Sunday, September 30, 2012

Etsy and Handmade

Etsy has come under fire lately due to inconsistent definitions on their policies. Etsy has always been about creating a marketplace for handmade artisans to sell their products. Shortly after I had re-joined Etsy with my new shop, there was a scandal concerning one of their featured artists - a woman who claimed to make furniture from reclaimed wood, but was really a reseller of products made in Indonesia. Etsy stated that her shop was allowed because it was a collective, which I'm sorry, I don't understand. How can you allow a person to sell products on Etsy that she had no hand in making in a Handmade marketplace?

Now, I realize that people will team up and have a shop together on Etsy. Husband and wife teams, mother and daughter teams, sisters, friends. That's fine because they are in the same area working together, making their products. One person doesn't handle the marketplace and one person handles the products. During the holidays, some shops will hire help for packaging and shipping. I have no problem with that. In fact, if I ever get that successful, I will be hiring my son to help me package products and send them out.

Every day, I see products on the front page that have no business being on Etsy. They are clearly machine fabricated products put on a chain and sold as handmade jewelry. This is one of the reasons that the jewelry category on Etsy is so saturated. Any person who can string beads on a chain in an interesting fashion can call herself a jewelry maker and claim her product is handmade. No, it isn't. Truly handmade jewelry is more stringing some charms on a chain. Unless you make the charms, it isn't handmade. You want to sell factory made charms - sell them as supplies.

Now, I have nothing against vintage sellers. But I don't want to be selling my handmade products next to them. There are marketplaces for vintage sellers - it's called EBAY! I want a marketplace for handmade artists only. Now, I do know people who take vintage products and remake them into beautiful new items. For example, April from BeaSewn ( takes vintage fabrics and turns them into guest towels, aprons and other products. She searches for these fabrics and makes them into something entirely new. She is a handmade artist. This is one of her newer products (

Microwave Potato Bag. purple and pink Florals with Forest Green liner.

Simply gorgeous and original.

In a recent article on, Rob Walker talks about upcoming changes at Etsy. ( He talks about a seller on Etsy who was so busy last year at Christmas, she barely saw her family and had thought about hiring help. She was hesitant, because she didn't want to violate Etsy's terms of use. She wonders if she had outgrown Etsy.

The article makes it seem like this is a bad thing. I don't think it is. If your product is so popular that you cannot keep up with orders without hiring help, you probably have outgrown Etsy. There is nothing wrong with that. Open up a website, and sell your products there.  Hire your help. Keep growing until you have enough of an income, then open a brick and mortar shop. That is the American Dream - to own your own business and be successful. Why is it a bad thing to outgrow Etsy?

Etsy runs a series called "Quit Your Day Job" about successful Etsy sellers who have made Etsy their full-time job. I would love that, honestly, but I don't think I could ever make enough on Etsy to quit my day job. Unless of course, I raised my prices. I might do that if I start getting more orders than I can fill in a reasonable pace. Others I know on Etsy say that quitting your day job and running an Etsy shop full time is a pipe dream. I agree. I see my Etsy shop right now as a supplement to my current income.

Walker talks about changes coming to Etsy, mainly the option of wholeselling to a brick and mortar called West Elm. But, you have to apply to become a wholeseller. Another change coming is to allow sellers to use outside vendors to help manufacture part of their product. This is a slap in the face of anyone who takes pride in handmaking their product from start to finish. Yes, I don't spin my own yarn. But I take a supply and make something with it. I take a flip flop and make it completely indistinguishable from it's original look. This opens the door wide open for resellers to come in.

Yes, I have liked some of the changes that have come to Etsy. I am part of a team testing a size variation code for clothing. I am able to make 1 listing for my Vikings inspired Flip-Furs and have the buyer select what size they want. In most of my sales, the buyer has forgotten to tell me what size they want. No problem. I contact the buyer and ask them and don't start their pair of Flip-Furs until I receive an answer.

I feel Etsy is letting me down with these new changes. Wholeselling will be possible with the allowing the use of outside vendors to make part of your product. Etsy is thinking of one thing - their pocketbook. They don't care about the resellers because they get 20 cents for each listing, and a percentage of each sale. They want to keep the bigger shops from leaving, or "graduating", Etsy because of all the money these shops make. This  hurts the newer or smaller shops. I feel Etsy doesn't care about shops like mine.

I am going to be taking steps to move away from Etsy. First, by offering all of my products on my blog. I will also be purchasing my own domain name.  Another step I'm taking will be to offer my products on other websites, such as (I'm on the front page here) and other exclusively handmade sites.  I will keep my Etsy shop open until I can reasonably make enough money on these other sites to negate any sales I make on Etsy. I also want to keep my shop open on Etsy though the holiday season, just to see if I have an increase in sales.

Also, I will be making sure that my treasuries and features include handmade artists only. And I will make sure that these products are not obviously made in factories. I know I won't send a message to Etsy by myself, but I hope my stand will help other handmade artisans see that one voice can turn into many. Maybe we can find another fledgling site and make a good living selling on this new site.

Hoping you all have a great weekend. Please, please support handmade this holiday season. If not me, than someone else I support. I will create a list of handmade artisans soon, so you will be able to take your pick.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Brand New Monday

How was your weekend? Sorry I haven't really posted much in the past week. I've had a lot of "working lunches".  If I could discipline myself to post on the weekends, I would. But I rarely spend any time online, unless it is to rest my hands from creating. I'm still neck deep in re-doing all the Flip-Furs to have a flip-flop sole inside. But, this weekend I got to take a break.

Saturday morning I woke up to my 2nd sale of the week. And it was a multiple item sale. I was so excited. Two firsts crossed off the list. My only problem - I didn't have any lavender thread! I can't imagine I threw some out after I made mom's doily, but that was so long ago. So the boy and I had to make a special trip out on Saturday to the craft store.

I'm excited for another reason. I'm starting a new craft. I'm going to be a Bling Babe. Okay, it isn't an official title, but I am going to be adding rhinestones to various things, starting with dance jackets. I won't be blinging the boy's jacket (that's a line I won't cross unless he asks me to), but I do have a couple jackets that I will be "practicing" on. I received my applicator this weekend and some rhinestones.

Here's a before picture of one of the jackets:

Now, it already has some rhinestones on it, but I wanted to make it a little extra sparkly:

And here's another bit I did:

And, to top it off, I found a great new show on TLC. Bling It On! I kid you not. This designer hand designs everything - wedding dresses, steam punk costumes, party dresses. She has 3 seamstresses and 3 blingettes. They had this one wedding dress for a Vegas wedding that was in neon colors. It took 96 hours of those girls rhinestoning to make this dress. It was bright, but it was so pretty! I doubt I would wear it.  I was blinging while watching it.

So, for most of the weekend I was working on this doily my customer ordered. I am so out of shape when it comes to making lace. This is a pattern I've made multiple times before, and I thought I would be stretching it by now, but I keep tearing it apart because I keep making mistakes! Oh well. it will get done.

Today is Brand New Monday, so here are some handmade new listings:

Brand New Monday

What do you think? Any gift ideas for your loved ones this holiday season?

Couple of announcements: I will be cutting off orders for Christmas on December 1. So, get your orders in before then.

Second: I would love to do a giveaway this holiday season! But, as I said before, I want 50 followers before I do so. Every follower will get an automatic entry in the giveaway (unless you don't want one and you are just here to read my adventures). Can't guarantee it will be a pair of Flip-Furs. It may be a one of a kind scrap scarf or a set of scrap washcloths. Yes, I know I don't have those listed yet. I haven't even made them yet, but they sound like fun to do. 

I'd better get back to work. I'm helping other areas today.


Friday, September 21, 2012

Have you ever been so excited.... a book? Call me geek, call me nerd, call me whatever you wish. I am so excited for January to get here. Not because of the snow or the New Year, because the last book in my favorite series is going to be released. I am already planning on taking a day off work to read it. I will read it once, quickly, to get the main ideas and find out which storylines have been closed. Then, I will go back and read it again, savoring it like a good meal. There is nothing like a good, thick book.

I write this because I have just finished reading the prologue of this book and I am so giddy! This book is going to be so good. I can't wait. Tidbits will be released as we get closer to the release date like appetizers to a fine feast.

Yes, I'm excited for this book. A legacy that started with one brilliant man comes to an end with another. I'm just sorry that Robert Jordan did not get to see the end of his inspirational saga.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday Musings

So, I have a little bit of time right now to blog.

This weekend: a little crazy fun, a little cleaning. My apartment was atrocious! I couldn't find anything! Like flip-flops - took me forever to find the pair I wanted for a pair of Flip-Furs I was starting to re-do. Sorry, I cannot have my workspace messy. What I really need, is a 3rd bedroom for all my yarn, supplies and books! One of these days, right? Maybe if I can pay off my car loan early, I will get a bigger place. But, I'd want a place I can build bookshelves into the wall. Or drawers. Or maybe I'll just go to Ikea. :) I can have so much evil fun with Ikea! Of course, if I get my own place, I'd upgrade to a queen sized bed. With real drawer underneath the bed for linens. Oh, a girl can dream, can't she? While I'm dreaming, how about I dream about being able to sew? With my son's eye for color, I could make some gorgeous quilts. Of course, I'd also have to have a dressmaker's dummy and a mannequin for taking pictures. I'd probably build a small studio for taking pictures. Hell, if I can afford all this stuff, I can afford to pay a photographer to take pictures of my stuff, right? They can do all the touch-ups for me.

So, if I ever get married again, it has to be to a rich guy. One that understands my need for cleanliness and organization. Who understands that my crocheting is a hobby and a passion. And knows better than to talk during the movies or when I'm thoroughly engrossed in a book I've been waiting for years to read.

I know, the last one seems a given and just plain considerate, but I've had boyfriends who I have told I will be unavailable for the next few days while I devour a 1,000 page book because it just came out. Yes. 3 zeroes in that one. I like my books like I like my men and my spaghetti sauce - meaty! Then, the dumb boyfriend would call the first night. "Do you need a break?" No! I don't need a break. I took 2 days off work to read this book and you are going to interrupt me the first night? Of course, ideally, my guy would be reading the same book across the room and would know better. We would take turns getting food and drinks. I have it all planned out, naturally.

Speaking of the men in my life, my son is the sweetest child. I have this boy trained right. He cleans the bathroom, scoops kitty litter, and does the dishes. Folds and puts away his own laundry. Showers every night. And knows better than to interrupt me during a thick book unless it is time for food. He entertains himself. Lets me sleep in (he plays quietly). I am a very lucky mom. Doesn't question my organizational skills. In fact, he's a little OCD like myself - everything of his has its own place. Puts the movies back in their original alphabetical slot.

So, if you know of a single guy, 30s through 50s (won't go any younger - I'm in the midst of training one boy, don't need another), who doesn't mind a gal who is slightly nutty and offbeat, geeky, vertically challenged, with a child (I won't argue if he doesn't want any more - I remember midnight feedings), send him here. I'm a little different, because normal is boring.

Time to get ready to go home. Hope you all have a FANTASTIC week! I will keep dreaming about Mr. Right and my dream home. Did I say a 3 bedroom? I meant a 4 bedroom - need an office. Which can't be the craft room - no room for a desk.


Funny cartoon from yesterday's paper

This made me think of all the cloggers at my son's dance studio.


Brand New Monday

How was your weekend? Mine was good. Went to the apple orchard with Mom and the boy. Picked our apples for the season and our pumpkins. Then Mom made Jagerschnitzel. MMMMMMMM. Very good. Sunday I watched the Vikings come so close, but end up losing.

Today's post is short - running out of time during lunch. But here is today's Brand New Monday treasury! It is also a Team Handmade Scavenger Hunt. Check out what I had to search for:

Brand New Monday

Have a great week!


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thrifty Thursday

Happy Thursday, friends! Hope the week has been good to you. I have finally fit into a pair of normal jeans - no elastic waist here, people! And at times today, I feel like an over stuffed sausage. Oh well.

Last night I conquered my fear of talking in front of people. I ran the booster club meeting last night and the world didn't end. Had to take a helper, but I survived.

Have you watched the performance finale of So You Think You Can Dance? It aired on Tuesday. Sooooo good. I can't choose between Chehon and Cyrus. Two completely different dancers, yet both were fabulous! Loved the last number of the night when Cyrus danced with Twitch - hip hop animation style. Very good. I think Elaina has wrapped it up for the girls. She is powerful and her leg extensions go on for days. We'll see who wins next week!

Glee starts tonight! Are you ready to get your Gleek on? I am. I did watch some of the reruns this summer. Had to watch Nationals, again. So good!

I think my son and I have figured out our schedule for the year. I have it figured out when I can sneak away and walk on the treadmill and what our eating schedule will be. Of course, just as I had thought I had the morning schedule down, I don't go walking for the past 2 mornings. I have been very tired in the mornings. Might need to re-introduce coffee into my system.

Are you looking for sales, too? I've got them here.

The first comes from Fabric Ala Carte ( who is having a moving sale. Use coupon code MOVING25 to receive 25% off your order of fabrics.

IntriguedKnits ( is having a fall sale. Use Coupon code FALLSALE to receive 10% off your order.

SOnlineMediaServices ( is having a sale on his Etsy Banners. Regularly $35, he is now offering them for $21 until October 1st.

Jadestone2012 ( is offering free shipping on all items. No coupon code.

Frame Your Story ( is having a 10% off sale. Use coupon code THANKS

My Flower Zone ( is having a 9% off sale. Use coupon code SEPTEMBER9OFF at check out.

I think that's a good collection of sales.

Just a reminder. I want to host a giveaway. But, in order to do so, I need 50 followers! Just follow my blog. You don't even have to read the blog everyday. Though, if you don't, you'll miss some cool offers.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Treasury Challenge

So, for one of my teams, I had to make a treasury from a list of keywords. This is what I came up with! For the list of words, go here:

Mel's Red Jewelry Treasury