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Last Call for Custom Work for Halloween 2016!

Friends, Friday 9/16 is my last call for Halloween 2016 commissions! If you’d like a custom costume, please use the inquiry form on this page to get in touch with me before Friday.

Here are a few examples of custom masks, wings, and crowns from years past:


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Wednesday Inspiration – Baked Alaskan Designs

baked-alaskaMy friends Phil and Julie are a couple of hippies who live up in Alaska, in a house that they built themselves. Now some of you might react by thinking “ewww, hippies!” but rest assured that they’re the cool kind of hippies; they are homesteading, homeschooling, organic gardening, child rearing, chicken raising, art making hippies who make the world brighter just by being in it.

Julie is a beadworker, and Phil helps with her small business, Baked Alaskan Designs . As you can see
from the photos, she creates gorgeous, heirloom quality bead baked-alaska3embroidered barrettes. Her “Stealie” barrettes are very popular, though I’m especially fond of her rosette style barrettes. They remind me of the type of beadwork that I used to see at Pow Wows – bold, elaborate and carefully crafted. Recent instagram posts from Julie suggest that she may have some new tricks up her sleeve as well. I’m excited to see the new ideas that she’s working on; so far, they look stunning!

She opened their Etsy shop a little over a year and a half ago and quickly found her niche, not only in terms of her work, but as far as community. She gravitated baked-alaska2toward groups of artists that network and encourage each other, and she clearly strives to support her fellow creatives. Julie often shares tips and info with me, and she shares my work (and the work of her many creative friends) on social media. Those things may sound small, but they’re actually HUGE. Making a living as an artisan is no small feat, so it means a lot that Julie not only  focuses on trying to make her business successful, she actively tries to bring others with her on that road to success.

With that said, I’m inspired by Julie’s art AND by her attitude. Thank you for being one of the good ones, may it come back to you tenfold <3

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Wednesday Inspiration – Raffle for Cecil

Amanda Edwards Mosaics' Raffle for Cecil
Amanda Edwards Mosaics’ Raffle for Cecil

I’m sharing the information about this raffle in part because I love this artist’s work, and partially because I admire her spirit. When she learned about the recent killing of a lion named Cecil, Amanda Edwards decided to raffle off a piece of her art and to donate the proceeds to the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit of Oxford University. This organization studies lions in hopes of aiding in their conservation.

It struck me as such a loving and hopeful response to a terrible situation, and it reminded me of the many ways that art can heal. I donated for a chance to win, and I’d like to encourage you to do the same: just click on this link and donate to get a ticket(s). Doing so offers the opportunity to win a beautiful work of art, and the ability to participate in a very kind response to a tragic situation.

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A Beautiful Quest (treasury)

Here’s a beautiful treasury, created by Julie of Mermaiden Creations; I love the way that it incorporates an element of storytelling:

‘A Beautiful Quest’ by mermaidencreations

I based this story around Meredith Dillman’s beautiful image of the Fairy Queen holding the Holy Grail.FAEteam featured shop Meredith Dillman, meredithdillman.etsy.comvisit the Fantasy Artists of Etsy at www.etsy.com/teams/5932/fae


Renaissance Chemise Gothic F…

$45

Deer antler statement chainm…

$80

Morning in Lothlorien OOAK S…

$140

Forest Dreams. Amber Leaf a…

$27

Falling Leaves Long Leather …

$38

Faerie Door Spell Bottle Pen…

$17.5

Irish Celtic Wedding Tiara, …

$75

Fairy Queen, Holy Grail, Woo…

$16

Leather Oak Leaf Hair Barret…

$20

Classic Chain Maille Armor B…

$34

Olive Green Crushed Velvet H…

$79

The Ring of Power glass glob…

$36

Wood Sprite Labradorite Pen…

$110

Sleeping Fox Statue – Outdoo…

$69.99

Brother Juniper 1:24 Medieva…

$65

Fairy Art, Print, Reproducti…

$10

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Time Flies

I’ve been busy lately, so time seems to be flying at warp speed! So much so, that I haven’t had time to blog. For a quick recap, here are some of the projects that have been keeping me busy of late:

leather-feather-barretteshair accessories galore

larger-hair-slides
and a few new and unusual jewelry designs

Skull & Rose Leather pendant
Skull & Rose Leather pendant
sculpted leather octopus necklace with lapis & kyanite
sculpted leather octopus necklace with lapis & kyanite

I’m working to get it all photographed and added to the site … wish me good luck!

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ZOMG, Costume Contest!

2012 Costume Contest Winner

Yikes! I got so dang busy that I completely forgot to post the info about my annual costume contest! Yes, I AM doing it again this year — I’ve just been a bit of a slacker about announcing it. Here’s how it works:

My Virtual Costume Contest is an annual customer appreciation event. Contestants submit photos of their costume incorporating one of my masks or costume accessories. The grand prize winner receives one of my filigree leather circlets ($60 value) in the two colors of their choice. This year I’m adding a second place award ($25 shop credit), and as usual, ALL contestants will receive a 10% discount off their next purchase, simply for participating!

2011 Costume Contest Winners
And now for the nitty gritty:
To Enter:
* “Like” my facebook fan page.
* Send a photo of your costume by November 4th 2013
Contest Rules:
* Your entry constitutes consent for me to use your photo.
* Contestants under 18 must provide written parental permission.
* Your costume must include at least one of my products.
* Multiple entries are fine, as long they showcase different costumes.
* Store Coupon has no cash value, and can only be redeemed for ready to ship items (no custom designs). Coupon expires on 10/31/2014. 
Winner Selection Process:
* On 11/04/2013, I’ll create a  facebook album for the entry photos.

Filigree Leather Circlets
* The first place winner will be chosen by Lady Luck (okay, Rafflecopter) at 12 am PST on 11/09/2013; they’ll receive one of my filigree leather crowns ($60 value) in the design shown here, in the two colors of their choice. 
* A second “People’s Choice” award will go to the contestant whose photo has the most “likes” by  12 am PST on 11/09/2013; this person will receive a $25 store credit toward any ready made item in my shop.  
* Last but not least, ALL contestants will receive a coupon code good for 10% off their next purchase of any ready made item in my shop.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Autumn Blessings

an assortment of leather leaves for hair accessories & more

Grateful for a break in the rain today… it’s a gorgeous autumn day, after a solid week of rain and gray.

This gives us a chance to take care of some yard and garden work before the weather turns. We’ll be planting garlic,shallots, berries, irises and herbs. Also getting the garden ready for winter, mowing the yard and raking up leaves for compost & mulch.

When we’re done, I’ll light a fire and curl up with a good movie and this pile of leather leaves; gradually, these will become hair toys and other fun accessories.

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Etsy’s New Feedback System (kinda ranty)

*sigh* Etsy has recently changed their feedback system to one that resembles eBay’s dysfunctional “DSR” ratings. Actually, this new system is even worse than eBay’s IMO, because it completely mutes the seller. We are no longer able to leave any type of feedback for buyers, nor can we respond to negative or defamatory feedback that is left for us. You can read through the community’s responses to this news to see why many of us feel that this is so damaging. As of this writing, the replies are up to 188 pages — but of course, you don’t need to read them all to get the gist.

I generally try to keep an open mind, and to roll with new changes that Etsy introduces. Sometimes they’re cool  — like those awesome shipping options that they offered (and later removed) last year — and sometimes they really stink. In this case, I can’t imagine a single positive. I don’t have time this morning to write out my plentiful and extensive rants on the subject, but suffice to say that they are not only plentiful and extensive, they are grounded in personal experience. I was a power seller on eBay when they introduced the DSR system, which created a horrible imbalance in the relationship between buyers and sellers. I experienced the fallout from that change and it was awful. So awful, that I quickly abandoned a marketplace where I’d been selling successfully for over a decade.

So when I twitch and growl at the prospect of this new system over on Etsy, I’m not just being reactionary. I do have a frame of reference, and while admin keeps insisting that this is different, we eBay refugees are extremely wary. I’m trying to give them the benefit of the doubt, but I’m also working to develop an exit strategy in the event that it becomes necessary.

For one thing, I’m going to stop putting all of my eggs in one basket. I do have an established website, though I tend to be bad at updating it. I’m going to focus a bit more energy on improving that, and on networking and linking with other artisans (please let me know if you’d like to trade links!). I’m also going to start exploring other markets again. In the past, I’ve felt that selling on multiple sites spread me a bit too thin … but between this new announcement and Etsy’s snarky and poorly thought out replies to customer concerns, it feels like these exploratory efforts may be needed. Thus far, I have re-opened my Artfire shop, and I am considering dipping my toe into the waters of eBay again, at least on a small scale. There are a few other ideas that I want to flesh out a bit more, but this is already getting long, so I’ll leave it at that.

In the meantime, I think I will hold off on listing much more on Esty, and if they don’t come back with some SOLID answers to seller concerns soon, I’ll gradually reduce my listings there. It’s frustrating (and honestly, a bit frightening) that this is happening at the start of my busy season– the season in which I make the majority of my income for the year. I should be in my studio right now, prolifically creating crazy costumes. Instead, I am worrying about this stupidity, and re-evaluating my current business strategy. Ah well, I suppose it’s a reminder that markets change; never get too comfortable, and always strive to be adaptable and imaginative in finding new solutions.