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...
Copyright 2007 Donna Littlewood