Thursday, December 31, 2009

Etsy, Your Place to Buy and Sell --- Whatever the New Tag Line Says When They Revamp It.

Of all the the things Rob Kalin has stated so far, this new little piece of news has me the most concerned.  He states:  " We'll be changing our tagline next month. But this is a small change. We need to make the marketplace more flexible."  For 4 1/2 years the tagline has always been 'Etsy your place to buy and sell all things handmade'.  I got the impression that there were already places to sell commercially made things, but a very short supply of truly handmade selling sites.  Now, I know businesses have to grow, expand and change with the times, and I also know I don't do well with change so perhaps I am feeling more trepidation regarding this than I should.

It concerns me because back when the search dropdown was arranged to include vintage and supplies, Rob stated then that the focus was always going to be on handmade first.  That was the original vision.  The inclusion of vintage and commercial supplies was supposed to augment that slowly growing handmade community, and they complement each other, but as I understood it (or wished it) handmade was still the point of the site.

Remember too, that at one time Rob was of the mind to remove vintage and commercial supplies from the site so that the focus remained handmade.  The hue and cry from the community apparently made him change his mind, for better or for worse, so they remain, and have grown considerably since then. 

Little by little the little niche handmade was starting to carve out for itself began eroding away, with vintage sellers, especially, making demands to be more visible on the site. and commercial supply sellers popping up like freckles on a redheads's nose in the summer.

Maybe it is time to change the focus and the tagline, but then, who will build that site for handmade and stick to that vision that Etsy had early on, that gave so many of us handcrafters a haven from selling next to commercially made items?

That petulant little kid in me wants to tell them,'you go find a site devoted to vintage in categories and advertising, have them allow a handmade category to round out and increase the community and complement it, too.  Watch the handmade numbers grow and grow and the handmade sellers become more vocal about what they think they should be entitled to since they pay the same fees.  And then one day the CEO comes in and says that the site really needs to have a more flexible marketplace and that the tagline that once stated Vetsy your  place to buy and sell vintage is going to be changing.  Tell me you would be perfectly fine with that, even though you came to the site in it's early days specifically because it filled the vintage niche. lf you can acept it with no problems, more power to you.  I know that isn't my strong suit.
maybe with some discusion, and a look at what the tagline is going to be will change the way I feel, I don't know. But as always, I'm open,

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Thank God it's Over!

 I never used to say that.  When my kids were little, I shopped my heart out, decorated the house the day after Thanksgiving.  I put up my manger, complete with lights, I put up a large table for my Christmas Village.  I put candle lamps in every window.  I had every imaginable Christmas themed candle holder on any available surface and displayed my snowman collection.  I spent Christmas Eve (after church, of course) wrapping gifts and artfully arranging everything under the tree.  Every label said "From Santa".  I put cookies and milk out for Santa and carrots for the reindeer, and made sure it looked like they enjoyed the snack by leaving some crumbs on the plate and just a few drops of milk in the bottom of the glass.

I baked a dozen different kind of cookies, planned Christmas dinner and actually enjoyed preparing it.  We visited with friends and family, went to everyone's Christmas parties and sent Christmas cards.

I'm not sure when it all changed, but looking back a few years, I can see that everything became much more of an effort, I enjoyed it less and eventually I started just not doing some of the Christmas rituals.  I became more stressed out, year by year, gift by gift, cookie by cookie until last year I just didn't think I could face another Christmas.  Or another day.  I'll spare you the gory details and just tell you that I suffered a major depressive episode and dragged not only myself, but my family through hell.

When I think of all I didn't do this year in preparation for Christmas, my dear husband pointed out all that I DID do this year.  It's been a long, hard road, and my journey is far from over.  I'm not in that dark place I was a year ago, but I'm not my old self either.  Today is one of my better days.  I"m not sure if it's relief that Christmas is over, or the fact that I slept until 1pm today, lol.  It's moments like this that I get just that faintest glimmer of feeling like my old self.  Somewhere inside me, I still remember what it feels like to be happy.

I'm not sure why I'm putting this in my blog.  I'm not usually one to share this kind of personal stuff.  Maybe I hope someone might see themselves and know they aren't alone.  Maybe I just want to chronicle this moment in time to see how far I've come a year from now.  Maybe I want people to remember that there are real people out there in internet land, and not everyone is all happy and shiny.  And maybe I just need to know I'm not alone.

Whatever the reason, I hope those of you who read this had a nice Christmas, and that the New Year is filled with good health and happiness.

And though they don't read my blog, I just want to thank my husband and daughter for being there for me.  Without their love, understanding and support I would not be here.  I love you both more than you will ever know.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Are You Right Brained or Left Brained? Find Out!

Being a creative type, I always assumed I was right brain dominant.  But I noticed that my approach in certain things took a decidedly left brain turn.  Of course, then I started wondering if I have any real right brain tendencies at all and maybe I'm just fooling myself that I am creative.  Especially in those times when motivation is at a low point.

So, I decided to take this test and find out.  Sure enough, I am 41% left brained, and 59% right brained.  The test also gave a rundown on each of the sections and it was clear to me that it was pretty accurate in how I approach the creative process.

If you're curious, try the test, it doesn't take but a few minutes and if you are anything like me, it gives you an insight as to how you use the sides of your brain in your approach to your own creative process.

Brutus the Wonder Dog

 I guess I'm feeling a little down today.  Hubby is at the cabin, Kayle went to a photo shoot all day, came home long enough to wash the theatrical makeup off and change clothes and she was off with Nick for the night.  I couild have gone to camp with Bruce, he keeps asking me to go, but I guess I just haven't reached a point where I'm comfortable leaving home for more than a quick run to the neighborhood grocery store...and that's only if I have no other choice,

Anyway, I just started thinking about my beloved dog Brutus.  Since Bruce and I were too old to have our own children, he with 2, me with 3, we talked about getting a dog.  One day we got a call from his cousin who lives in the next town over telling us that her German Shepherd Hallie had puppies.  11 of them
She has papers and they always thought they might breed her down the line, but it seems that somebody else got to her first- a lab/shar pei cross that belonged to a neighbor.  Well too late to do anything about it, she offered us a puppy so we packed the kids in the car and drove over.  We picked out a little square headed pup with shepherd markings and way too much skin.  His cousin told us he was found outside (in January) and they had thought he was dead, but put him under the heat lamps and he seemed to come around.    Friends of ours Hoyt and Maryann also picked a puppy for their daughter Megan, and they named her Penny.  As the dogs grew older they grew as different in looks as if they weren't even from the same littler.  Brutus picked up the coloring of the shepherd, and the head and skin of a sharpei.  Penny looked exactly like a black lab.

Brutus was always a very easy going dog, didn't bark, didn't mind little kids mauling him and went everywhere with us.  On the sailboat on our excursions to Port Dahlousie and our weekends at our camp in the Adirondack mountains.  But when we were home, he could always be found lying at my feet.  No matter where I was, on the computer, in the living room, in bed, that dog was always right there beside me.

Brutus was my heart, and I miss him so much.  Not a day goes by that I don't think of him or look at his 'baby book' and remember his puppy days and the joy he brought to our family.
This is the last picture we have of him.  Kayle would often walk him over to the state park so he could run on the beach and play in the water.

Rest in Peace My Angel, I'll see you again.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Windy's Designs Cabin in the Woods

Friends of ours, Bob and Pauline have a lovely spot in the Southern Tier nestled in a small valley where they have 4 cabins.  They've been camping in one of them for years now, and offered the large 'kitchen cabin' for my husband's use since he likes to go deer hunting in the southern tier,  The deal was we clean it and fix it u p and it's ours to use for as long as we want.  2 years ago Pauline was treated for breast cancer, and because at that time she didn't know how long she would be around, she made arrangements to pay it off so that it would always be a place for Bob and Bruce to go.

It's an open L shaped floor plan with a huge fireplace at one end, a huge round handmade table with an equally huge lazy susan in the center of it.  It does have an indoor bathroom, a kitchen with hot and cold running water.  Bruce sleeps on a vintage day bed and I sleep on a convertable couch that clicks down into a bed.  Initially, all we had for additional heat was an old iron cookstove and we managed simple meals on it, but because we have electricity, we have coffee maker, toaster, crock pots and bought a 2 burner hot plate.

This first picture is in the corner beside the back door, my husband's latest project.  We once had a huge antiquated old fridge there and it was removed and we placed a small apartment sized propane stove there.  He built a shelf and on that you can see the small apartment sized fridge.  behind that wall is the shower.

This is a picture of the shower.  that back room used to be full of wood scraps and tools and there was no place to wash up other than the bathroom sink.  Sure makes it nice!

This is the bathroom, it's directly across from the shower area.

This is the kitchen, directly across from the new stove and fridge.  To the left is the shower and bathroom.

If you follow the counter around, you see the rest of the kitchen, and beyond the dining area, and the antique iron cookstove.

Here you can see the huge round table with the lazy susan in the middle.  The photo was really dark, so I lightened it up a bit, you can see the detail much better if you click on the picture to enlarge it.  Notice the woods outside the window!

Here is the antique daybed my husband sleeps on which doubles as seating during the day since there really is no 'bedrooms' to speak of.

across from the daybed is my click clack couch that turns into a bed.  Notice the big stone fireplace to the right, we'll get to that in a minute.

Here is the long view.  It really is quite spacious, even if it lacks a bit of privacy.

Here is the fireplace.  It's easily 10 feet to the top, I know my eye level is lower than the mantle.  We used to have a free standing wood stove on the hearth with the pipe going up the chimney, but we lost so much warm air to that huge gaping maw.   Eventually, we found an excellent used fireplace insert, and it had made a world of difference.  One thing that helped distribute the heat a little better was the installation of ceiling fans.  My husband put one up above the fireplace, one as close to the center of the cabin as possible and one in the kitchen.

Here is the outside view of our cabin.  Even though we are up on a hill, you can still see in the background the hills behnd us.

If you back further down the hill you see part of Bob and Pauline's cabin to the left.  Oh, and you can see we also have satellite dish......

And here is the guest cabin.  It looks teeny, but it's actually not a bad size.  It's heated by a propane wall heater and get's quite cozy.  This was my daughter's cabin for a couple of years, but with work, school and the boyfriend, she just doesn't have the time to come down, so Pauline decided to fix it up so that anyone of us could have visitors down.  She put an antique sleigh bed in there and my husband says it looks wonderful.  I wish he'd have gotten a picture of it, because I haven't seen it since it was changed.

There is a 4th cabin, up on the hill beyond ours.  It's not been used and is rather hard to access.  It sits overlooking the valley and it appears the ground will eventually wear away.  We've jacked it up but Pauline would like to find a way to move it and eventually fix it up as well so it could be used.

Well, I hope you enjoyed my tour of our little cabin in the woods!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Etsy Faith or Etsy Fail?

Among the changes from the old rules to the updated ones, is the rule about canceling transactions.  In the past you could (as a seller) cancel any transaction for any reason and get your listing fees and final value fees back.  Initially this process was quite slow, but later on it became automated and the refunds were nearly instantaneous.  Which leads me to believe that even though the old rules said you weren't supposed to cancel a completed transaction (and I wish I could find the old wording to back this up), it was never actually clarified what a completed transaction was.  Back when I was still posting in the forums this question came up fairly often and we were always referred back to the rules.  I even contacted an admin for clarification because I always believed that a 'completed' transaction was one where money changed hands and the customer had their product, and as such, canceling a transaction for a return shouldn't be allowed.  Even contacting an admin didn't clarify it for me, as I was referred to the wording in the rules.  I believe I even read a time or two that an admin said that it was allowed.  My thinking now is that because they hadn't really clarified it they couldn't deny them.

For years sellers have begged Etsy to clarify their rules, spell things out more clearly, draw a line in the sand so we know the boundary and now that they have, people are not liking the clarifications.  Big surprise.  How many times have I said 'be careful what you wish for'?
People are claiming that Etsy changed the rules on them because 'they used to do it'.  Well folks, 'they used to do it' because they hadn't really clarified what a completed transaction was in the first place and because they never had a process to separate what is allowed from what is not allowed.  I'm suspecting the latter is still true, and by and large they are still relying on member honesty not to file a cancellation based on a return, but they have finally clarified what a completed transaction is.

I know I initially I supported those opposed to this change, and I still do to a degree.   I find, upon reflection, that it isn't so much to do with the actual practice of not allowing cancellation of transactions for refunds, but rather the whole process itself.  The payment process, the feedback process and the refunding process, each of these programs were based on honesty of the user, just like the tagging system, but as everyone knows, not everyone is honest.  While the faith in humankind is very endearing (to a point)it isn't a sound business practice to rely upon it.  Safeguards have to be in place,  and programs and features need to look beyond the functionality aspect.  Yes, we can leave feedback, but so can someone who never paid for an item.  There is definitely a flaw in the fundamental workings of this system.

Removing the emotional response for the moment, I have to ask are returns really that numerous to any one shop?  Is it really going to affect your bottom line?  Does any shop really have so many returns that this is a major issue for you?  Because if you answer yes, then in my opinion, it's time to evaluate yourself and what you sell.  Returns are a part of the business of selling.  It is part of the overhead you should be figuring out, in addition to replacements for lost or damaged items, as well as other costs of doing business.

The argument that people who sell higher priced items are taking a bigger hit is true.  But, those final value fees are acceptable if the item sells and is kept right?  Successful sellers will always pay a higher bill than the less successful ones.  They don't seem to mind the amount until it comes to a return.  Sellers are loathe to absorb that loss, but then, so is Etsy.  Sellers can build that kind of loss into their overhead, Etsy, not so much.  Unless they raise fees.  And on that note, a few people have expressed that they wouldn't mind if Etsy raised their fees from .20 to .25 to cover that loss.  What makes you think it would only be a nickel increase?  Last time they increased fees the price doubled.  Would you be willing to pay .40 a listing?  What about a flat monthly fee of $20 with free listings and no final value fees?  After all, they have the traffic that other sites don't to justify charging this much.  It's foolish to speculate that the increase will fall within the range you find acceptable.  Now, successful sellers probably wouldn't blink at the flat fee, but sellers like myself, and hobbiests and new sellers would probably find this unacceptable and risky.  I kind of like the 'pay as you go' system on Etsy.

For the record, it wasn't the changes in the rules that prompted my post, but the responses in the forums.  It's one thing to express your displeasure and call for change, I think everyone has that right whether you agree or not.  But the treatment and attitude by certain members toward other members is disgraceful and embarrassing.  You can use the excuse of frustration all you like, been there, done that.  I've been muted from the forums longer than many of the current complainers have been selling.  And I've said my share of snide and disrespectful things.  I'm certainly no angel.  But being a forced observer for so long has changed my perspective on a lot of things.  You can liken it to someone who who quit getting falling down drunk on weekends with friends.  You suddenly see that behavior in a different light, although when you were doing it yourself it didn't seem so bad.  You realize that your friends look rather foolish and become annoying and sometimes they're downright assholes.  And they don't care.

Is Etsy perfect?  Hell no.  Do they make mistakes?  Hell yes.  Are there areas that need improvement?  Absolutely.  too many to list.  Should people continue to speak out if they don't like something?  Of course!

I've come to the conclusion that Etsy is damned if they do, and damned if they don't.  No matter what, someone will always be complaining.

For the most part, I have no problem with the new dos and don'ts.  Yeah, a few things got caught in the net, so to speak, that are questionable, but overall I think they did what they could to clarify things as they have been asked to do over and over and over again.  It's just unfortunate that bits and parts have been magnified into huge issues when the overall intent is to help sellers and buyers.  It just sucks that what you want that clarification to be and how Etsy clarifies it might not match.

Well, I feel better having gotten this off my chest.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Nick and Kayle Sitting in a Tree C-A-R-V-I-N-G

So with the festivities of Halloween nearly upon us, I decided to invite Nick over for spaghetti dinnere so that he and Kayle could carve pumpkins at our house.  Kayle picked up a couple of big ones on her way home from schoolk and they sat ominously on the counter awaiting their fates.

notice how innocent and unsuspecting they are.  They have no clue what is in store for them.

But first, Nick had to wrestle with Lily.  Naturally, she thought he was there  for her benefit, and was not disappointed.

Loki took his usual spot on my little computer side table to watch from a safe distance.

Nick owns two rottweielers and a golden retreiver, so energetic dogs are not new to him.  Lily, however, has the energy of the energizer bunny and keeps going, and going, and going...

Loki tires of the nonsense and wishes they'd get down to carving pumpkins..........*sigh*

Pumpkin one is started and Kayle decided Bruce needs a pumpkin guts facial.

Now that's not very lady-like.

And Nick and Lily are still going at it......she's having the time of her life!

One pumpkin Nick has sufficiently tired out the dog so he can carve his.

Ok, they're finally finished!

Happy Halloween everyone!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Etsy's New Mission Statement

Being a forced observer in the Etsy forums gives me the opportunity to read threads in full, take in all points of view and ruminate on the many opinions.  Where I normally might have a knee-jerk reaction and respond one way, I now find that I often change my initial reaction because I've had time to consider.

Etsy's original mission statement was:

"Etsy is a marketplace for buying and selling all things handmade. Our mission is to enable people to make a living making things and to reconnect makers with buyers. Our vision is to build a new economy and present a better choice: Buy, Sell, and Live Handmade."

And with the emergence of the draft of the new Dos and Don'ts (Etsy's rules) an new mission statement has been made:

"Etsy is the world's most vibrant handmade marketplace. Etsy celebrates individual creativity in design, craftsmanship and the feel of hand by connecting unique people, stories and items in a playful and meaningful way."

I might note at this particular time, that there has been a lot of people demanding that Etsy change it's mission statement, mostly from the Vintage and Commercial Supply People because it doesn't reflect the fact that they are a part of the site.  People upset with the fact that resellers of imported merchandise are not being monitored  well, (if at all), and a place that touts itself as a place to buy all things handmade, it is a bit deceptive to potential customers who may not be aware that someone is reselling mass produced products. 

This is one of those, 'be careful what you wish for' Etsy moments.  You got the change alright, it just wasn't what you were expecting.   Reminds me of the pleas we used to make for an announcement section to keep abreast of all the goings on on the site.  There was really no place for them to disseminate any information except in random threads that had to be ferreted out and raised by the membership so that at least a smattering of people would see it at any given time.  WE waited, and pleaded and we were told that the 'new couch' was coming soon, and guess what?  We got the Storque!  Talk about killing an ant with an elephant gun.  Now they had the updates buried in all the other crap so you still had to search for it, and to let us know they made a new Storque post, they came to the forums and started a thread about it.  Only for it to get buried within a few hours.  And round and round we go.........................  So, 3 years and many headaches later, they broke down and gave us the announcement forum.

Anyway, so people are taking exception to the word 'playful' in the new statement.  And I will admit I did too, at first.  And it's easy to get caught up in the reasons people are against it and support it.  I am not on Etsy to play at selling, my items are not cute, kitschy, trendy, fun or playful.  But, is that really what they are trying to say?

There have been a couple of mall analogies presented, so I put on my buyer's hat and went to the mall.  The first mall I went to was just stores.  the center concourse was empty, except for the few mall walkers who came in every weekend to get their laps in.  This was once a pretty active mall, all the stores were full, the concourse had little kiosks, there was a foodcourt with a half dozen places to get food, a coffee place, a restaurant.  It regularly held events in their huge concourse, antique shows, craft shows, concerts, boat and car shows and one end held a small area with a merry-go-round and a popcorn vendor for the kids.  It was 'fun' to go there and spend the afternoon, shopping, window gazing, stopping for refreshment and just enjoying the outing.

When a venue makes your experience enjoyable, then you are going to spend more time and probably more money there.  You won't just walk straight to the one store on your list, get what you need and get out again.  You will meander around, wander into a couple extra stores and maybe make some small (or even big) impulse purchases.  you are more likely to stop for some sort of refreshment and after a brief rest (and if time allows) you may just go back to one of those stores you passed by the first time.

You don't do that at a barren mall.

That said, I'm not sure I'm comfortable with 'playful' as part of the mission statement. defines mission statement as follows:

Written declaration of a firm's core purpose and focus which normally remain unchanged, whereas business strategies and practices may frequently be altered to adapt to the changing circumstances. Properly crafted mission statements (1) serve as filters to separate what is important from what is not, (2) clearly state which markets will be served and how, and (3) communicate a sense of intended direction to the entire organization. A mission is different from a vision in that the former is the cause and the latter is the effect; a mission is something to be accomplished whereas a vision is something to be pursued for that accomplishment. Also called company mission, corporate mission, or corporate purpose.

This is their company's mission statement, not ours.  It's a reminder to their employees why they are in business, they are providing a fun and playful venue in which to shop.  It is no more a slap in the face to their vendors than the mall with the carousel in the concourse across from their front windows.  The shop knows the benefit of having entertainment for the children, moms can promise a ride on the horsey if junior behaves while she finds a pair of shoes, or dad can keep little princess occupied while mom shops for a dress unencumbered.

As the definition above shows, though, Etsy's mission statement is pretty clear in where they are putting their efforts.  They are still standing by the handmade initial vision, they developed a more 'free-spirit' approach to it and they've put emphasis on an aspect that has always been a part of Etsy and their vision, but now they are making it an official part of their mission.  As far as I can see, nothing has really changed.

I guess this is one bandwagon I'll watch, rather than ride on.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Hibiscus Moon on Etsy

I just have to laugh.  This gal came to the forums to complain about her being overwhelmed by sales.  Poor dear.  Just what the other 170,000 shops who aren't selling squat want to read.

Upon perusing her shop, to see what was so hot about her items to put her in such a pickle, I guessed it, mass produced items and non handmade things in the everything else category.

Those crystal clusters, at the very least should be in supplies, the everything else category (as are all the categories with the exception of vintage and supplies, are for handmade items, so she's listed them ALL in the wrong category. Same with the crystal skull.  I bought one on ebay from someone who was selling a ton of them, definitely not handmade by the seller.

Her box of gemstone chip jars are for sale on Gemstone Factory where you can buy them wholesale, along with her rose quartz puffy hearts (her shop)and Gemstone Factory  and pendulums (her shop) and Gemstone Factory Definitely not handmade, vintage or a supply.

Can't flag her items since her shop is on vacation, but I can send an email to support to point out the violations.

People think that we go looking for stuff, why would we need to?  Most of them practically wave their arms saying 'look at me', and it's hard to avoid.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Calling Out On Etsy

Ok, I don't really want to use my blog to call people out, or denigrate others, there are plenty of blogs out there that do this already,  However, I have a perfect example of why the flagging system is flawed.

On 9/21/02  I flagged this shop: for listing mass produced mood rings in her shop:

Which you can find here:
Note the pricing, for goodness' sake, if you're going to buy a mass produced mood ring, buy it directly from the wholesaler and save yourself the markup.
Now, you don't find the exact same mood rings here, but I think it's enough proof that the shop owner did not make the rings.  Period.  So they don't belong on Etsy.  I don't see what the hold up is.
I found an ebay shop selling the same bracelet:
and a website that carries them:

She even started her own thread, calling herself out here:
And though the thread was closed, still nothing has changed.

And that's not all I flagged.  There's plenty wrong in this shop,  for example:  she says its vintage (is it really?)  and yet it's in housewares.
This is in dolls and miniatures.  Really?  She made this out of hard plastic?  how talented.  We all know it's not handmade, it's not a supply and she doesn't mention that it's vintage so it just plain doesn't belong on Etsy.  ok, so these are in woodworking.  Did she handcarve them?  I'm guessing not, she does not mention making them herself.  They are not a crafting supply, they are not vintage...they don't belong.

I'm sure there are more violations, but honestly, these are the ones I flagged, gave proof of and the tag abuse is blatant, why the hell can't Etsy do something about this?

I also came across this ring:  and flagged it with a link to the same exact one sold at target:
If you look at her rings category, there are 4 others I flagged, though I don't have proof that she is reselling, judging by the jewelry she handmakes, she doesn't have the skills to make these.  It gives me the impression she went through her jewelry box and is 'destashing' stuff she doesn't want.  Still, flagged early in september, and even the one with proof of not being handmade, it still remains.

This is all stuff I came upon by chance.  I don't make a habit of looking for violations because, quite frankly, even if I did purposely look, I wouldn't have to look hard, they're everywhere.  Some blatant resellers, some not so noticeable.  In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't really matter whether I purposely go looking or happen upon them by accident, they're there and I flagged with enough proof to prove they either don't belong or are in the wrong category but nothing is done.  I'm getting pretty sick and tired of i t.

Friday, October 02, 2009

ArtFire versus Etsy.....The saga continues...................

So.  Not being able to post on the Etsy forums gets frustrating from time to time, but after 3+ years, not much is new. 
Same gripes, the whiners may change but they're pretty much the same issues.  Ad infinitum in the ideas section and yadda-yadda-yadda.  Among one of the discussions was a "I am closing my shops on Artfire" declaration, followed by the usual supporters, naysayers and a slew of people content to use someone elses reasons, rather than their own judgement, to either close or not even open an Artfire shop,

So I meandered over to Artfire and perused their forums.  I have had a basic shop for over a year now, made a few sales and just basically let it sit.  I wanted to spread out my eggs a bit, but I wasn't ready to fork over the cash just yet.  There seems to be a new promotion going on, The Free For All, where all basic shops can list as many items as they want, and they've even provided a tool that transfers all your Etsy listings to your Artfire shop, rather than having to do it all at once. Pretty neat, huh?  Here is the link to the Artfire thread.

As expected, there was an outcry against this, some Artfire members feel that they are being shortchanged by basics being 'given' one of their sacred tools they pay for.  I can see that.  AF staff says that the point is to generate as many listings as possible and flood google with all the products so shoppers are lead to AF.  The thing is, What do you do with a shop full of items you can't organize or categorize, you can't get a facebook kiosk to sell your products there, and you do not get preferential treatment when it comes to the internal search.  Their search is based on relevancy with dash of random thrown in to give everyone an equal chance.  Except, they will pull verified members items first in a search.  So if your category is overly saturated by verified members, the liklihood of you being seen is much much less.

As I ruminate over this some more, it starts sounding a lot like Etsy and their method of advertising.  Etsy constantly appeals to crafters to generate sellers, but not really to help the current sellers improve their sales by advertising to buyers.

Artfire makes it sound pretty that they are doing everyone a big favor by the unlimited listing whoo-haww.....but it smacks of the sellers being used, and appealing to the bandwagon mentality that exists on Etsy that if someone says something is awesome, the lemmings storm over the cliff to get a piece of the pie.  Ok, so I mixed my metaphors, but you get what I mean.

So for my first post, here, I decided to make a suggestion to give all basic members 2 months of free verified services.  And if they could swing it, give the verified memberships a break on fees for the month, to make it equitible.  My reasoning was/is based on my own feelings about this unlimited listings offer.  What am I going to do with a mish mosh of 100+ items that I can't put into categories?  My shop will be a mess.  If anyone does come to my shop, they can search for things, if they use the search box, but categories are much more convenient and buyer friendly.  What if a new buyer comes upon a few of these basic shops with no bells and whistles and thinks the whole site is that messy?  Buh-bye.

If I upload all my stuff from my Etsy shop into Artfire and there they sit for the next 3 months and I don't sell a thing, I'm pretty sure I'm not going to sign up for the verified account, hell, I have no proof of viability.  And if I did make reasonable sales during that time, what is my incentive to upgrade then?  I can do it without all the bells and whistles.

This is when I discovered that Artfire isn't really doing it for anything but the numbers.  They want to have a full site with lots to choose from for shoppers and the only way to do this is to encourage as many of the shops on Etsy as they can to open or add to their basic shops.  It was mentioned that Artfire's finances are based on only 10% membership, they expect that 90% will use the basic shops and if any of them upgrade, it's just icing on the cake.  Or it makes up for the verifieds that close up for one reason or another.

My suggestion for the 2 months of free verified status for basic shops was actually based on making Artfire more money.  IF a basic shop has no clue what the perks and tools are or how they could work for them, they don't miss them.  But give them a taste of it and let them get used to having them for a period of time, they won't be so easy to give up.

A few people saw the wisdom of my suggestion but thought maybe the timing wasn't so great because some people were upset with the recent unlimited listing thing.  Others implied that I was just being greedy and that I was given an inch, but wanted a mile and some people are never satisfied no matter how much they are given.  oooooooooookay.

And now there are grumblings that Artfire is turning into Etsy (wished I would have taken bets on that one) and they are not as transparent as they used to be, and artfire's view of things may not always coincide with sellers views.  Big surprise.

So, will I upgrade to verified for the Christmas Shopping season?  Probably not.  And I won't be uploading 100 things I can't keep in a neat shop, and I definitely won't be upgrading afterwards.  Why?   because I don't like being used,  And I need to see some benefit to me for handing over my money.

Etsy and Artfire have their strong and weak points, but honestly, I may be jaded, but I feel that their first responsibility is to their business and will try to put the spin on anything they do to make it appear to be to sellers benefit.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Lily Got Skunked ------- Again!

Yep, you read that right.  Only a few weeks ago she got skunked while my hubby was out of town, and guess what?  He left again today for the weekend, and voila' Lily hit the stinky jackpot once more.

This time is was earlier in the evening,.  Since the hubs wasn't around for her 9pm walk, I took her out in the yard to let her run off some steam and do her business.  She ran over into the next yard as always making these huge sweeping circles as if she knows this is her only chance to blow off that steam for the night.  Suddenly she comes racing into the back yard and doesn't come back to the front where I am waiting for her.  I wait a moment, call her, and hear this scuffling coming from under the back deck.  Sure enough, she's under there with some kind of animal, I don't hear anything but underbrush being torn apart,  and I can't see anything because the motion light on the back corner of the house doesn't throw enough light to see under the deck.  So I call, and call, with promise of cookies and treats and still the noises continue.  By this time I'm thinking the lack of noise means it's probably a rabbit, and I'm visualizing it trying to dart past or around her.

My thoughts were quickly proven to be wrong, however, when that familiar stench began filling the air.  Lilly came running out from under the deck and started rolling in the wet grass, digging her face in it to get the spray off of her.  Of course, like an idiot, I didn't replenish the hydrogen peroxide I used the last time this happened, so I'm standing there wondering what the hell I'm going to clean her off with this time.  After one more attempt to get at the skunk, I managed to get her into the house.  I now have a headache from the smell.  I managed to find some oxyclean under the sink, so I used a washcloth and wiped her face , neck and chest off.

I guess she smells a little better, my nose is stuffed up now so it's hard to tell.  I'm sure my olfactory nerves have also gotten used to the smell.

I'm thinking now, since this has happened twice since my hubs has gone out of town that he is responsible for this.  He probably figures I have wild sex parties while he's gone and he'd throw a wrench into it by letting a skunk out nearby, knowing my dog would have a run in with it.  The dog would stink, the house would stink, I'd be preoccupied and not in the mood for a party so it would wind up not happening.  Pretty smart man.  What it really ruined was my 3 favorite program's season premiere episodes tonight.   I'll get him back though, I'm going to let her sleep on his side of the bed while he's gone, under the covers and use his pillow.  He he.

Friday, September 25, 2009

I Wonder What People Are Thinking

when they come into a selling site forum and ask people how to make the things they sell, because ostensibly, they want to make it themselves for a gift.  They email specifically the people that make these items and expect them to just give them that information?  And they wonder why no one responds to their query?  Really?

Do these people not understand that Etsy, although a great community (at times, and under some circumstances) but it is a SELLING site, and most shops are in the business to make money off their creations.  Whether they are selling for pennies to replenish their craft supplies, or they need to live off the profits, I don't think anyone purposely is there to sell at a loss.  And as helpful as people can be toward one another, I believe there is a line in the sand you just shouldn't cross.

And where does the mentality come in that people think they can just pick up a given craft and with a few instructions and little to no practice, produce a pleasing and quality product?  Most crafters have worked long and hard developing their techniques and establishing a skill base upon which to build.  People dabble in other mediums, this is most apparent when perusing the jewelry category when you notice crocheters and paper crafters, and others whose main craft is totally unrelated to jewelry, making simple bead earrings by the boatload.  But, they excel in a particular area, mostly because of the time they've put into it,.

Think about it this way.  You have 2 people who know how to remove a gallbladder.  One is a surgeon who specializes in it, the other a lawyer who took a class and learned how to do it.  (aside from the fantasy and lack of legalities in this scenario)  which one would you want performing your surgery?  The surgeon, who has spent years not only learning how to take out organs, but what to do if other organs fail while they're doing it.  They are trained to recognize things that may not belong (like tumors), and they are capable of treating you for other things afterwards.  Now, the lawyer may be very skilled at that one task, removing a gallbladder.  He may have had several successful operations.  But he is not equipped to handle a situation if you should go into cardiac arrest on the table.  He doesn't have the experience built upon years of learning and honing his craft.  And there's the difference.

There's a difference between someone asking about a certain aspect of a craft they they've been trying, but not getting, and someone who wants it all laid out in a neat, pretty package with all the work done by someone else.

But I keep wondering what it is about Etsy that gives people the impression that we crafters and artists, who are trying to sell our things, will just hand over our suppliers, techniques and 'how-to's' to anyone who asks?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tags on Etsy

are a joke.  The flagging system is a joke.  I have purposely not used the word 'Etsy' in any of my later posts because I refuse to give them any more advertisement because they sure as hell don't do anything for me, but I'm hoping google picks up this post and they read it because I'm fed up.

I'm fed up with people using Etsy as a place to unload their personal stash of jewelry. I just happened upon 2 shops that I know for a fact are doing this.  I have found one of the rings they are selling at and flagged and supplied the link.  The fact that their 'handmade' stuff is at such a basic skill level and then they have these metalworked rings with stampings in them, no less, is very telling, but the items remain despite the proof.  I found someone who is selling stuff from  Seriously folks, if you want a spider mood ring, buy it there and not from this seller, it's only $4!!!!!!!

Someone else is selling a cast iron 'animal' that they pulled out of their yard.  A little rusted, but you can use it in an easter basket.  It's in supplies.  They also have little cardboard houses they claim to have made themselves and the same ones are for sale on .  sure, you can buy kits and make them, but why not sell the kits?  The finished product is not a supply, and it barely passes as handmade as far as I'm concerned.  Any monkey can put a kit together.  The problem with shops like this is that they do have legitimate stuff in their shops that either really are a supply, or handmade stuff, but then they add these other items that are agaist TOS and there is nothing we can do but flag.

I didn't go looking for these infractions either, I just clicked on a category and there they were as plain as the nose on your face.  No one but us monitors the listings and if they are so backed up with flags, what does that tell you?  That maybe there is so much on the site that doesn't belong that it's a problem?  Or so much is miscategorized or mistagged that it's a problem?

And then there's alchemy.  Where you are supposed to be able to request a special item to be made for you.  Something that isn't already offered on the site.  Not knockoffs of other people's work for a cheaper price, not knockoffs of precious name brand jewelry or clothing because you can't afford the 'real thing'.  It's not supposed to be for 'what can I get for my boyfriend's sister's BFF for $3 including shipping'.  You aren't supposed to advertise your business there.  You aren't supposed to request supplies or vintage items there.  I saw someone looking for scrabble tiles.  There are dozens of shops that sell them.  Contact one of them if you are looking for a specific letter.  I don't look at alchemy too often, I'm busy enough with custom work, but sometimes if I'm bored I"ll look.  The other day, in 3 pages I must have flagged over a dozen of requests for flagrant violations.  Another dozen were 'what can I get for' or requests for knockoffs.  The problem with no one monitoring this section is that they get bids, so by the time it's removed (if it even is) they've already gotten what they're looking for.

The whole site is just a free-for-all.  do what feels good to you and the hell with everyone else.  The problem with that is it screws up the site for those that follow the rules.  I'm sure some of the ones who would never dream of abusing tags or categories are now finding that joining them is much easier than trying to change it.  And those that have no clue that their abusing tags and categories?  Sorry folks, you get lumped in with the ones that do it purposely, because ignorance is no excuse.  Just because you don't know something doesn't mean it's excusable, it's your responsibility to know the rules of the venue you are selling on.

And don't get me started on SEO and google base.  I may not be able to post in the forums, but I sure read them.  What a clusterfuck those issues are.  I have no faith that Etsy will get either of those right the first time.  Or the second, or third time.

Ok, rant over for the moment.  You can all go back to your regularly scheduled rainbows and cupcakes now.  Thank you.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

My Favorite Things - Lighthouses

Those familiar with my taste in things will know that I am a lover of lighthouses.  I'm always looking for things related to that and decided to do a little searching on Ehtsee to see what I could see.  And I found a treasure trove of beautiful things and thought I'd give them a little boost in my blog.

Latimer Lighthouse - An Original Watercolor Painting by David Young

If money was not a concern, this would be mine.  Yesterday.  What a beautiful painting by a very talented man.

18 X 12 Ceramic Tile Mural Lighthouse Ocean Nautical Lighthouses Rocks 

(ok, not the greatest title, but I'm not here to criticize!)


So vibrant and beautiful I could really see this in my bathroom.

16x20 OLD FRIENDS..Original..Ready to Hang

This is a little different style of painting, done in acrylics on canvas, but I think it captures the serenity of a calm summer night.  The moon and the lighthouse, guardians lighting the way for sailors for hundreds of years.

Manistee North Pierhead Light Original watercolor 

This watercolor is exceptionally well done.   The artist, Brenda Thour has a beautiful selection of well detailed watercolors. 


14 Karat Gold Lighthouse Miniature Sculpture 

A little something different.  The lighthouse is
cast in 14K yellow gold. The lighthouse, dock and rowboat were carved in wax, then cast. These were in turn assembled to the stone base, with the oars and rope hand fabricated.  The entire sculpture is then mounted on a mahogany wood base with a glass dome cover for dust protection.  This is definitely for the serious collector, and a beautiful study of textures and color.

Lighthouse and Sailboat Suncatcher 

Beautifully hand cut stained glass.

I am no art critic, and I'm always at a loss for words to describe the feelings I get when I see things I love, and I rarely do them justice.   All I can say is that each and every single item I've featured here has struck a chord within me and represented one of my favorite things so well that I had to show them to you.  I hope you enjoy them and check out their shops to see more, because even if lighthouses aren't your thing, I can guarantee you that they will have something that strikes a chord in you too.




Friday, September 04, 2009


I should probably start with Raz, our other cat, since we got her first, but finding Loki in one of his typical poses with a camera handy was the determining factor in who got blogged about first.

We got Loki as a kitten from a friend of my daughter's.  She brought him home late one night after a graduation party.  Mind you, we already had a dog, a rabbit and another cat and my husband was vehemently opposed to adding another animal to our zoo.  Since we only had Raz for a short time, and they are both black, we actually got away with my husband not noticing we actually had 2 cats for awhile.  One evening after dinner, both cats happend to run into the kitchen while the hubs was sitting at the table.  The jig was up!  He picked Loki up, gave me that look, sighed and said "I guess we have another cat?".    For all his gruff and bluster, the hubs is really a softy when it comes to cute little animals, so Loki was officially made a member of the family.

Loki is a polydactyl, meaning he has 6 toes on each front paw.  His front feet look like catcher's mitts. 

Loki is Lord of the House.  There is no place that he doesn't belong and he insists that we accommodate him no matter what we are doing.

 In fact, he can be downright stubborn even if I am trying to work.

And this is probably his favorite pass-time..... playing dead.

I actually had to look very closely to make sure he was still breathing.  And of course, he can't do this after I've vacuumed.
He also likes to monitor my computer activities.  I have a side table that was supposed to be used for working on projects while I surf, but Loki figured it was for him and makes darn sure that anything I put on that table is pushed off onto the floor and therefore in the dog's domain.  Sometimes I think he jumps on the kitchen table just to push stuff off for the dog to chew.  You'd think I'd have learned,  but sterling silver omega chain had it's clasps mysteriously chewed off, and just last night Lily walked past me reeking of Little Black Dress perfume.  I later found the bottle, intact with the plastic top chewed to bits under the table.
Anyway, here is Loki monitoring my computer activities:

Did I mention I love this cat to bits?  He's just so self assured and regal.  Even our vet called him handsome.  And lovable, and so good natured.

Now if I can just get the elusive Razzy to pose for some pictures, I'll tell you all about her next!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

I don't get it.

So E rolled out a new feature enabling each shop to rearrange their items.  I know it was a feature some people wanted, maybe even I did at one time, but I have to say 'whoopdedoo' on this one.

Have I become so jaded that nothing E does is good enough anymore?  True, one doesn't need to renew items in order to put them together on the first page of your shop anymore, and I understand that some people really want this and find it useful.  I don't.  I dont' have it yet, so maybe that's part of it, but it looks to me like how you would rearrange a treasury.  To make 'aesthetically pleasing' pages.

Maybe I'm not 'every shopper', but I rarely look at the aesthetic of the shops I buy from.  The photos do matter, but not how they are arranged in one's shop.  Categories are a good thing to have, what I really wish is that we could have thumbnails for each of our categories along with a place for a description, and those could be your front page thumbnails.  That I would find useful and be all 'thanks E for all your hard work!'.

As far as I'm concerned, this was a feature that should have been part of E since the V2 rollout.  It shouldn't have been something that people begged and pleaded for for years so that when they finally did get it they fell over themselves in gratitude.  Sheesh, it literally makes me ill to read all the gushing people do.  I guess I am jaded.

Now, how about fixing those SEO issues?

Our Vacation

Ok, so I've been slacking in the blogging department.  Sometimes I have so many ideas about things I want to write about, and I have half a dozen drafts of things waiting in the wings but this blogging business isn't as easy as it looks.
Anyway, in August, we went to Wellesley Island up in The Thousand Islands to the state park to camp.  Camping for me is a 27 ft trailer with running water, electricity and an indoor bathroom and shower.  I've done the tent thing, and trust me, there is no glamour in tent camping.  And it's a darn good thing we didn't camp with a tent.  The first night we were there, there were torrential rains and further on down our row of camp sites, the poor tenters were flooded.  I wish I had gotten pictures of that, but I felt sorry for them.
So, it was a 5 hour drive for us.  We invited my husband's sister Bonnie and her Significant Other, Joey.     They also have a large trailer, and our sites were diagonally across from each other, close enough to be together, but not close enough to "be together", if you catch my drift.  I love Bonnie and Joe with all my heart, but in small doses.  And dang if I didn't get pictures of them, or our campsites or any of that stuff.  Come to think of it, I didn't get a lot of pictures, except of the scenery, which is worth it in one respect, but not so great in the story-telling department. Oh, did I mention that Bonnie has a fear of bridges?

Oh Bonnie.......did you see the view from the bridge?

My daughter Kayle brought her friend Cassie along.

We arrived and set up camp around 3pm.  My husband, with his years of truck driving experience, backed into our site on the first try.  Joey, on the other hand, even with my husband directing him took about a half hour of back and forth, in and out to finally get situated.  The first night is kind of a blur, we ate, it rained, we watched TV, yes, my husband bought a new flat screen TV and hooked up satellite dish for our convenience.  Yes, I am spoiled.

The next morning, the sun shone and we headed off the island to Alexandria Bay.  It's a neat little town filled with tourist shops and restaurants, and you can also take river excursions and visit Boldt Castle, situated on an island.  We didn't do the castle tour this time, we did it years ago when my daughter was in a wheelchair with a broken ankle, thanks to her older brother.  That's another story though.  Suffice it to say, once was enough.  The memory of pushing that wheelchair all over the island, in and out of buildings is permanently burned into my brain as something I don't want to relive, ever.  However, I did take some pretty spectacular pictures of the island with Boldt Castle on it.

It was "Bill Johnston's Pirate Days" during our visit.  Bill Johnston was a renegade after the patriots war, who blew up the British steamer, Sir Robert Peel, hid among the 1000 Islands, and was hunted by both U.S. and Canadian authorities. The annual Bill Johnston's Pirates Days celebration commemorates some of his exploits.  There were all sorts of things going on, reenactments, a pirate ship and people dressed in pirate garb all over the place.  We didn't really see much in the way of entertainment, but we managed to catch the pirate ship.

We walked through the town, and Kayle and Cassie bought some cute t-shirts, we ate ice cream and just kind of soaked in the sun and enjoyed the day.  Bonnie found some wine glasses for Joey's collection to commemorate their visit.  I didn't buy anything, my favorite thing to do their is just sit by the water and take in the view.  The islands dotting the St Lawrence are just so beautiful, and I love to imagine what it must be like to live on one.  Bonnie wanted a picture of one of the ferry's that gave tours, so here's one for you sistah:
When we arrived to the campgrounds, we noticed this huge, huge nest atop a power pole.  My hubs and Cassie went back to take pictures:
WE thought it was an eagle nest, but later learned it was an osprey nest.  I don't know much about this bird, but luckily there was a sign with some great information right there!

While hubs and Cassie were investigating the bird nest, they decided to take a look around another part of the Island.  Well, the hubs decided and Cassie went along for the ride.  They found a boat dock area (how exciting), and thought the approaching sunset was photo worthy.
And then discovered Eel Bay, and took another picture of the sun setting.
 All in all, we had a nice little vacation.  I really love our new trailer, and I look forward to using it again, most likely, next summer.  I think though, I'll plan a little earlier next time, this was kind of a spur of the moment getaway for 4 days, and it would have been nice to be able to stay a little longer.

To end this blog post, I'll leave you with a beautiful picture.  I have no idea where it was taken or who took it, but it is a fitting tribute to the beautiful area we visited.