Sunday, January 11, 2009

More resolutions

Yep, as promised I'm going to share a few more resolutions, but first, take a look at these star earrings I made for a Christmas gift this year. I used 21GA sterling square wire, and soldered them together as a chain. I'm very pleased how they turned out, it's hard to tell on some of the stars were I soldered them! I've come to the conclusion that soldering isn't really hard, it's all the prep work and post work that is! To make these I first cut the wire, bent it into shape, and filed the ends of the wire so they closed well. If you do not have the ends butted properly, it's not going to solder well at all. That's probably the hardest part.. getting the ends to match well. I soldered all the bigger stars first, and then soldered the smaller star.. after I threaded the 2 big ones in it.. you have to be careful not to melt all the pieces together in a ball! After soldering, I pickled them for an hour or so, to clean them up. Then wash them with regular dish water detergent and a scrub pad, Then my least favorite chore. filing and sandpaper-ing at the solder joints to remove the excess solder. After a gentle reshape with pliers, I used my chasing hammer to flatten them.. then a quick polish and tumble. They were a great deal of work, but I'm very pleased they turned out as well as they did, especially as I used a smaller gauge. I was really afraid I'd melt them together in a ball, but I got them right the first time!

This bracelet's been sitting in my picture file for awhile, so I'd thought I would show it now.. it's Botswana agate and sterling silver wire. I love the pinks of this peculiar strand of agate, that's why I bought them in the first place!

Ok, now to the resolutions!! I really need to update my website. ( Now I've made this resolution every year.. but this time I mean it!!! LOL I have time issues ( no, really Kat?) (yes that is sarcasm!) so as much as I would love to have a website with all the bells, with a shopping cart and links to interesting sites and updated well, hourly, it's not going to happen. It's taken me 2 years to understand that... the only way I could have a website like that is if I quit my day job, hire someone to revamp and maintain my website, or stop sleeping. Or possibly all three. I can't quit my day job yet, and I can't afford the costs of hiring someone to maintain the site, but I'll probably get help to revamp it. I don't get enough sleep now.. but that leads into the main issue, what is my website for??

To sell jewelry? I did try a shopping cart once before, about 3 years ago, but it looked clunky and I found it hard to maintain, so I took it off. I joined Etsy last year, and I've been pleased with it. It does all the hard parts of having a shopping cart, and since it has it's own traffic source more people will see my jewelry than just on my website.

To communicate with my customers? I started this blog a couple of years ago.. I like blogging. The format encourages frequent posting, and so far I've maintained more or less weekly updates. I can even do updates when I'm not home, if I have access to a computer.

So I'm not really sure what I want to do with my website. This month I'm going to be exploring that... I've even considered dropping it.. but then I do have customers that check it periodically, and it's only printed on about 5000 business cards right now... so that's my big question --what do I want? and then I'd deal with what it should look like.

My other main business resolution is taking better pictures. If I'm going to maintain my website this year, the key is better pictures. And for selling on etsy, the better the pictures, the better my sales will be. The mookite pendant shows my first stabs at better pictures. I've been doing some research and one of the suggestions is using scrapbooking paper for backgrounds. Picture 1 shows sort of a parchment background and picture #2 shows a picture of sandy stone.. I like how that one looks. I've taken pictures for the Internet for years now, but I've not been systematic about it... so now when I take pictures for the blog or Etsy I'll be taking notes each time, until I get the settings that work best for my camera. I'll be playing with different backgrounds and lighting set ups. Honestly I think my biggest issue is lighting. Lighting to date is whatever I have in the house. The miracle that any of my pictures turn out at all! (and that I use ott's in the studio probably helps!) I am planing on buying some professional lights just as soon as a figure out which ones I want. And more paper backgrounds I think. That could get fun! And learn to use the timer on my camera in tandem with the tripod, and I bet my pictures will improve drastically! See ya in a few days!

No comments: