Friday, May 25, 2007

Just a Little Burned Out

Yesterday and today, I have had no steam. Just a little burned out, I guess. So I have gone on strike in order to play computer games! I've been playing two of my favorites, Civilation IV and The Sims. A few years ago, I got into the Sims because of the creative aspect. I enjoy building the houses and furnishing them! I got a lot of free downloads off the internet. It was shopping without the guilt! So today, I played.

Before I went on strike however, I found Squidoo. I love Squidoo! I warn you it is addicting. You can set up a lens (what they call a page) with your own title, etc. I made one to ShowCase my work (of course). You can find it here. I had so much fun, I am considering some non-jewelry related lenses, when I can find the time. I have also had a lot of fun surfing other people's lenses. There are all kinds of things to be found there. So if you are in need of a new addiction...

I have had some interest in my new tutorials, and have sold several already. I am encouraged. I am beginning to plan my next one...What shall it be? I wanted to go in order of difficulty, sort of like a course in micro macrame.

That would be "Waves" next,
followed by "Criss Cross"


So that is what I think I will stick to.

I still have those new ideas to play with. I have yet to find time to really do them justice, but here is a sneak peak at my first experimentation with one of them.

Believe it or not, this is micro macrame! I think I will have some fun with this one! What do you think?

I know what's wrong with me...I NEED NEW BEADS! New beads would fix everything...maybe I'll just go browse some catalogs...Ummm, bye for now.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Tutorial for Beaded Micro Macrame "Spirals Anklet" Now Available


Yes, the testing, the feedback, the final editing are all done! I have just listed this tutorial (in either paper copy or eCopy) at My Etsy Shop .

I also listed a few kits of materials for those of you who just want to try one out. There will be more kits as I put them together and get them photographed.

I am listing tutorials separately from kits for a couple of reasons. One, the category system in Etsy requires commercial supplies to be listed separately from hand made items. Since I made the patterns/tutorials, but bought the supplies; it makes sense to list them separately. It may seem a little awkward, but I admire Etsy for maintaining their integrity. They are a site primarily for hand made items, and they keep it that way. As I thought about it, it occurred to me that it would be better this way. What if someone wanted 2 kits? Why should they have to "buy the pattern twice"?

I want to thank all the volunteers who participated in the testing phase of this tutorial. The majority of them came from the Bead and Button Community Forum. They are a really great group of friendly and helpful jewelry and bead crafters and artists.

Except for a few editing tips, most of the feedback I received was very positive. They said it was an easy pattern to follow. One woman reports her 12 year old daughter was even giving it a try after having seen Mom do it.

A couple of beaders sent me photos and gave me permission to publish them. So I will. Right here. I think you will agree that both are tributes to skill and creativity. And it was the first time either of them had even tried micro macrame! They both reported that they did not have the recommended supplies, but, as both are beaders, had a bunch of other beads and cords laying around. So they improvised. Beautifully, I might add. Unfortunately for the rest of us, neither of these two beaders has a website I can link to. Hopefully, one day they will.

This first one is by Joy Palmer from Adelaide, Australia.

This 2nd one is by Karen Conn from Athens, Alabama.

What do you think? Did they not do well?

Later, when I have some time to work on my Workshop site, I will post them there. I want to have a page photos of projects done by people who used my tutorials. Oh, I am so very excited.

Well, now I have chores to do, and cannot linger here...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Why Should Artists be Obligated to Do Custom Work?

Shall I start a controversy?

I was recently on a forum and found a thread asking the question "Why would someone not want to do custom work?".

It seems everyone has a different opinion. I think this is great, we are different people. There are as many reasons to not do custom work as there are to do it. I think it is about who you are and why you create. It is the difference between being a crafter and being an artist. Both are legitimate perspectives, just with different needs and motivations.

Some of us just feel a need to express ourselves and our own vision, not someone else's. And many of us in this category will occasionally customize for size, etc. The problem with this for me is that I never make the exact same piece twice. It begins to get close to the line when I make say a bracelet in red, but someone wants one exactly like it in a larger size. If I do so, I will have made two bracelets very nearly the same... In fact, I recently accepted a custom request to make a bracelet in a larger size. I will be using a different button, and the original bracelet is not for sale. This way, I will not be putting two bracelets out there that are the same.

Sometimes, when in a creative lull, a custom request where the customer gives me some creative freedom can be a challenge. It can stir the creative energy. For me, it is about the creativity, not the manufacturing. That is why I do not use anyone else's patterns, I make my own.

There is a commitment that goes with accepting a custom order. The customer rightfully expects the item within a reasonable time frame. Some of us cannot make those kind of commitments. I think it is better to say no, than to say yes, and then not be able to comply.

Of course, there is a polite way to say no, but some people do not like to hear no even if said as diplomatically as possible.

The person who started the thread said that she had asked an artist to do a custom job. Apparently the artist refused, saying that she only worked on what she felt like working on. The artist offered to let this person know if/when she felt like doing it at a later date. The person seemed to feel this was a rude response. Another poster agreed, saying she would just take her business elsewhere, where it was appreciated! Sounds to me like she is "going off in a huff" because she did not get what she wanted. Disappointing, I am sure, but does it merit a huff?

What is wrong with saying I do not feel like it? Is it to say that if I don't have some reason why I cannot do it, then I should do it, regardless of how I feel? Do I not have a right to say no for my own reasons?

For me, feelings are very important to the creative process. In order to do a good job, I need to feel like it. I have read of many other artists who express this as well.

I put a note in my shop announcements about how I do not do custom work, with a convenient reason of already having too many projects. While it is true that I have way too many projects already that I want to do, I can't help but to wonder what I should say if that were not the case. That I simply do not want to? I am not very good at making up excuses, I am too direct for that.

There seems to be an expectation that if a customer wants something other than what is offered in a shop, the shop owner should jump through hoops to comply. That we should do whatever it takes to make a sale. That if we don't then we are somehow in the wrong, and will get criticized for it. Like being told we don't appreciate a customer's business just because we don't want to do custom work. I do appreciate every customer I get, even the customer with a request I cannot or will not fulfill. I appreciate the customer's interest in my work. When I say no, it is not lack of appreciation of the customer, it is simply that I am being true to myself. Certainly the customer has a right to shop elsewhere if they cannot get what they want from me. But why criticize me?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Macrame Key Chain Tutorial Now Available

I am still awaiting feedback on "Spirals Anklet" Tutorial. However, I have finished this simple key chain tutorial "Spirals Key Chain". It is now available at My Etsy Shop . If you don't see it on my front page, please check Section "Patterns and Kits". It is available in paper copy or electronic copy. I have also listed some kits of materials for those of you who just want to try it out without going out to buy all the supplies in quantity. You will still need your own work surface, pins, glue, scissors and clear fingernail polish.

This is a great project for Beginners. It is a simple, easy to make project using a heavier gauge cord than usual for my micro macrame projects. The beads are fewer and larger for easier handling while practicing the knots needed for this fob. Yet, there is a lot of room for creativity. I offer tips for variations at the end of this tutorial. To see key chain in another color, see my bloggerie KnotGypsy's Status Report.

I provide continued support in case you have questions regarding the pattern instructions. Remember my recently set up Workshop ? I set it up specifically for this purpose. I have opened a small forum for questions and answers, and there is a form you may use to contact me directly. This will be my first published tutorial, and therefore the forum is not yet very active. Maybe you will be the one to break the ice!

I have had fairly low energy this week, so I thought it would be a good time for me to take some much needed down time. I have not been laying around all week however. I have been doing research on setting up websites, web hosts, etc. I found some interesting information, and must finish checking it out, but I may be making some changes (again). I know. But I really do want to eliminate ads on my site (except for maybe for some ads relevant to what I am about, like suppliers of beads, etc). We learn as we go, sometimes changing things when better ideas come along. I appreciate all the support and patience I have received so far, and beg your indulgence further until I get through this initial transition.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Scarlet on My Website

I did a little more work on the website tonight. I think I have all the basics done. Including getting the Workshop put into the new layout.

Now, I need to fill it out. Pretty it up.

Which brings me to Scarlet. She wants to be represented on the site, too. I found this icon (upper right) on a website some weeks (maybe months) ago. I remember reading that it was free to use. That is why I downloaded it.

If my memory is incorrect and/or anyone knows where this came from please let me know. I would love to give credit for this wonderful piece of artwork. I thought I noted the source down somewhere, but I cannot find the file. In the meantime, I will Google it and see if I can find it, again.

I would like to post the link here. (You know how I love to post links to places I like.) I think the artist did a beautiful job. (I added the text, as that was how it was presented on the site where I found it.)

I am currently trying this red dragon out on my Home Page. (See link to "Website" above.) So, of course, I want to know what you think.

I have been working hard this week, so am planning some R&R this weekend. Going to visit some old friends I have not seen in awhile. They moved to the Hill Country, and I can't wait to see their new house! So, grab a break yourselves, take time out of your busy lives and relax.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

I Would Love Your Opinions and Questions

I am rebuilding KnotGypsyDesigns.com, making it the Center of Operations.

From it, I have linked KnotGypsy Designs Showcase and KnotGypsy Designs Workshop.

Of course, I also linked to this blog. It is where I put all my news!

So far, I have KnotGypsyDesigns.com and the Showcase in the new layout, including the guestbook, and FAQ. I plan on updating the Workshop tomorrow or so.

What I need now is comments, suggestions, questions. I have a vision, but it is from my perspective. I need to know what you need. Where is it confusing? What do you want more of? What do you like? What does it look like?

I am planning more photos, so don't worry yet.

To respond, please click on links above and look around.

Then, I would love it if you would do any or all of the following:

sign my guestbook and leave a comment;


fill out a contact form and send it to me;


go to FAQ, and leave a question.

I will be checking in tomorrow morning, and working on the site(s) tomorrow evening if all goes well. Like no more thunderstorms!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

KnotGypsy's Status Report

Today, I thought it would be useful (for me at least), to take stock. It has been such a frenzy around here, my partner thinks I am obsessed. Or possessed. He is not sure which.

Well, first thing: The test phase of my first tutorial is nearly finished. I am awaiting the rest of the feedback from my volunteers. It should be in production the end of next week or so.

I have the photography done on my next tutorial " Spirals Key Chain". It will be especially good for Beginners. Here is the finished key chain I made for the tutorial.

This will be a great project for Beginners. It is a simple, easy to make project using a heavier gauge cord than usual for my micro macrame projects. The beads are fewer, and larger for easier handling while practicing the knots needed for this fob. Yet, there is a lot of room for creativity. I will include tips for variations at the end of this tutorial. I anticipate it to be finished in a week or so.

I am also working on that sub-domain for the do-it-yourselfer's and have it mostly laid out. I'll post the url when I have the site done.

My big push right now and for the next several weeks will be to get more tutorials done. Also to get that sub-domain site up.

I continue to work on networking and have come up with some leads. More on them once I learn more.

Trade Days did not result in any sales, but I did get to give out my card to several people. My showcase on Etsy got me some exposure, but alas, no sales.

Once I get some cash flow, I want to buy the beads for a big project. Remember when I told you about Scarlet not letting me sleep? See the last half of bloggerie (start where the red dragon icon is sitting) "Photos As Promised" Well, the big project is based on that night's inspiration. I have long wanted to do a big project such as this, and hope I can get the beads soon. No, I won't tell you any more than this. You will just have to wait. Scarlet said so.

Well, I have some Tortilla Soup simmering on the stove and so I must leave you now...
Copyright 2007 Donna Littlewood