsy forum thread on shipping costs. It seems that many would prefer to pay more on an item and less on shipping. I have previously calculated my shipping costs based on cost of shipping, the envelope, and just a little for my time packaging and dropping off the item to be shipped. For small items, it usually costs $1.76 in postage (within the U.S.) and up to $.50 (depending on my finding a bargain) for the envelope (total $2.26). When I charge $3.00 for shipping charges, that leaves me $.74 for handling charges. Is this too much??? Anyway, since I streamlined the kits (saving time from putting together custom kits) I reduced the price of these kits from $2.00 for the kit and $3.00 S/H to $3.50 total. Here is an example of the new kits. Really, these kits are more of a convenience for those who just want to try one out before going out and buying all the materials in quantity.

I finished editing my patterns to reflect the reorganization, and I updated my Squidoo page.

I posted another "Helpful Hint" (stringing 4 strands of cord through a bead hole) and "Half Knots and Square Knots" on KnotGypsyDesigns.com. While doing this, I noticed a typo in "Waves Bracelet Pattern". I corrected my pdf document and the entry on stringing 4 strands of cord through a bead hole shows the correct version.

Well. That was my week. Have a great weekend!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Knot! News - Weekly Update


What a week! I have spent much of my time caring for Bella and worrying about her. I also spent some time on the more mundane chores of life - like laundry.

Even so, I have finished the pattern for "Fans Earrings"! (Photo at right.) Find it for sale under the "Patterns" section of My Etsy Shop. I hope to get some kits put together this weekend.



I have been working on some slave bracelets and I believe I have a couple of basic designs worked out. What do you think?

(Remember to click image for larger view).


Announcements:

1. As I have been integrating my "WorkShop" into my main website, my forum will soon be deleted. The blogging format of WordPress allows comments on all posts (but not pages at this time). So, I am using it like a forum. I will also be posting some other "forum" type topics in the future.

To find or post questions and answers related to my patterns, go to KnotGypsyDesgins.com and look under "WorkShop" in the "Index" (in sidebar). Click on "Patterns and Kits" and scroll down to the applicable pattern. Questions and answers will be posted in the comments section. Feel free to post your own questions, answers, or comments there. In fact, please feel free to leave comments on any post that give you the opportunity. Or, if you wish to contact me, find the "Contact" page under "General Information" (in sidebar). I have edited my patterns to reflect this change.

2. I realized that some may wonder how to pin cords to their work surface...So, I have added "Slip Knot (for pinning cords to work surface)" to my "Basic Macrame Knots" collection. I have added it to all my patterns as well. I will be posting my basic knots instructions on my website sometime in the future as well.

Well, I have a lot more work to do, so "bye for now, and have a great weekend".

Friday, September 7, 2007

Knot! News - Weekly Update

Well. It seems that as soon as I set a goal and make a statement like "barring any unforeseen obstacles, I should be able to...", I get to find out just what "unforeseen obstacles" can be. Last week, I set the goal that I should be able to complete 3 patterns this week "barring any unforeseen obstacles". I have run into some of those unforeseen obstacles this week.

Here is a run down of my week:

Monday: Come on, it was a holiday. I beaded of course.

Tuesday: I posted the results of my weekend of beading here on this blog. Tuesday was also housecleaning and grocery shopping day.

Wednesday: I let myself get sidetracked and worked on my website KnotGypsyDesigns.com. I got the background color changed and rearranged some. Later in the day, I received two bad pieces of news. I felt stunned and was unable to finish any more work that day. I did spend some time processing the news, and working on my attitude - so not a total loss.

Thursday: I got most of the draft of "Fans Earrings Pattern" done. Yay! Some actual work done on a pattern! I also worked some more on the website.

Friday: Today, I am still on my first cup of coffee, getting ready to make that second cup. I have checked my emails, surfed a little, listed another pair of earrings at My Etsy Shop and finally, am writing this bloggerie. I have "The View" on in the background. I love Whoopi Goldberg and am quite happy that she is now on "The View".

So, what will I get done today? I better go now and get to work...

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Ripples and Lace

(Remember, you can click on images to get a larger view).


As I said in last week's "Knot! News", I have completed the photography for "Ripple Bracelet Pattern". I have now gotten the photography done for the matching earrings.

Then, of course, I had to play around with the design. I had so much fun with it, I am having trouble getting motivated to work on the text for the patterns! But, I will. I promise. Here are some of the results of my experimentation this weekend.

First, I played with color:

Then, I wondered what I could do with the overall shape. Using fewer focal beads and some with different shapes, here is what I did:
These next two pairs of earrings have already been listed at My Etsy Shop.
These earrings were easy and fun to make. Once getting the hang of the pattern, none took longer than about an hour to make. The final pattern will include instructions for these variations.


And of course, I wanted to play around with a variation of this design in a bracelet:
Given these variations having a variety of shapes, "Ripple" no longer seems a relevant name. They remind me more of lace, Victorian lace. So, I think I will name the bracelet at top "Rippled Lace" and for the others, "Victorian Lace". What do you think? If you can come up with a better name, please leave a comment as I am open to suggestions.

I have played around some more since taking these photos. I have made some more earrings, another bracelet and a necklace. I think I have a nice beginning for my Fall 2007 Collection. Of course, I will show you once I get the photos done. Working with this design has given me even more ideas...But, I need to write the text for the above patterns and get them listed so those of you who are interested can make some, too. Share the fun! Bye for now.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Knot! News - Weekly Update


I don't have a lot of news this week. Mostly, I have been struggling with my artist's block. My strategies finally worked! I already mentioned in last week's update that I spent the day working on logos for my headers and business cards. I mentioned that sometimes this kind of activity triggers my creative energies to get rolling again. And, it was something I could convince my brain to work on.

Well, I have been able to get back to beading and pattern making since then. This week, I have gotten the photography done for "Fans Earrings Pattern" (photo top right) and "Ripple Bracelet Pattern". I have worked out earrings for "Ripple Bracelet" with a couple of variations and will be getting the photography done on them soon as well. So....I believe that barring any unforeseen obstacles, I should be able to get all three patterns finished next week. I even have a few new design ideas.

I ran out of Size 11 delica beads (needed for "Fans"), so I ordered some more, along with some other beads (of course). When they arrive, I will be able to make up some kits for the "Fans Earrings Pattern", (and some more for the "Fans Bracelet Pattern").

The bottom line...I am creating again, but the results won't be available until next week.

Still too much rain for sailing here in Central Texas and more on the way. Oh well.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Knot! News - Weekly Update

Well, I am feeling better! Still suffering a little artist's block, though.

A few weeks ago, I applied to be in a juried show sponsored by The DIY Factory. I just received email notification of my acceptance. Now, I need to send them a business card sized logo and a link for them to post on their website. So, I spent today working on logos, banners, and business cards. It was something I could manage in spite of the artist's block. It may even help trigger my creativity to turn back on. (Sometimes, this kind of thing works that way - sort of a warm-up exercise.)

I found the wonderful font (of my new header) at CoolText.com in the "Gothic" category, and downloaded it. Then, I downloaded "7-Zip", a free open source "archive application" that handles .zip files. So far, so good. ("7-Zip" link includes reviews of the application in case you are interested.) I needed it to unzip the font file I downloaded. Then, using GRSites, and Windows "Paint"; I made some logos. I made the header you see here on this blog, a header for my website, a banner for my Etsy shop, business card (photo at top right), and a business card sized ad logo to send to the DIY Factory.

I still have some work to do on the fonts and colors of this blog to match the header, but for now, I like the header. I really love the font. I did learn some things today that I will be using in the future to finalize my logo. For now, this "working" model will have to suffice.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Coming Back

This recent funk seems to be dragging on.

We tried to go sailing. We got as far as the entrance to the lake with the boat in tow. We were turned away as the lake was closed due to extremely high water levels. All that rain caught up with us. So we went to plan B and had a picnic at a very nice creek. It was very relaxing.

Even so, I continued to feel foggy and funky until today. I could not even bring myself to blog or play computer games. I do feel better today, but not yet up to par.

I think I will take it easy today. I hope to be back at work tomorrow; I have so much to do!

By the way, my cat, Bella is recuperating as well.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Knot! News - Weekly Update


I have been feeling funky this week. My brain does not want to cooperate with my plans and goals. I did get some work done with my Squidoo lenses, but...

Not much else. I made every effort. I set up to work on a pattern for the earrings to match the "Fans Bracelet Pattern". I cut the cords, got my work surface and other materials together. Then, nothing. I got the camera out and set up my photo shooting area. Nothing. I just could not make my brain get to work. Has anyone else ever had this happen?

I do have this photo (top right) of "Ripple Choker in Gray and Pink" to show you. I made it a week or so ago, but have been holding onto it for some reason. Maybe for just this sort of situation when I don't have anything else...

Perhaps my concern over my cat (Bella) contributed to my funk, but it does not explain it entirely. I do occasionally have these funks, I always recover and I am confident I will get over this one as well.

When it happens, I just try to do other tasks. Like getting caught up on some housework, laundry, etc. And I did this time, too. Then, I give myself permission to "goof off" a little. I tried playing some computer games, but could not get my brain to participate with that either.

I wrote some entries for my personal blog "The Other Side of My Life". I surfed some other blogs, played with my sidebar, added some links...And here I am today trying to account for my week.

We postponed our sailing trip (last Sunday) for this coming Sunday, but it has been raining again. So, depending on the weather, we may or may not go. If the weather permits, perhaps it is what I need. If the weather does not permit, I probably need to find something else to clear my head.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Shifting Gears

I have spent the last couple of weeks working on the website (KnotGypsyDesigns.com) and although it still needs much work, I must shift gears this week. I really need to increase my income so that I won't have to get a day job! To do that would mean I would not have much energy for KnotGypsy Designs. My business has been growing, slowly, but definitely growing. I can't abandon it now!

The patterns are becoming my best sellers, so of course I want to focus on making some more! I also want to have a good collection of patterns and kits to take with me to the show in October.

So this week I want to focus on producing patterns. I need to get one done on the earrings to match the "Fans Bracelet Pattern". Then, since "Ripple" was voted next in line in my recent poll, "Ripple Bracelet Pattern" will be next after the earrings pattern.

I will also be working on my Squidoo lenses as they are some of my best referring sites. Squidoo also shares royalties from ads and affiliate sales (i.e. Amazon) with their lensmasters. You might want to check it out for yourself.

Already, on Sunday, I created a new lens "Cooking with KnotGypsy". Besides beading, I do love to cook! I have a personal blog (here on blogger), called "The Other Side of My Life". I started it a few months ago so I would have a place to talk about my cats, cooking and my other interests. That way I would not clutter up this blog with those topics. I have added some of my recipes already and will continue to do so. So, why not a Squidoo page on it? There I can recommend my favorite cookbooks, etc.

No, I did not get to go sailing after all. One of my cats, Bella, is sick (again, still, some more). I admit I am getting worried.

So, these are my goals for the week...See you on Friday with "Knot! News" if I don't blog again before that.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Micro Macrame Bracelet made using "Spirals Anklet" Pattern

I just received an email from another customer with a link to her blog, "All about jewellery making". In her recent post "Micro Macrame" she shows the results she got using my "Spirals Anklet or Bracelet Pattern". In the spirit of creativity, she took some liberties with the pattern and turned out a beautiful bracelet! I hope you go check it out.

I also enjoyed browsing her blog. It is very informative with a variety of techniques featured, including tips on stringing beads onto yarn for knitting or crochet and how to make jump rings. I am putting a link to her blog on my sidebar, so we can all find it again whenever we want!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Knot! News - Weekly Update

I have had an exciting week!

On Saturday: I was talking with a friend of mine who makes dolls. She really does some beautiful work sculpting the faces and hands, etc with polymer clay. She lives in Wimberly, Texas where they have a monthly market for antiques, crafts, etc. It is quite a popular market here in Texas. She suggested we get a booth together (for next year). I think it is a pretty good idea. We are planning to attend the next one (Sep 1) to scope it out. If I don't forget my camera, I will take photos to show you.

On Monday: Okay. Uncle. I realized that I bit off more than I could chew with Drupal. It is a wonderful cms (content management system - website builder). However, it is way to complicated for my limited skills. So I switched to WordPress. At least I understand some of how to use it. I will need to learn more about how to edit the stylesheet and layout in order to customize it, so it will still be a challenge. In the meantime, I can at least have a functioning website.

On Tuesday: After having switched to WordPress for my website, I got the site up and running. It is still in the very beginning stages, but at least it is functional.

On Wednesday: I figured out how to change the header image on the new website. I used a cool little online program called Kubrickr that I found on the WordPress help pages. WordPress has excellent documentation on how to use it.

Also on Wednesday: I struggled with figuring out how to get the shipping right with my PayPal buttons. The problem arose when I listed a couple of patterns. Patterns do not require any shipping charges. However, when I clicked on the option to override shipping charges and tested the button by adding a pattern to my cart, I noticed that PayPal was still adding shipping charges. I spent considerable time trying to solve this. I settled on adding the shipping charges to the price and leaving it at that. I am considering installing a WordPress shopping cart plug-in. I need to learn how to do the installation, so it may be next week before I get to it. Still thinking on it.

On Thursday: I found W3Schools, an online site dedicated to teaching html, css, and website development. It is very user friendly and easy to navigate. Their tutorials even have practice exercises, many of which are right there on their site. Even a non-techie like me found it quite easy to understand.

Also on Thursday: I got reviewed by Bloggeries Blog Reviews! See previous post "Bloggeries Blog Review" for more. In response to the great suggestions I received, I have added AdSense to the bottom of my sidebar. I will also be working on a few other ideas in the future.

This morning: I found a comment on my previous post that this blog is currently being featured on Big Blog Directory.

All in all, a very good week in spite of the troubles with my PayPal buttons. Now, I need a little Rest and Recreation. We are going sailing this weekend...See you when I get back!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Bloggeries Blog Review

I just got reviewed by Bloggeries Blog Review! Not only am I happy with the nice things the reviewer said about this blog, I got some great suggestions on improvement.

Bloggeries Blog Reviews currently has a promotion going on at their forum. Find the details here. You will need to join their forum. This should not be a problem for anyone who truly wants to improve their blogging skills. It is an informative and friendly forum. I have learned a lot and enjoyed every minute spent there reading or posting. I encourage you to check it out.

I am so excited!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

KnotGypsyDesigns.com is born

I just can't wait until Friday (to put this in the Knot! News Weekly Update). I will write more on the process on Friday, but in the meantime...

I switched to WordPress for the new website. I have it up and running although it is a fledgling and needs a lot more work. I plan on learning how to edit the stylesheet and make it pretty, but it will take me a little time for that.

I have begun adding items, general information, etc. I would love to hear what you think. So, if you would go to KnotGypsyDesigns.com and leave me a comment there, or come back here to leave a comment, I would greatly appreciate it. Aside from aesthetics, I would like to hear about the organization, navigation, etc.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Look What Someone Did with the "Waves Bracelet Pattern

One of my customers made this wonderful beaded micro macrame watch using the pattern "Waves Bracelet".

Angie Thunker Aug 2007
What a great idea! Perhaps I should make some watches...

Friday, August 3, 2007

Knot! News - Weekly Update


Item: First, I have decided to try something new - a weekly update on Fridays so I can put all my news in one easy to find spot. Provide a little consistency. Consistency? From me? Well, I know it is a lot to ask of myself, but let's try anyway.

Item: I have been offering my micro macrame jewelry kits in customizable form. However, since I have increased the number of patterns and kits and will continue to do so, I cannot continue with this. It is becoming unwieldy and time consuming to keep track of it. So, from now on, I will make up some kits and list them as is. (see example "KIT of Materials - Spirals Anklet or Bracelet in Yellow" in photo at right). That way, I will have them on hand to pop into an envelope for shipping. You may contact me for special requests and I will see what I can do. I have already edited all the kits in my Etsy shop (except for the key chain kits - I will get to them later).

Item: I am having trouble adjusting my sleep schedule to fit in with my partner's transfer to day shift. Traditionally, I am a night owl, so it is hard. I love to stay up late and then sleep in. With him on day shift, this is troublesome. Wish me luck...

Item: I have applied for a space at a brand new show in San Antonio, The DIY Factory . It sounds like it could be fun and perhaps profitable. I need to get the word out, so here goes. It will be my first official show as KnotGypsy (except for setting up at Trade Days here in Seguin). This means I must get some display equipment together and get my inventory ready. I have my work cut out for me.

Item: Sorry, I have not made any progress on the website since last Sunday. Too many distractions this week. (Bella is doing better, but still needs to get some dental work done in a couple of weeks).

Item: I reviewed another move "The Devil's Advocate" on my "Beading with Netflix" Squidoo lens. I enjoyed the movie enough to watch it twice before sending it back.

That's the news for KnotGypsy this week. "Good night and have a pleasant tomorrow..."

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Update Re: New website

Yes, I have made a little progress. On Sunday, I spent several hours studying and trying things. I worked on setting up pages, and how to organize content. Drupal is an excellent cms (content management system) for building a website, but it is very comprehensive and somewhat complicated. I think I am getting some understanding of it.

I have run into a few problems this week that interfere with further progress. We have been having intermittent problems with our internet connection. Perhaps because of all the rainstorms we have been having. I have also been distracted taking care of a sick kitty. Bella (10 years old) has been having some upper respiratory infections and some dental/gum problems. We took her to the vet yesterday, and I get to give her antibiotics 3 times a day. Anyone with a cat knows what a challenge it can be to administer medication to it. I worry that since she is old, she may have more serious problems. I know we all grow old and die, but it is still a sad thing. I would miss her greatly as she is such a wonderful cat.

Well, back to work...

Monday, July 30, 2007

"Fans" Bracelet Pattern is Finished


I just finished the pattern "Fans Bracelet" and listed it at My Etsy Shop. I will be working on the pattern for matching earrings very soon. I decided to separate them as the earrings require a slightly different technique.

This striking micro macrame design is simple in conception, but needs a bit of practice to master. Recommended for beginners with some knotting and beading experience. This design primarily uses Double Half-Hitch knots with Lark's Head knots at the beginning and ending. The trickiest parts are beginning, ending, and determining how many seed beads to use per strand. It is all covered in the instructions with plenty of photos.

As with all my basic designs, there is lots of room for creativity. I provide tips on some variations, including how to expand it into a choker.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Yin Yang

There is a little bit of light in darkness, and a little bit of darkness in the light. That is what this simple little design of alternating segments reminds me of.

Not so much in this first one, but in the following pieces it becomes more clear. Remember, you can click on images for larger view.

I hope to begin listing these pieces in My Etsy Shop today.

How about a necklace to match?
Yin Yang Bracelet in Pink and Green
UPDATE: I have begun writing the text for the "Fans" pattern. Sorry, I have not gotten further along. This week, we have had a lot of thunderstorms. Even with surge protection, I do not trust my computer to a Texas thunderstorm! Especially in an old house with a tin roof. So I have had to unplug several times this week. If the weather holds, I should be able to finish up early next week.

Same goes for progress on the new website.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Fans on the Way

I have begun work on the pattern for "Fans". It is looking like "Ripple" is a contender for being next after I finish "Fans". Thanks to all who have voted and helped me decide.

I have not gotten much done on the website this week. Due to circumstances at my sweetie's job, he is now on day shift. We have both had to rework our schedules, and it seems to take a little longer to adjust than it used to when we were younger.

I do have some new bracelets made - a new slimmer variation of "Nouveau". I plan on getting them photographed, listed, and posted here in the next couple of days.

And I do need to get caught up on housework now and then, you know.

So, in spite of feeling a little like I am drifting with no anchor, I am getting some of my tasks done. I am sure that I will be back up to snuff once I adjust to this new schedule and re-anchor myself to a new routine....

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Poll

I am gearing up to work on my next pattern. So, if you want to help me decide which pattern to make next, check out the candidates below and then in the sidebar (left) find the "Which Pattern Do You Want Me to Make Next?" voting block and cast your vote.

Voting will continue for 6 days. As soon as I get some results, I will begin work on the most popular design. Keep voting, it will help me decide which one to do 2nd, etc. If this works out, I may use this poll idea again.

Candidates are as follows (remember you can click on image for larger view):

Criss Cross

Fans

Nouveau

Lattice

Ripple

All of the candidates (except for Ripple) will also include instructions for matching earrings and all of them including Ripple can be expanded to make a choker.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Ripple - A New Design Series is Born

My latest experimentation in beaded micro macrame has resulted in a new series - "Ripple".

At right is the prototype, and I am keeping it for my personal collection.

The first one has a few design flaws which I corrected in this next one, "Ripple Bracelet in Green and Black" . (Click on link to find it listed at my Etsy Shop).


Then I experimented some more with this next one in brown, bronze and green. I am still working out some of the finer points and I misjudged how long to cut the cords. I will need to redo it and hope to have a completed version in a few weeks. I have to let a design "rest" sometimes before I am ready to go back to it. This is one of those times because I must start over. (I hate starting over!)


UPDATE ON NEW SITE: Not a lot more accomplished this week due to a personal crisis in our lives. The crisis is now resolved and hopefully I will return to the challenge of building my new website next Monday...Until then, Happy Weekend and Happy Friday the 13th!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

First Day With Drupal...

...And already, I got myself in a pickle.

After the installation of Drupal at my new webhost (OpenSourceHost.com), I received an email telling me the installation was complete and all I had to do was create a new account, and I would be set to start work on my new site. All I could see was my cPanel. This panel has things like databases, email account set ups, etc, but no Drupal. I even sent in a support ticket. Those poor support staff guys! They were very patient with me, and I appreciate it a great deal. Finally, it was determined my problem was that I was looking for Drupal in my webhost account, when I should be looking for it at my KnotGypsyDesigns.com address. Viola! Then, I saw another email in my inbox with a link to go to my Drupal site! Okay. I know I'm not really stupid, but I certainly felt stupid!

So, I got the new account created, and explored some, read up in Drupal.org's handbooks, tweaked the colors, and set the site configuration to work offline. I thought setting this configuration would be a good idea as it will show a screen to the world that the site is under construction, and I could direct people here to this blog for more information and updates on progress. It was a good idea. Want to see it? Go to KnotGypsyDesigns.com.

Then I logged out. Oops. Now, I could not log back in. I just got the screen telling everyone that the site was under construction...

I went to Drupal.org and searched the forums. I found a thread that had been posted last year, but with the same problem. I tried the suggestion (to go to www.example.com/?q=user), to no avail. I posted, asking for help. Today, I received an answer. It was the same suggestion that had previously been given. I normally use FireFox browser, so I swallowed my indignation and used Internet Explorer as it has no cookies for my site. I even cleared its cache. No go. Finally, after a few more posts, someone suggested I type my domain name instead of "example.com". Duh. In my defense, the instructions did not say whether to substitute my domain for "example.com" or not, but it did say to type "user" as is (not to substitute username). So, my untechnical mind just assumed to type it all as is.

I have learned something! I am off to a stumbling start, but I am off...

Monday, July 9, 2007

Progress on New KnotGypsy Designs.com Site

Yes, it is official. I have decided to leave this blog right here on Blogger.

As I have told you, I am moving KnotGypsy Designs.com to a new host. (OpenSourceHost.com) My domain has propogated there, and I have had them install Drupal .

I have begun to study how to use Drupal to build my new site. And, I have played around in it a little this evening. Because it is so flexible, and comprehensive; there is quite a bit to learn. I have already had to use a support ticket to figure something out. The support staff at OpenSourceHose were quick to respond, and very patient with me.

I don't know how long it will take me to get a basic site up. I don't even know how to guess at this point. I will keep you updated.

Now, I need to give my brain a rest...

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Beading With Netflix

In my first Squidoo lens, "Original Designs in Hand Crafted Beaded Micro Macrame and Beaded Crochet Jewelry" I included a Netflix module where I said:
I love Netflix! I have been a subscriber for over a year now, They ship fast, and have very good customer service.

My beading area is in the TV Room, so I have everything I need right to hand. I like to get a cup of coffee, or glass of iced tea, pop in a movie...and I can bead all day!"
Now, I have created a 2nd lens "Beading With Netflix", where I will tell you what I think of all those movies and TV series I am watching while I bead. I'll even throw in some beading project ideas so perhaps you, too, will discover the joys of "Beading With Netflix". (Not all of those ideas will be my patterns, I promise).

I really love Squidoo. Google loves it, and it is one of my best referring sites. I love the community there, and yes, I love making lenses. I am sure I will make more in the future.

KnotGypsy Designs Links

Well, I signed up for hosting at OpenSourceHost. I have deleted the old website. I have changed the nameserver of my domain. Now I wait for my new webhost account to be activated. They tell me it will take 24-48 hours.

I just realized, duh, that I can link my guestbook, FAQ, and Workshop forum to this blog. So that is what I have done. I put them in the link list "KnotGypsy Designs Links on my sidebar. Once I get the new site up and running, I will create new ones (without the ads) and transfer all the posts and other info from the current ones to the new ones.

Hey, this might even be fun! I need to believe this...

Feedback from Customers

For a quick look at what my customers have to say so far...

I am very pleased that people find my tutorials (or patterns if you will) to be clear and easy to follow. Although I encourage people to contact me with any questions or difficulties, so far, there have been none.

Recently, one of those customers asked me where she could find the C-lon nylon beading cord in 10 - 15 yard segments instead of the 86 yard spools offered at Jewels in Fiber. She said she wanted several colors, but was not ready to buy complete spools in all those colors.

I don't know of any places to get just segments of this cord. So I offered to sell her some 15 yard segments from my stash. I wonder, does anyone else want a "sampler pack"? I am going to list one at My Etsy Shop to find out. If there seems to be a need, I would be happy to make up sampler packs of the cord.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Oops...

Didn't get any more posting done as it took me longer to get this banner done than I expected. I'm still not completely happy, but will need to go at it from a different angle. But not tonight, I am tired and it is nearly my bedtime.

Then I ran into a snag when deciding how I want to present my Picasa Albums. I'm still thinking on it.

So, I updated my Squidoo Lens and visited Bloggeries Blog forum for awhile. I surfed a little, too. Some for fun, and some for research (website building resources, and business card customization).

So, until tomorrow...

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Etsy Mini Gallery

Here is a Mini Gallery of items available at My Etsy Shop. Click on any image to be taken right to item description.

Monday, July 2, 2007

I Do Believe I Found the Solution!

After I published my previous post, I followed up on checking into Zen Cart. I clicked on some web hosts that feature Zen Cart.

I found OpenSourceHost . I checked them out and I really like what I saw. They support all kinds of open source applications like Zen Cart, WordPress, and Drupal . I also found Open Source CMS. where you can test drive demos of all these applications!

Drupal seems to offer everything I wanted in Zen Cart and WordPress put together and more. So, I don't see where I could go wrong with Drupal. It does seem to be a system that will grow with me. In fact, I am not sure I will ever grow into it.

OpenSourceHost is reasonably priced, and the reviews I found confirm that OpenSourceHost provides excellent support. Their site has plenty sources of help from video tutorials to FAQ and support tickets. They even install the applications of your choice for free! Too good to be true? I plan on finding out.

I do have a lot to learn, but with all the resources that I found there, I do believe I can do it.

First, I will be bringing some content over here from my current KnotGypsyDesigns.com site. Then I will dismantle it. I have already saved the comments, etc from my forum, and my guestbook. (Yes, Drupal has forum and guestbook modules - I can have everything!)

Then, I will begin the building process. I have collected some background textures and am working on finalizing my banner and logo. I hope to be able to customize my style sheets and really make a nice site.

Thanks everyone, for your patience during this process, I think we will all be happier when it is done.

Regrouping...Again...Still...Some More...

I have kind of locked up on the issue about what to do with my website ideas.

I do really like Blogger. I think I want to keep this blog here. It is comfortable, familiar, people know me...And I don't look forward to moving...

I like WordPress as a blogging/website building software. It does have possibilities...

Do I want a site to sell from? Would that be more professional? Maybe for my higher end pieces?

I like Etsy a lot. Besides the tangible benefits of the feedback system, easy interface, and the low cost; they have a rather nice and friendly community there. I also like that they are a socially and environmentally principled business.

I found an interesting free shopping cart - Zen Cart . I still need to check it out some more.

I want something professional looking, but I am not a "techie" type and on a tight budget for now.

What to do? What to do?

I know, I said I had made up my mind a while back to unify my blog and website with the WordPress software and paid hosting. But then I found Zen Cart...and I waffled. So, I decided to not make any changes until I was sure.

The time has come to decide. I have had time these past few months to learn some things, and try some things out, but I don't want to just keep moving around, and changing my sites. I want to stabilize with something that will grow with me. I am focusing on this issue this week. My goal is to make a decision this week.

In other news, I have been doing those hated administrative tasks. Reorganizing files, standardizing my listing system, reorganizing inventory and supplies, etc. - you know, all those things we hate to do, but the benefit of getting them done will streamline my process and save time in the long run. "Efficiency is important".

I have managed to get some beading done, as well. I got the clasp on the bracelet I showed you last week. Here it is in its completed state:
And I played with some more gemstone chips. I love the way these pieces feel, and I love the "ordered chaos" look of the chips.

These pieces will be available at My Etsy Shop by the weekend.


Wish me luck on deciding what to do.
Copyright 2007 Donna Littlewood