The future

I’m scared about the future of my business.

Switching from Ebay to Artfire is a big part of this.  While sales have lacked for months on Ebay, I was comfortable there.  It’s familiar.  Artfire looks great and the fees are so much better than Ebay, but it’s a young site and doesn’t have the traffic and popularity of Ebay.  Losing that traffic (even if it wasn’t resulting in sales) is scary.  I’m going to have to put more work into promoting and I really don’t know how to do that.  Rather, I do know some ways, but lack the opportunity/money/ability to do them.

And then there’s money.  I don’t have much.  I’ve just barely had the sales to cover my Ebay fees and for a few months I’ll have dual fees (Ebay and Artfire Pro account).  Speaking of Artfire’s pro account, due to their recently announced fee hike, I’ll need to go pro a month sooner than I had planned to lock in a lower rate.  I’ve got the funds to cover this month’s Ebay fees and a month of Artfire Pro, but that’s about it unless I get some sales.

And that means I have no money for supplies and possibly won’t be able to cover fees after this month.  I’ll be able to take a bit from our tax refund but that’s going to a desperately needed purchase of clay. (I’ve been out of translucent for months).  I’ve been self-supporting (meaning paying for my own expenses, fees, taxes, etc as well as supplies) for over 5 years so losing that ability is devastating mentally.   Not to mention that our household funds can’t really afford to support me either.

So I’m sitting here, trying to think of alternatives, ways to make this work, how to increase sales and honestly, I’m not coming up with anything.  But closing the whole thing down isn’t appealing either.  I’ll still create.  I can’t imagine not creating.  But without the business to raise money for supplies, eventually I’ll run out and then I’ll be completely out of luck (not to mention, overflowing with creations taking up space).

Sorry to be so depressing but I needed to vent.  If you’ve got  suggestions or ideas I’d love to hear them.

Published in: on February 8, 2010 at 3:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

Squidoo and Twitter

I’ve discovered Squidoo and created 2 lenses.

Dystini – a biography http://www.squidoo.com/dystini

Color Recipes in Polymer Clay http://www.squidoo.com/crpc

I can also be found on Twitter: http://twitter.com/dystini

Published in: on May 17, 2009 at 6:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

Too much time to think

Sifting through sandpaper chips when changing grits leaves a lot of time for my mind to wander.  This is what it wandered to tonight.

How many times do I handle a bead from creation to ready-for-sale?

  1. Creating the bead.
  2. Putting the hole in the bead.
  3. Putting the bead on the baking tray
  4. Removing the bead from the baking tray (this is a group thing where I may not touch each and every bead).
  5. Putting beads into tumbler for first grit (another group thing).
  6. Switching grits (in which I touch every bead as I sift through the sandpaper chips).  Repeat 6 times.
  7. Sifting through the last grit.
  8. Spreading beads on towel to dry (group thing).
  9. Buffing each bead.
  10. Putting each bead on a wire and dipping in glaze.
  11. Removing beads from drying rack (group thing).
  12. Placing bead on rack for final bake to set the glaze.
  13. Removing beads from racks (group thing).
  14. Removing wire from bead.
  15. Stringing beads into sets.
  16. Photographing (once into the photo box and once out, as a set so group thing).
  17. Placing in “to sell box” (group thing).
  18. Removing from box to list (group thing).
  19. Placing on pegboard as listed (group thing).

So I touch each individual bead at least 15 times, possibly as many as 25 times.  Add to that, moving them to the clearance section of the pegboard and/or getting them ready to ship and you can add another 2 or 3 times.

I’ve got to find a more efficient method to separate beads from sandpaper chips.

Published in: on May 1, 2009 at 5:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

Frustration

My muse is stuck.

I have ideas but they’re stuck in my head.  It’s like they need one more piece to be complete so I can use them but I just can’t find those pieces.  It’s seriously frustrating.  Perhaps typing them out here will help.

First is a steampunk idea.  I have some gears and bits now and I sort of envision looking into a machine.  It’s like I remove a lid and there are the gears, partially covered by the rest of the machine.  I just can’t figure out how to achieve that look in a bead (or anything else for that matter).

Next one is more vague.  Something about stripes or strips that are painted somehow (with designs, perhaps abstract, anyway, not fully covering the surface, background shows through).  Again, as a bead.

The next idea is swirls or maybe spirals is a better term.  Background shows through.  This one is in vivid jewel colors.  I see the spirals as brighter than the background but the background isn’t black or any plain color.  It’s bright as well.

I’d also like do to something, no real ideas what, that doesn’t require sanding.

This next one I’m just hesitant to do as it’s sooo different than my normal style.  I’d like to play with Christi Friesen style animals and flower/jungle scenes.  I’ve done some, for my Dad’s now defunct business.  I could get those back from him and I’d like to do more.  I’ve also got some books on making flowers I’d like to play with in terms of making beads/pendants but again, sooo different than my normal.

I’m also interested in nudibranch inspired beads but my efforts so far look far too icky for my tastes.  One of those times when my fingers don’t do what my mind sees.  I spose practice is the only way I’ll get better.

I’ve also got some not bead items (pens, bracelets, etc) in varying stages of completion.  I plan to sell them on Etsy and spend a little more time actually promoting my Etsy shop but I’ve become so dependant on Ebay and beads that I have a hard time motivating myself in the Etsy direction.  But I really need to, because to be honest, I can see that Ebay is quickly going downhill for the small seller and it’s a very bad thing to have all my eggs in one basket.  I’ve got other baskets, I just need to work on them.

Maybe I should go clean off my clay table, maybe that will kickstart some of thse ideas.

Published in: on March 31, 2009 at 6:39 pm  Comments (2)  

Flickr

I’ve finally joined Flickr and have been busy adding pics and browsing other people’s pics.

On that note, here’s a mosaic of purple polymer clay that I like. Credits are at the bottom.

mosaic9149968

1. Turquoise and purple flower cane, 2. Purple butterfly, 3. Unusual purple flower, 4. Dragonfly on purple, 5. Polymer Clay Sea Urchins and Starfish beads, 6. the reduction…uggg, 7. purside, 8. Hearts to God “angel” side two, 9. Green & Purple w/lathe, 10. Mokume Gane, 11. Three tier, Kinetic Shibori Necklace, 2007, 12. 365/11 Tile Style Pendant- polymer clay, 13. Purple and turquoise flower cane, 14. Purple Lentil, 15. Pink and Purple Dahlia Pendant, 16. Side 2

My photostream can be found here.

Published in: on March 11, 2009 at 1:34 pm  Comments (2)  

Kittens

picture-041

Kittens are exhausting!  Adorable but exhausting.

Published in: on January 19, 2009 at 10:10 am  Leave a Comment  

I’ve not disappeared!

It’s been a long time since I last posted and I’m sorry.  It’s been chaotic.

I did scrape up enough cash to get a new tumbler.  Same thing as the last one.

November 2 we had to put our beloved cat to sleep.  He was 19 years old and we’d had him for 13 of those years.  His kidneys failed.  I’d been pilling him for a thyroid problem for years, he was totally deaf, had arthritis and was generally a cranky old cat.  But he was our baby and losing him was devastating.  I cried so much that first week, especially the first few days.  Even now, over 2 months later, typing this brings tears to my eyes.  I miss him so much.

Next, my parents moved.  And that was a long drawn out process.  They moved from a 5 bedroom house to a trailer.  We moved them so that they were living at the new place right before Thanksgiving and just last weekend we finally got the last of their belongings out of the old place.

Add the holidays to all of that and you have chaos.  Things are quieting down now, though not for long.  Right after the new year, we decided we were ready for a new cat, 2 of them actually and kittens at that.  So off to the Humane Society we went.  It’s a bit early for kittens but they had a litter in foster care that we were able to see.  If all goes well, 2 of those kittens will be coming home with us.  They’re still a bit too small to come home but we’re hoping they’ll be ready this coming Saturday.

They will be living in my studio until they’re comfortable here and with us.  That means no claying (pasta machine is too loud). 

Last week I discovered that I was nearly out of beads to sell.  So I’ve frantically been making beads.  I have one tumbler load nearly done sanding and the last half of a 2nd load is in the oven as I type.

Now that I have that out of the way, I need to get to work on my paperwork for last year.  My state business taxes are due at the end of this month.  And soon after that I’ll have to do our income taxes.  That’s no picnic in the first place and now we own a house and the tax headaches that go with it.  I’m ever so thankful for TurboTax.

I’ll try to remember to post pics of the kittens and the new beads.

Published in: on January 13, 2009 at 9:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

A moment of silence for my tumbler please

Why?  It’s dead.  It’s been getting progressively louder and today it just died.  Stopped working midway through the 4th grit.  It was over 5 years old and heavily used.  And the worst part is that I don’t have a backup and can’t afford a new one right now.

That means it’s back to hand sanding for me.  And I can’t find the batteries for my Scumbuster so it’s totally by hand sanding.  I now remember why my production doubled or tripled after getting the tumbler.  Sanding a tumbler full of beads through one grit takes nearly 2 hours and my hands, arms and shoulders ache.  Butt is a bit numb too.  I never used to make so many beads cuz sanding all of them just sucks.  While it takes less time to sand them by hand (2 hours per grit vs 6 hours per grit), it’s hard on the body and I could be using this time to do other things.

I’m taking a bit of a break now and then I’ll do the next grit.  2 more grits after than and I’ll do those tomorrow.  I’d like to have at least some of these beads ready for Monday.

And hope that sales pick up so I can get a new tumbler before the next batch of beads is ready for sanding.

Published in: on October 17, 2008 at 8:48 pm  Comments (2)  

I overdid it

I’ve been working hard this week and it seems I’ve overdone it.  I’ve got tendontitis or a pulled muscle or something.  Hurts to move my wrist so I’m in a wrist brace and I won’t be claying for the next week.  Which sucks cuz I was on a roll.  I got some new books and dvds and made new canes that I really like.  And I got inspired to make a butterfly cane.  But some of those canes were huge and I had to beat them to reduce them.  And I was squishing big chunks of scrap to make base beads.  One or the other or both messed up my wrist/forearm.

I’ll try to get pics of the canes and what I’ve made so far (baked but not sanded, etc) for you tomorrow.

Mousing and typing is akward too so I think now I’ll just go watch the special on Shaun White that’s on espn right now.  (I’m a closet X-sports fan lol)

Published in: on September 26, 2008 at 6:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

What I’ve been up to

Which is not too much.  I did get a bunch of beads made, which are now in the tumbler.  And that tumbler is temporarily set up in the basement.  We’ll be building a cabinet for it in my studio.  Why isn’t it in my studio now.  While it is a vibratory tumbler and therefore quieter than a rotary, the vibrations give me a headache if it’s in the same room.  By building a solid, sturdy cabinet with a door in my room, I can close it off and still have it nearby (so I remember to change grits on time).

I’ve also been working on another color combo ebook.  It’s going well.  Just needed to take a break from it to get the beads made.  And I needed those cuz I’m finally running out of orphans to auction.

I won a Barnes and Noble gift card recently and have been agonizing over what to buy.  It was only $25 and what I wanted was way more that that.  I finally decided to go for it and ordered 4 books, 3 of which are preorders.  And to get the free shipping, I had to chose to ship in as few packages as possible.  That means I won’t get any of it until the preordered books are in, which is Sept, Early Nov and Late Nov.  So now I basically have to forget I ordered so that I don’t get the “where’s my stuff” itch.  And I’ll probably forget so well that when I do get the package I’ll say “Where’d this stuff come from?  Oh yeah, I ordered it back in August.”  I spose I could just call it buying my own Christmas present early.

Here’s what I  ordered:
The Art of Polymer Clay Millefiori Techniques: Projects and Inspiration for Creative Canework
Donna Kato, Vernon Ezell (Photographer) (preorder)

Polymer Clay and Mixed Media – Together at Last: Incorporating Craft Materials and Found Objects in Clay Figures (preorder)
Christi Friesen

Clay Art for All Seasons
Yukiko Miyai

Brisingr (Inheritance Cycle #3)
Christopher Paolini (preorder)

Published in: on August 6, 2008 at 11:10 am  Leave a Comment