Sunday, February 28, 2010

Friday, February 26, 2010

Red on White Doily

I started this doily with the full intention of getting it done for Valentine's Day.  Obviously, that didn't happen.  Are you like me? Everything seems to take twice as long as I expect it to and the older I get, the longer it takes!

This piece measures just over 9 inches square.  It can be found on my Etsy page by clicking on either of the pictures of it.  

Today I also  listed earrings to match my black evening necklace.  Click on the picture to find more information about them too.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thank You To Beyond Baffled

Jessie from sent me this blog award. She has a very nice blog with some great posts about the miniature world.  Check her out when you have time.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Formal Evening Black Beaded Necklace

This is one of those WOW pieces I just couldn't wait to finish so I could share it with you.  It felt elegant in my hands as I made it and it came out beautifully.   My Hubby thinks it would look good in red.  I'm thinking maybe Sapphire blue.  What do you think?

For a better look and more details click HERE

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Selling On Handmade Sites Such as Etsy

I am the web leader for a team of jewelry artists on Etsy.  We started up because all the other groups were filled.   Over the Valentine season  there was a lot of moaning going on in our group because sales were terrible.  I took time to look over everyone's shop and found a lot of things in common that are being done wrong.   Here are some of the things that need to be worked on in general.  The comments are geared towards selling jewelry on  Etsy but  they would apply to anyone selling just about anything on a similar site.  

The number one, and most important thing is pictures. I can't stress it enough.  You need to have those 5 spaces filled with bright, clean, clear shots of your items. It is sometimes very hard to make a Treasury because I can't find good pictures that fit my theme. I'm thinking maybe others are having the same

Get or make a light box. Set your camera on a tripod or a pile of books or anything you can to keep it steady. Find some source of good lighting. If all you have is a window on a sunny day then wait for the sun to shine. I'm afraid I'd never get any pictures taken if I had to do that. We've had maybe 2 days of sun this month! If you have an Ott light, or natural light bulbs they work quite well as a substitute. Do not yeild to the temptation to use the flash on your camera. The glare it creates makes for a less than desireable result.

Look at what the top sellers do for their pictures. I don't claim to be a top seller, but I try to follow their examples. Lay your items on plain backgrounds.  Get down to table level. Get in close. If there is an obvious back, show it in one shot. Get a nice hanging shot for your necklaces and earrings. Use a necklace display manequin if you can. I just have black and white. When I can afford one, I'm going to get a tan one. I hate trying to get a good picture on black. It just doesn't work well.

Use a photo editing program. There are free ones available online. I used Picasa. It works the best for me. Don't be in such a hurry to get the item online that you allow yourself to use a bad photo. If it looks "iffy" to you, it is going to look terrible to others. I was taught one major thing. "Get it in the lense." If you don't get a good shot in the first place, no editing program available will fix it. If your pictures aren't great, do them over.

Moving on. The other main problem I am seeing is descriptions. I HATE writing copy, but it has to be done. What is special about your item? If there's nothing special chances are it's not going to sell. What is is made of?  Be sure to include both the metals and the bead types. What is the size? I've seen a lot of jewelry listed to sell worldwide that only provides the measurements in inches. The US is just about the only place that knows what an inch is! Use metric. If you can't convert in your head, there are places online that will do it for you. I have about a half dozen 6 inch rulers that are both centimeters and inches. They're great and they were free from Fire Mountain. I just lay my earrings on them and I get both measurements to list.

Make sure everything is filled out on your Etsy page. Profile, location, policies, etc. Don't present yourself in an unprofessional way. Approach your page as a business even is it is only a hobby.

This last paragraph could have contained a bit more.  I stopped short for fear of hurting some feelings.  If selling online is simply a hobby for you and you don't care if you sell anything or not, then share that it is just a hobby.  Personally, I probably wouldn't buy from someone who approaches their craft this way.  If you really want to sell, present yourself as a professional who really knows what they are doing, even if you are sitting there in your PJ's and have only sold a few items.  Buyers won't take you seriously if you don't. 

Some of this is my opinion,  some is proven fact.  It's a good start at taking a second look at any web site you have that just isn't moving your product.   I'm off to create!


Thursday, February 18, 2010

No Joke - This would be funny if it weren't so typical!

I had to share this with all of you.  My blog is usually so, well - blah.  I thought a bit of humor would perk things up a bit.  It's sad that this happens way too often these days.

I am told this is an actual cake, made at a nation wide, everybody shops there, super store.  I will refrain from actually naming them, but you can probably guess. To be sure, it wasn't Bloomingdales or  Ace of Cakes.

I am assuming if you are smart enough to use a computer and navigate your way to my blog, you will see what is wrong with this picture, and it's not just the spelling!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

For Those Of You Who Sell Online

Today I am going to share a few tips I have picked up to help you increase your views, and hopefully your sales. I had to learn these the hard way, so I thought I would share from my experiences to save some of you time and energy.

First, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Oh, how I hate to even see this term pop up!  It seems like the rules change daily.  Just about the time I get everything the way Google wants it, they change their minds.  Must be run by fickle men.  We women would figure it out right the first time - right?  

A while back Etsy started promoting ways to increase your chances of getting picked up by Google.  They have a detailed "how to" on their site.  I went through and did what they suggested for most of my items.  Recently I imported all of my Etsy items to Art Fire.  After I did all of that the Art Fire administration tells us that Google will kick our items if they find two identical titles!  So - now I have to change over 500 titles on one of those sites so they aren't the same and Google will accept them.  What a pain!  SO, if you are going to list an item in more than one place, anywhere on the Internet, be sure you change the titles to something different for every site.  Oh , and have fun......(not)

The rest I have to share is for those of you selling on Art Fire only.  I have figured out how to incorporate my mailing list there so people can sign up directly from my Art Fire page.  IF I ever figure out how to do it on Etsy I will be thrilled, and sure to share it.   I put a "how to" on my Art Fire blog.  You can also find an how to for changing the look of your shop.  Here is the address: Forbes Farm Art Fire Blog .  I hope you find it useful.

I'm off to the studio to try and find some inspiration for something new.  I'm presently stuck in a floral earring rut!

Have a good day all.


Monday, February 15, 2010

We have a winner!

There were exactly 100 entries into my PIF bead giveaway.   That's the best response I've ever had for a contest on this blog.  Thank you to all of you who entered.  Here is the winning number, picked by

That makes Kayla from The Eclectic Element our winner.   Congratulations Kayla!

She has a very nice blog and two Etsy pages.  Check them out.   Hey - you might even find some of those wonderful beads she won there in the future.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Last Chance to Enter

Today is the last day you can enter our PIF Beaders Giveaway.  It's a great prize folks, so if you like beads, click HERE for details.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A New Style - Hanging Fuchsia Floral Earrings

Before I get into today's new post, I want to remind all of you who love beads to enter my PIF Destash Giveaway.  There has been such a good response  I have added a surprise or two to the package.  So, if you bead, or know someone who does, boogie on over to the entry post and give it a whirl.  Some luck winner is going to be thrilled!

Now, on to today's post.

Spring is coming to Western New York.  At least that's what they tell me.  Sometimes it is hard to believe, especially looking out my office window!

Since a new season is almost here I thought it was time for a new design.  I turned up the heat, shut myself into the studio and got out all of my supplies.  These are times when my hubby wonders what on earth I am doing.  Stuff is everywhere and nothing is accomplished, or so it seems.  It does take me quite a while to put things together that I like.  It takes even longer when I am trying to come up with something completely different from what I've seen on the Internet.  I think I have succeeded.  See what you think.  More colors are coming.

Just click on the pictures.  It will take you right to the item's description.  I love the new changes Blogspot has made!

Fuchsia Floral Earrings in Red

In Pink

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A New Twist

Here is a new twist on one of my old stand-bys.  I found myself with a package of rather blah yellow lilies.  They are okay, but they just don't "pop" when made into earrings.  At least they don't for me.  I'm not much of a yellow lover to begin with.  I had one of those "what if" moments the other day.  What if I stained the tips of these with a non water based pigment?  The first couple of attempts are in the trash can, but eventually I got it to work.  It worked so well, I got out some green lilies and tried it with them too.  

This pair is purple on the green

This pair is red on yellow.  

I had fun turning plain flowers into something with a little more pizazz.  Hope you like them!

Don't miss out on a chance to win my destash giveaway.  Click HERE to enter.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Cookie Cutter Crafts - A mild rant on my part

Quite a while ago some well meaning but in my opinion, misguided artist posted on one of the forums I read regularly.  Their issue was what they called "cookie cutter crafts" littering up the spaces on sites meant for hand crafted items.  It was their feeling that if a person does not make everything in an item, it really isn't hand made, it's just "hand assembled".   They felt such pieces did not belong on a site selling handmade items, nor could it be called art.

That really got my goat.   I stewed over it for a long time.  I kept silent on the forum but many others did not.  The fur flew on both sides of the issue for quite a while.  It finally died down and faded but I'm sure the issue will come up again eventually.  Some one will think they have the ultimate in opinions and post it again.

Yes, it did bother me.  I kept wondering if my earrings were not worth the price I place on them because they would be considered "cookie cutter" items.  I purchase all the parts.  It's the putting of the part together that takes time, and an artistic eye.  Some days I was close to pulling them off the Internet but something kept telling me not to.  I looked at a lot of others selling similar jewelry.  Was theirs better than mine?  Did they not belong either?  Many I found were obviously just thrown together as fast as possible.   Others showed a lot of thought and talent went into them.  Stew...stew... stew....

I stewed until Christmas came around.  Have you ever made cut out cookies?  Every year I swear I am not making them, and every year I end up doing so.  The extent of my decorations is different colored sugars I put on top before baking.  Forget icing!  I just can't do it.  I've tried.  It always looks like a Kindergarten project when I'm finished.  Just before Christmas I watched a baker meticulously decorating her cookies with a pastry bag, dabbing and dotting and smoothing and whirling that frosting into beautiful works of art.  That is when it hit me!  Cookie cutter crafts can be art just as those cookies she was making.   She didn't make the cutter she was using, she didn't grow and grind the flour, nor did she milk the cow and churn the butter. She took parts she bought and with knowledge and skill, put them together.  Both  cookies and crafts take time, knowledge, skill and patience. So what if I don't "bake from scratch" with all of my jewelry.  It can still be beautiful and it can still be considered art.  Next time that discussion hits the forums I may not be so silent!

While you are here, sign up for my PIF Beaders Giveaway below.  I have put together a nice little package for some lucky winner.


Monday, February 8, 2010

Sweetening the Giveaway Pot

There has been a tremendous response to my PIF bead give away.  To thank all of you for your support I am going to sweeten the pot by adding a surprise item.  I, myself do not know just what yet, but it will be something just as nice as what is pictured. 

To enter go to my post below. 

Good luck to all!  This is such great fun!!!!


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Attention Beaders - Destash Pay It Forward Giveaway!

Way too many beads are accumulating in my studio.   I have to clear some things out!  Here's your chance for some free, pay it forward beads.  Please - only enter if you can pay it forward with something wonderful of your own. 

Here is what you will receive.

The total package

3 Small bags of seed, bugle, E beads and etc.
All are similar in content with lots of green and blue.

One full hank of silver lined topaz size 11 seed beads.
One string of an unknown light green/brown gemstone chips.

A nice selection of odd glass beads.

One, straight form the store, string of mixed Agate chips.
One small bag of Malachite chips.

Here is what to do to enter.  You will get one entry for each thing you complete.  Do one, do them all, it's up to you.  Just be sure you let me know what you do.
1. Leave a comment here.
2. Sign up for my mailing list on the right -----> over there.
3. Blog about & link to this give away on your blog.
4. Post it on your Facebook or MySpace page.
5. Twitter it, with a link back to this post. - Please limit your tweets to once a day and include @forbesfarm so I get them.

I will pick the winner randomly by using  on February 15th.   Good luck!

New - Join Our Mailing List

Ever wish you would stop missing out on sales and great deals?  I know I usually end up in a store the day after what I want has returned to it's regular price.  That's just the kind of luck I seem to have.  Here's one way to help.  Join our mailing list and receive our newsletters.  They will feature new items and any sales or coupon promotions I have going.   I promise not to spam your e-mail with a ton of junk.  Just the occasional newsletter, I promise.

Hope you are all having a great week end.  Today the world must come to a stop for the Super Bowl.  I'm afraid I don't get it.  I don't even watch for the commercials.  I guess I'm in the minority though.


Friday, February 5, 2010

Our Newest Addition

Forgive an old Grandma for posting a personal note here just this once please.  This is our newest Grandson, Taylor Dean Caufield.  He was born yesterday morning around 10 am.  He's a big boy at  8 pounds 6ounces. Hearsay has it, his big brother Sawyer isn't impressed, but we are!

Sorry for the poor picture quality.  It's a Skype snapshot which is all I have for now.  It's the pits being away from your family and they were so busy with visitors all day that we only got about 2 minutes online last night. Thank God for Skype or we'd have nothing!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

All Time Favorite Necklace

If you are a crafter, you  more than likely have items that turn out so-so, some you stick away for a re-do and then there are those that make your heart jump.   The necklace I am featuring today is was a WOW moment from the minute I saw the focal bead on Etsy.

I have had the necklace finished  for over a year now and it just did not seem right.  Originally I strung it on flexible wire.  It was okay but I wasn't happy with it.   This week I finally sat down with it.  After staring at the necklace for a long time I finally worked up the nerve to cut the wire and start over.  This time I used black cording.  It was stretchy enough to pull on it while I tightened it down and then the "ugly" ends slid right back inside the beaded tubes.  Yahoo!  I'ts nice and snug and much nicer to the touch than the original.

If you have time, go check it out.   Just click on either picture.  I wish I could keep it, but it really needs to find a better home.  One with a pretty neck to really show it off!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Enough About Me - How about a different look?

I found this great blog by a very talented artist that I just had to share it with you today.  It is Enchanted Rose's Studio.  It has nothing to do with jewelry.  It does have to do with beauty!  Just look at this wonderful piece she created.

A click on her gallery page takes you on a china adventure.  Better yet, click on her how to link and find that Tina has generously provided tutorials on how to do this!  

Oh great, like I don't have enough projects already!

Monday, February 1, 2010

And the Winner Is................

The winner of my newest blog giveaway is.....
.drum roll please

I have notified the winner by e-mail.  She has a great blog of her own with more giveaways to enter. If you would like to check it out, here's the link:

I will be hosting another give away in the not too distant future.  Keep watching.

Thanks to all who entered this time.