Thursday, October 6, 2011

Wee Bindery: A Passion for Books

When I saw these adorable Leather Mini Notebooks in Wee Bindery's Etsy shop I couldn't resist! My first thought was what wonderful useful little gifts to tuck into stockings for Christmas or give to any number of people I would like to remember during the holidays. Of course, I've already tucked one into my purse for handy notes. I'm the proud owner of several of Wee's books in various sizes, and what strikes me about her work is her beautiful stitching, attention to detail and quality materials.    
 Mini Notebooks I bought from Marie, aka Wee of Wee Bindery
Just the right size for pocket or purse!

I asked Wee about what motivated her to create such beautifully crafted books: 

"Ever since I was very young I was creating something. I made several books when I was young and always found the library fascinating with it's interesting books with their pretty covers.

Anyway, I have dabbled in so many different mediums over the years, taking workshops in jewelry making, etching, painting, pottery, etc. I have always sewed which was imbedded in me as a result of my mother and grandmother having been seamstresses (I have their Singer sewing machines dating from the 1920's and 1940's)."
 One of Wee's Hardcover Notebooks/Sketchbooks, Florentine Flowers

"What I am getting at here is that bookbinding has allowed me to incorporate many of the learned mediums, especially sewing, into the process. I find it relaxing (not when I do a custom order tho) when creating a book and exciting once the book is completed.

I am obsessed with book arts and binding. I look at everything and wonder how it is made and how I can turn it into a book. My husband is afraid I am going to take apart the lovely, but old, brown leather couch we have so I can make books out of it (I could make about 100 books out of it)." 
One of Wee Bindery's Leather Journals 
Exquisite stitching on this Name Notebook/Journal

For more Wee Bindery creations, visit her Etsy Shop
Proud member of the Etsy Treasury Team

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Friday, August 5, 2011

Snakeskin/Reptile Skin Challenge on the Etsy Treasury Team

We do fun challenges from time to time on the Etsy Treasury Team.  Our August Snakeskin/Reptile Skin Challenge will go on through August 25th.  All the entries will be posted on our team blog when the challenge is over.  Here are my creations so far!  I have another in the works.

Snake Skin Gourd Vase Bowl in Red Black with Arrangement

Snake Egg Gourds Decoupaged Nature Inspired Bowl Filler Use for Crafts

Visit my Midnightcoiler shop for more gourds, baskets, pottery and other nature inspired artisan goods.  

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Fig Newtons- Only Better

A friend gave me a bag full of ripe figs, one of my favorite fruits! These are a real delicacy as they don't keep well as a fresh fruit. After eating way more than I should have, I made homemade fig bars, starting with making fig preserves. See the fig preserve and bar recipe below.
A few for snacking on while I make the preserves
1 1/2 cups sugar to 2 lbs of figs, 1T lemon juice, cook stirring on medium low 45 minutes
Preserves are done when they're nice and thick. If you have too much for the fig bars it freezes well.
These bars are so tender and delicious warm from the oven.
Cake Dough
1/2 c soft butter
1 egg
1 T. milk
1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking powder
1 3/4 c flour
Mix all in processor or mixer just until a soft dough forms. Divide in half and press 1/2 into a very lightly oiled 9 x 13 glass baking dish. Top with the preserves and spread evenly.  Flour and roll out the remaining dough into a 9 x 13 square on a piece of floured waxed paper or plastic wrap. Dough is very tender, so hand forming will help. Transfer dough on the paper to cover the preserve. Some dough repair may be necessary to cover he figs.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Cut into bars while still warm.
 If you can keep them long enough, they can be made warm again in the microwave. 


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Gourds for Creating and Decorating

Here's a selection of small gourds from my organic garden just right for holiday ornaments and crafts. They are also fun in primitive, country, shabby and cabin decor as bowl or basket filler. They make great conversation pieces! Right now I have eggs, bananas, mini bottles and tear drops. What will your imagination dream up?  

egg gourds Egg Gourds, Baker's Dozen
For more raw gourds and also gourd art, pottery, baskets, willow cases, and kits, visit me at Midnightcoiler 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Our New Doggie!

Celebrating the new addition to our pack- Missy! The vet estimated she's a year old. At 35 lbs she's a bundle of energy and naughtiness.  She was spayed the same day we adopted her from the shelter. She and Scamp are getting along amazingly well!  She has figured him out and he's been pretty tolerant with her. We're all happy to have this little sweetie. We know she's part Lab, but we guess she is also mixed with Doxie.

Missy loves to play
In between play she gets sleepy
Long flappy ears
Scamp and Missy playing tug
Out for a walk

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Ton of Steel Tower Twisted like a Pretzel

This is what a recent severe storm did to my husband's (N4AF) 150 foot steel radio tower.  A tower like this is built piece by piece, erector set style. Thousands of hours of work go into erecting and maintaining a ham radio tower and antennas. It's unusual to see a downed tower so twisted.

It took us a little over a week to dismantle the fallen tower.  Most of it will be hauled to the scrap metal yard.  Howie still has 3 other radio towers still standing.  This tower fell into guy wires of one of the other towers, causing it to lean. He had to climb up the leaning tower to attach a new wire. It was pretty scary watching that.  Get another hobby? Naw, rebuilding has started!

twisted at base

Howie examining damage the next day

top of tower Any bent steel cannot be reused.

top of tower, diagonal pieces bowed

tower fell on guy wires of another tower

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Five Ways to Improve Your Etsy Shop and Sales

by Lynn Hoyt of Midnightcoiler,  Team Leader of the Etsy Treasury Team

It's 2011 and many are reevaluating what to do to maximize sales.  Here are 5 points to consider that may help in that quest!

1. Offer variety in your items and prices and keep a well-stocked shop. For example, if you sell prints, offer a variety of sizes, framed and unframed. Consider making cards, shirts and other items with your images. This way you can vary your offerings and price points to appeal to a wider range of buyers. It's also fine to sell a variety of goods under an umbrella theme. For instance, in my shop I sell things made from nature: gourd items, pottery, wood toothpick/needle cases, and natural fiber basketry. Variety gives people choices, and they may discover things they love along with the things they came for. Keep your shop full of goods. A page or two of items is really not enough for maximum exposure. The more items you have, the more search hits, which means more visitors in your shop and probably more sales too.  
2. Sell in sets. This can be especially effective for small inexpensive and moderately priced items. When fees and other expenses are figured, there is little or no profit in selling items for just a few dollars if you are not always receiving multiple sales. Instead, sell in sets or collections, and price for a more substantial profit. Group them attractively so buyers will see how they look together. You will save on listing fees, postage and handling. The buyer will receive an instant collection that can be kept intact to make more of a statement, or given individually as gifts.
3. Use all 5 photo spots in your shop. Stage some of your items. In other words put them in a setting that shows how they look and how they can be used. This gives the shopper a sense of scale and gives them ideas that may convince them that the item is just what they can use. If you sell jewelry, show some of the first shots on a model or mannequin.  Home decor items look great in their natural environment. Make each of your item photos show a different view, angle, setting, use.

4. Create imagery in your descriptions. Do your descriptions lack a spark of magic? Do you associate something special with your item and are you excited about it? Write about your inspiration! It doesn't have to be a lot, just a sentence or two. Help shoppers relate to you and your item. Share that experience of imagination with a little story and/or a hint of your passion for what you do. As Whoopie Goldberg said in Sister Act, "This is not just quacking..." 
5. Tag and title for maximum exposure! Use every one of your 14 tags for 14 chances to be found in a search on Etsy. Your title has an even wider reach, and should include what the item is and some descriptive key words. Not only will title key words be picked up in an Etsy search, but a Google search will show them as well. Currently, Google is picking up around 43 spaces (give or take a few) of our Etsy item titles, followed by your shop name. Think carefully. Make the most of those 43 spaces by using descriptive keywords that you think someone would search on to find your item. If you title your artwork and the title is not something someone would search on to find your product, use it in your description instead.  Google Ad Words is a tool you can use to find the most searched on words and phrases that describe your items.

Happy 2011, and may it be a positive and profitable year for all!

Interested in applying to the Etsy Treasury Team? Visit these links and learn more about us.