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Jewellery is a solitaire (y) Business.

25 Mar

There are many advantages to having your own business, particularly one where you are your own boss.   Jewellery is one of them. You design, you source, you sell, all on your own merits.  And that’s just great, however, sometimes you just feel a bit lonely.  What should you charge? is this any good? where can I find blastically pelmuts? And this is where the internet is just the most wonderful thing.  You can find your sources, you can get ideas but best of all you can find yourself some cyber friends.

If you belong to Etsy, then do go have a look for a team, they ‘can’ be amazing.  For example the lovely team I belong to (in fact I belong to many but to be honest only really keep up with this one) ‘metalclayheads’, is just a joy to belong to. Over the time I have belonged, tips have been shared from kiln firing times, making rings, how to use different types of clay, how to set stones etc.  The best suppliers for the different elements needed have been shared – imagine how much time that saves.  When something really interesting happens in the clay area, someone there is on it and posting the link.  For example when silver prices sky rocketed last year, it was from the team that most of the information came.  They share stories, and advice, what you need, how to go about doing a show, or doing a jewellery party at home.

There are charity events, at the moment everyone is on the case of making a charm for a charm bracelet to be auctioned in aid of amnesty international.  Imagine – people from all over the world, all with different skills levels and different backgrounds and interests, all sending an item of value to one person who will sort the whole thing out. They have a blog, and many of the members have taken roles and write articles for specific areas – imagine the advantages of that?  You have your own blog and some followers, great, but you belong to a large blog and then you have a much larger audience, the possible knock on effect is brilliant, and all it takes is a little time out of your working week.

I live in the UK, we are way behind on many of the techniques / supplies that emerge in the clay world.  Something has just been discovered to be a really useful thing to use, but we can’t get it over here, so what happens? a whole pile of the lovely team members offer to send some over to the UK.

So, as you can see, although it can seem very lonely, you can find people to connect with, it is maybe not likely you have people in the same road as you, and often not even in the same town, but get on the internet and hey presto you can find many who will fit the profile you are looking for at your fingertips.  The amazing thing about the internet is that they could well be thousands and thousands of miles away but they will be with you in your living room whenever you choose to invite them in, you just have to connect. If you are on etsy, it is easy enough to find a ‘team’. Personally I don’t bother with juried teams, I find them a little bit… well let’s just say I don’t bother with them.  But just do a search for whatever it is you make in the teams section.  If you aren’t on etsy I have found loads of forums that seem very active and everyone seems to know each other.  So the next time you are sitting at your computer wondering why you bother and wishing you had someone who understood to talk to, do take the plunge if you haven’t already, I really don’t know what I would have done without the lovely ladies (and Lego) who belong to the team I am proud to belong to.

Rant!

14 Mar

I am getting so ranty.  I accept technology moves on, in fact I love technology  – but – why is everything starting to get so interlinked, so interwoven that what ever you do on one site automatically updates on another site.

When I first joined X, I joined X.  I read X’s T’s & C’s and agreed to them and that was it.  I checked it all out, changed the settings to what I liked and was good to go.  Then Y gets into bed with X and now they decide that anyone who knows X must automatically like and want to be friends and go to the same parties as Y.  That just isn’t true.

It’s all done under the cover of being easier, that you just use one sign in for everything, but that isn’t the story really is it.  But what I don’t get, except for the wider audience to advertise to, is what advantage is it to Google, Youtube, Pintinterest, Etsy, Facebook, Twitter to all be interlinked?  And how, when you haven’t signed in with a different sites sign in, does the first even know.

I’m seeing all sort of worrying things.  Friends writing privately to my lovely man on Facebook – privately mind, and it being posted on my wall?  I go to youtube and upload something, and then find it has been posted to Facebook. A post from over a year ago with a link to my Facebook page (from her Facebook wall) on my Facebook page and absolutely impossible to remove it.  The fact that I didn’t want that information on my page is neither here nor there – well in fact it’s very much here and there and in the end I had to delete the contact as a friend as the only way to remove the post.  At a later date I will add them again, but I do not want that information on my page.  I didn’t write it, I didn’t post it so why the effing hell is it on there without the ability for me to remove it.  I was also on paypal the other day, and noticed at the bottom of the ‘secure sign in page’ that a mutual acquaintance ‘liked’ Paypal’ – Excuse me!!  And on it goes.

here endeth  midnight rant.

Label Printers – thank you Dymo!

12 Mar

I have an HP printer and it drives me nuts.
Until very recently I used Royal Mail Smart Stamp to do my postage, it was acceptable as a system, not fabulous, but saved me having to go to the post office daily. Then I had the revelation of using a mac and getting a mac! Life changed!
The biggest change is that Royal Mail – seriously – doesn’t support Macs! Can you believe it! So I was back to either going to the post office daily or faffing around with paypal and 4 labels to a sheet and an HP printer that constantly jammed up (probably from the unused labels).
So, reading on the etsy forums some seller extolling the virtues of their new Dymo label printer, I decided to check it out. Trust me, don’t try getting any official body to state that their product works with another product. I wrote to Dymo, I wrote to PayPal, I wrote to Brother, I wrote to Royal Mail, would any bugger give me a straight answer? No!
So, eventually I discovered that if you saved the postage label in paypal to a pdf, that would work to a certain extent. You could then select what you wanted and paste that to an A4 sheet and then attempt to print that out.
However! After two night running of not getting to bed till after 1pm because of printer jams, I decided to just go for it and get a Dymo printer and take the risk.
First night and once again I was tearing my hair out, they had sent me the wrong software – people don’t really look after Mac users so well. It’s like a secret society of people using a machine that is most definitely superior to its competition, but no one else will listen or give any help.
Anyway – the people who sold me the Dymo printer were very quick to send me the link of the updated software (would have been nice to have had it at the time, but better late than never.)
And I have spent a glorious day printing off labels like there is no tomorrow. It is amazingly fast, the print quality is second to none – I could not be more delighted and just wanted to say so!
So – I LOVE MY DYMO LABEL PRINTER!. If you were thinking of it – do it you won’t be sorry!

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QR codes revisited

5 Mar

https://somethingxtraspecial.wordpress.com/2012/02/09/qr-code/

I realise I didn’t put enough information in the previous blog related to QR codes, so I’m going to try and put that right!!
Generally QR codes are free to generate – however do check the small print as to whether or not they can be used for commercial purposes.

This one is one I first used and gives you free codes (but says not for commercial purposes)
http://qrcode.kaywa.com/
This one gives the first one free and says nothing, as far as I can see about not using it for commercial purposes
http://smartytags.com/

What can you include:
They can be made for anything, a website, a map, an information pack whatever you fancy, it just needs a related web page. I keep seeing them with special offers on them, so you scan the code and get taken to a page where there is some kind of special offer. (Locally the restaurants near me are using them on all their menu flyers).
Effectively think of them as a short cut to a web page from a phone.

So bearing that in mind, is there any point in putting them on a website?
I can’t really see any, rather defeats the points, your viewer/ target is already where they should be and just clicking a link will do the job.
Could you put them on Etsy as a picture with your item? I don’t think so really, you would effectively be going against the TOU’s by linking to an outside site (unless of course it was to inside etsy in which case again – what’s the point).

Something that is really cool is that they can be any colour you wish, so if wherever you are going to put them has a strong colour theme, you could match it.

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Where could you use them?

The obvious places would be business cards, invoices, in fact anything not online as the idea is a way of giving someone quick access without typing in the whole url. Apparently in Korea on the trains and buses they are plastered all along the top panel inside and everyone with smart phones just goes along scanning them. The whole point is that (in my opinion – awfully humble) they will be very common and very used in the future, this is like the very early days of twitter and facebook, so if you get in there quickly, you could be giving the impression that you are at the cutting edge of technology – can’t be bad eh!!

If I can think of anything else I’ll add it on here, or ask a question.

 

 

 

Blogger or WordPress

26 Feb

It’s very amusing, the difference between pc users and mac users. Pc users are like non church going Christians or lapsed whatevers, ask them what they believe and they’ll say ‘yeah – this is cool, you can get a good bargain at this store, whereas mac users are like followers who have the truth! They know they know what is best, what the answer is and they will share it with you if you ask, (and sometimes when you don’t) whereas PC users have never even asked themselves the question, they just use what they do and accept it as it is. So when it comes to which is better and you ask the question ‘which is better’ there is a resounding thud of silence from the PC users because they don’t (in general) know any better, where the Mac followers will quickly pull out their tracts and explain patiently all the benefits of their chosen medium. The same seems to be true of blogspot and wordpress (as far as I can see). Again I asked the question, and really got little info or opinion from bloggers but the wordies came out in force.

It appears that blogger is for pc users and wordpress is more for mac users.
So, here are my thoughts (and I have both at the moment!)

Blogger at first sight is user friendly and quite intuitive. I was able to find my way round it very eaisly when I first started using it (about three years ago), having never written a blog before at the time. The themes are extensive and from what I found were very easy to personalise. You can change the layout, column widths etc, the texts and the colours. Fonts and font size, in fact you can change just about anything.

WordPress for me at first sight is not quite so easy (but I am new). That said though, that could be because I was looking for blogger things in a different place. I’ve got there but it’s a lot more complicated and there is a lot more to get your head round. Themes? that is where I have to say blogger wins. WordPress gives you a selection but they are quite rigid, there isn’t so much you can personalise. Of course you can ‘upgrade’ for $30 and change your font if you like but even then there isn’t that much you can change. So on the personalisation front for me blogger wins.

Now, I have an ipad and I wanted to be able to blog from there (or here ;-). (Also in case it has any bearing – I am a newly converted mac user!!;-)
Each has an app. Blogpress is ok, very basic but will do a simple blog and upload it for you, however wordpress’s little app is fantastic, with so many little functions and very easy to use that it has so far drawn me over. On a concrete level when I look at them I can;t see what one has that the other doesn’t, it just feels more complete. Everything is where you expect it to be, links, photos etc plus draft or publish and it’s easy to go back and change easily.

So I have to say the jury is still out at the moment. I have both, and will see how they both pan out, I have a feeling it’s going to be wordpress for me purely from the app side of it.

Too old for Facebook?

25 Feb

So.. timeline came in for me on the 16th February, I have kinda tried to get used to it, but everyday something is really getting on my bloody nerves.  First it starting putting so much random junk on there, but I have slowly controlled that.  Next, on my feed I am seeing messages from one person to another person – it feels like I’m eavesdropping – I mean what is that all about?  Then, when I was trying to remove some photos I noticed this:

Can you see that?  the photo is ‘sponsored’ – I mean seriously what is that all about?  I in fact pay for Facebook advertising, and it’s reasonably effective, but does that mean I am ‘sponsoring’ people to look at their own photos? Am I paying to get on other people’s tits the way this is getting on mine?

And the really sad thing is, that over the last week, at least 4 people have said to me, in not so many words, ‘maybe I am just too old now for Facebook’.

Is that what the organisers of Facebook are trying to do? get rid of anyone over 35? Really? Or am I just a really grumpy cow today?

Interested in Pinterest?

15 Feb

So, Pinterest!! If you don’t know it, it’s fab. I stayed away for a long time, thought ‘oh no’ not another thing to have to keep logging into and then get shown everyone else’s etsy new listing. I have to say I have now unfollowed so many people on twitter because of that very thing. (Does that make me a bad person?) (;-)

So .. Pinterest;
if you don’t know, effectively you are given an online pin board, and then where ever you go online, whatever you see online (mostly images), you pin that to your board(s). It will put the url as well. So for example, if you were trying to decide where to go on holiday, you could either search online or search the pinterest board search (which is hugely effective and extensive) and then just pin those images up. As other people see them, they can repin them. So what you end up having is lots of very very beautiful and very interesting boards of images, in all different types of subjects and interests.
You aren’t supposed to use it for purely self promotion, more as an appreciation thing, however most people have one board which reflects who they are. The lovely thing is you can do a board of all the people who do work that you admire – and what a lovely way to show them that you admire them! And you can just keep adding and adding. I keep seeing the most inspiringly beautiful things.
Right gotta go, things to pin and see.
If it interests you, do go and have a look, come and join me!

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

QR Code

9 Feb

Ok, so this is my QR code!! If you don’t know, it’s a bar code effectively, a bar code that takes you to a web link. You scan it with an app on your phone and once it has focussed and processed – it will click and then give you the url and take you to the page. So if you scan this funny image above with your phone, (if you have the app) you will be taken to my website! Cool eh! Obviously not an awful lot of use for websites, as if you are on the web you’d really just type the url in, however in magazines, business cards, on invoices etc etc it seems like a really great idea.
If you want the app just go to your app market and look for bar code scanner – they are usually free.
I tried using one on my phone early last year and gave up, it just didn’t seem to work, but things move fast, and now these are appearing all over the place.
Thought you might find this interesting, I just quite like the design.

Nik nak iPadi Mac

5 Feb


So, last week my computer died. No problem I have a laptop! er – I had a laptop. Turned it on and it had died too.

Over Christmas my lovely man had gotten himself an iPad, and I have to say I so totally
fell in love with it I just had to get one too. I had a little netbook which was fab, but this beauty did everything plus plus plus.
I’ve had it 3 or 4 weeks now and couldn’t love it more.
So, when the big beast and the smaller beastie took their last breaths and died, I asked someone I know if they could fix it. Apparently it was very old (7 years – 7 years is old??) and so in the end it just came down to it needed replacing.
Went to the computer shop and looked and looked. The Mac called me over and seduced me so fully and complete I couldn’t resist and walked out the shop with a shiny brand spanking new beautiful object. At the moment we are still getting to know each other. I had been in a very long relationship before with big beast and had gotten used to my ex’s special ways, and am having to slowly get used to Macs new ways. They are different but so interesting. So far I am besotted. That ridiculous photo above is just me playing around on here, but it just has the coolest little features. (My room looks very grown up doesn’t it – not how I think it looks at all!)

Sometimes a hug is worth a fortune!

29 Jan

I have a cyber friend who has spent her life being bullied by an inner demon, and finally she has found a way of evicting that demon and appreciating that she is an amazing and gifted artist, but it needed kind words from others for her to realise this. (I won’t say her name but many who read this will know who I mean).

It’s crap you know, to grow up and doubt yourself all your life, too many of us do it.
So, today I handed over a piece that was commissioned by a stranger. I tortured myself the entire time I was making it, it wasn’t my normal style and I just wasn’t sure. I met the lady, and she.. hugged me!! I welled up like a good ‘un!That hug meant so so much.

So, I was so delighted, I posted about it on facebook, and a lovely lady who sells some of my stuff in her shop posted the following back:

We had a gentleman raving about your work last week. He bought his wife some jewellery for Christmas and she really loved it, so he came in and got some more pieces for her birthday, I think she will have one of everything soon. We’ll have to expand our range!!”

So, today has been a lovely lovely day, and today I feel what I do is maybe good enough, unfortunately I know who I am and what I am like and that tomorrow it will have faded into the past, so I am really enjoying this feeling, like the lady at the top of the post. I am going to make a huge effort (more than I already do) to make sure that anyone I know who makes anything at all, knows that what they do is unique and extremely special – as are they!