Sunday, November 14, 2010

Folks don't want to hire anyone; complain

This guy is shocked that he can't find amazing people right off the bat. Many businesses nowadays expect great people off the rack without putting any resources into them, but that's not the way it works. To have great people, you need to create them.

And more on why the something for nothing entitlement mentality that we get from a lot of businesses. They want a lot of public support, but don't want to pay taxes or deal with regulation. The problem is that sure, in the short run, all of this sounds great,but in the long run, no taxes means poor infrastructure, poor health for workers, poor education, etc, and all the problems and expenses that go along with that.

I think business can try to be a good neighbor instead of plundering everything in their path and leaving a ruined environment and shattered lives behind them.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

People are PISSED

silver and coral again

about an etsy blog about the horrors of coral. Personally, I think that the article should have run with a disclaimer that this is just one random person's opinion and not the opinion of etsy, but I don't think that this blog post will actually affect sales of coral jewelry much.(full disclosure- I am quite sure that I probably have some pieces with coral beads.) It is well known that diamonds fuel conflicts, that gold and silver mining aren't exactly environmentally friendly, and that mother of pearl is made from oyster shells, but sales of these items continue because they are lovely items and people want them.

I attempt to be more sustainable, but as a maker of things, the real way to be sustainable is not to make things, as we have enough items for everyone on earth to fill their abodes with them. This is the sort of moral issue that everyone needs to put on their waders and wrestle with themselves. Whether you want all your items to be sustainbly sourced, or you don't care, or any thing in between- for example, I like to use reuse old jewelry items in my designs and reuse packaging, but new items are used much of the time as well- there's something for you in this wide world.

I think the brou ha ha is not so much that someone said "CORAL IS BAD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT" it's that sellers aren't feeling the love, so to speak. Many sellers hunger for one of their own to be given a spotlight. Competition is fierce, and anyone who gets an advantage from etsy appears to be taking advantages away from others. This goes doubly for those who are not from etsy, and also, appear to be designers instead of makers.{The distinction is that there's a huge difference from designing a piece and sending it off to be made and making the pieces themselves.] The promotional tone of the piece may have also offended some, as it moves the piece from the realm of information to marketing. So lesson learned for etsy[or not]: don't let outsiders write promotional pieces on your blog.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Four in the Queue!

This edition has two in the queue and two at home:

In the queue:

Season 2 of Mad Men : I finally watched the first season of Mad Men.

Kiki's Delivery Service- the classic Miyazaki film. One of the first I had ever seen when they were first released in America. I need to see it again.

At home:

Ponyo: I saw this in the theater, in the company of two old women and a very well behaved little girl. It was beautiful, but I want to see the subtitled version.

Howl's Moving Castle- a Miyazaki film I haven't seen yet? I'm working my way through the classics.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Why I like twitter more than facebook explained

Facebook is sort of awkward. It doesn't aggregate information like I like. When online, I want floods of information and opinion. I can look at facebook for a few minutes. "Yes, that's a cute baby. Yes, that's a bible quote." If I wanted that, I'd go outside and talk to people. Relationships are more suited to the slower flow of real life. On twitter, I can see conversations about manga, etsy, the state of black America, tv shows...ALL AT ONCE. Updated constantly. Sometimes I get licensing information IN REAL TIME! Real life and facebook are more of a mixed bag. You're thrown in together with people you don't really choose- former church members, old coworkers, schoolmates, family members, and what they talk about may or may not be interesting.

I like the choice of twitter. If I end up with a religious fundamentalist on my twitter, I can merely click unfollow. On facebook, I end up with a lot of folks like that on there as not to offend.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Big Companies Get Ideas from Little Ones

Stackbucks rolls out reusable coffee sleeves. after small crafters have had them for years. I also noticed Keep Calm and Carry On items at Barnes and Nobles after the big trend was created online. I guess we're idea factories.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The vibrant African Maker Economy

I liked this article about the vibrant informal economy in Narobi. A lot of people have the idea that the economy is built from the top down- big business creates jobs, etc. But the truth is that that system doesn't work everywhere. I am thinking of some of the ghettos of our cities- high unemployment,big business doesn't want to put in grocery stores, despite sources saying that there are 30k people in the area.[that's a whole lot of potatoes!]. Big business isn't doing a thing to give jobs and services to many people in those areas. So a lot of informal businesses crop up- hair braiding, tattooing, car repair,the selling of everything from plates of food to bootleg videos.

People are building an economy from the bottom up. In America, and in Africa. We're not disposable cogs. We're vital pieces of this economy. Never forget that.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

It's Happy Black Girl Day

today's harvet

And what I'm happy about is fresh basil. I could bathe in the scent. I love the leaves growing so large, some as large as my middle finger. They are the only things that have done well this year. The only tomatoes we have are cherry, and there's always banana peppers, but my rosemary died, my krim tomato died, and the green zebras aren't bearing. That's gardening for you.

Gardening is a rich heritage too. Every year, we get purple hull peas, and pear preserves from older women who have gardened their whole lives. Gardening gets you into the soil, out of your head. It gets you away from the American myth of total control over your destiny. If it rains too much, too bad. That's it for your rosemary. It gets you back to the rhythms of the earth. Our children should garden- I don't want a generation to grow up without the smell of fresh basil on their hands.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

4 in the queue

This new feature in my blog is called 4 in the queue, in which you are privvy to my embarrassing media habits.

At #1 is Toy Story 2. I have seen every Toy Story movie but this one, as the first one was released in my childhood when I was able to freely enjoy cartoons, and the third one was released recently, but the 2nd one was released when I was a teenager, and felt too embarrassed to watch cartoons in the theater.

At #3 is Ponyo.

I saw this movie in a comfortable empty theater, in contrast to my experience with Toy Story 3, which had crying kids and grown ups who should know better on cell phones. The only other people in the theater were two old women, who I got the feeling were the ones who really wanted to see the movie, and a small child, who was too young[maybe about 2? 3?] to really grasp the idea of a movie, but ate her snacks and occasionally watched the screen. I want to see it again, therefore the queuing.

At #9 is Frontline: The Vaccine Wars. I heard it was interesting, and also, I don't like watching films on my computer as much as I like watching them on TV. It's harder to multitask using the computer.

At #10 is This Film is Not Yet Rated. I put this on my queue years ago, and it has finally surfaced to the top. I have hundreds of movies like this in my queue.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I'm still rolling this over

This post on etsy as a business incubator. I've meant to blog about this for a long time, but now I think I might take a stab at it. I wanted to say something about how I'm not seeing etsy as a little incubator for lots of little businesses, and then some businesses break out of their eggs into the bright sky of success. Instead, I see it as a growing part of the way that instead of passively watching tv in our free time, we actively seek out community- crafting, selling, and passing advice back and forth.

Maybe we won't get big. Maybe our ideal is to stay small, a hobby, to craft and sleep and eat and work all in balance. But every minute we spent crafting to a higher standard since we want to sell it or reading about how to run a business so we can keep crafting, the world improves just a little.

Monday, July 05, 2010

I also suck as a radical homemaker

from a more successful garden than mine

OK, I'm not a homemaker, radical or otherwise I'm just a childless slacker. I attempt to get by with a minimum of expenses, but I just realized that I don't know how to cook purple hull peas. Or anything in fact. Right now I'm paring down- trying to give away, sell or reluctantly- trash everything I don't want. This will take forever, as I unearth layers of my life- old photo albums with pictures of teenage pals with flowers in their hair, a whole notebook full of professional materials, old comics I haven't read in years.

Of course, as I try to pare down, I find twenty new things I want. I went into a bookstore to buy a gift for a relative, and found four or five new things for my wishlist.

Paring down will probably take me months, and that brings me to my point. Simplicity is hard work. A lot of this stuff requires you to be full of energy, and knowledge, and a community of people who can give you zucchini from their garden when yours fails to grow anything.[the only real success I've had with my garden is basil.

I think we can all be a little kinder to each other when our experiments fail. When we take a road, and look at the road not taken, and wonder. Because what comes around goes around.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Viz looks for Interns

an orange tomato

Viz has slashed its workforce and is now looking for interns. I have to wonder if the value of the internship has lessened. After these folks are done working for free, will they really be able to parlay this into anything paid? Even the success story is a freelancer- no security! If say, 10 people work as interns, and only one gets to be a freelance editor, would they have spent their time better if they had waited tables and gained money to pay off their giant student loan debt?

At least these internships aren't full time- unpaid full time internships are problematic since they make paid work all but impossible to do for the majority of people.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Kin is Dead

I can see why the Kin is being discontinued. I love social networking, but 'a phone to manage your social life'? Really? What people want with a phone is versatility- we play games, go on twitter, take phone calls and text messages... what we don't want is something that seems like a gimmick when there are perfectly fine phones that do what the Kin was promising better

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Is this model sustainable?

red stars

The race to the bottom for the cheapest wages, massive unemployment, and a lack of concern for the environment? We spend a lot of cash throwing it at big rich companies and people and hoping that they'll throw some of that largess back down at us. Maybe instead of trickle down, we can trickle out- share goods and services more. This system here is breaking down for many people.

Even in China, where the high educational investment[there's no mention of debt, but in the US, huge educational debts are a growing problem] and low wage model combine, there are worries about social unrest as the people thrown out by that system fight back.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Small Business and Being a Good Neighbor


A lot of folks try to run on championing small businesses, but I want to know what sort of small businesses we are touting as the backbone of America? Are we touting the sort who exploit undocumented workers? The sort who will ask the worker to 'hold' their check while late fees pile up on their bills? The sort who pay so little their workers need to apply for public benefits? I'm all for small business, but with the priviledge of running a business comes responsibility.

I don't think a small business can thrive without paying attention to the larger community they serve. People say we should give huge tax breaks, and loosen regulations, but if the community then has decaying infrastructure, schools without any books, and poisonous waste everywhere, I don't really think that's a gain at all.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Rural Farms, Urban farms

I was stuck in the country

Are big city markets draining small local markets? I don't know. In Memphis, we have about five farmer's markets in the area, and sometimes I find that it's cheaper to go to the farmer's market than it is to the supermarket.

Lately, I've been attempting to garden- my veggie death toll is about 3[2 rosemary plants and an oregano] and my black krim tomato is on its last legs. Gardening is hard work! It's all well and good for my city bound self[the post picture is from a day I spent in the country. I was really bored] to talk about getting back to the land, and fresh veggies and suchlike, but people's priorities aren't shaped by pure bloody mindedness- there are reasons, and when we learn about them, we can help push farmer's markets more in the country.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I Wish I Was a Cheapskate

basil with a cherry

I wish I was a cheapskate! One of the issues keeping me from being a cheapskate is that I have a great difficulty resisting sales. Give me a coupon for 40% off, slash the price of remainder books to 3.99 or 50 cents...and I'll buy and buy. Another issue is that I have a lot of consumption heavy hobbies. Manga, video games, reading... For manga, I try to use coupons and the used market to reduce the price, and video games I rely on casual gaming[such as big fish games' 6.99 games] and the used market to reduce the price, but I do spend a lot of money on entertainment. Netflix eases the bite of movie watching by replacing $10 movies with $18 subscription, but that's still a lot of consumption.

And of course, there's the elephant in the room- jewelry making! I try to reduce by recycling components from older designs, but this week, I had a custom order, so I sprinted to Michaels[coupons in hand], and bought a few extra supplies to fill it. Of course, there's always something that catches your eye, so I got at least 3 unnecessary items.

I think there are a few traits a cheapskate needs to have: patience, lack of novelty seeking, and delayed gratification. Delayed gratification goes without saying, and patience is part of that- patience to cook up a meal when all you want is some filling and tasty takeout. Lack of novelty seeking would really help for people who consume to gain experiences. My theory is that some people consume for utility[the cheapskates], some for status, and others for experiences- and the latter is where I fall.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Oh American Apparel!

Warning: All links have American Appeal style photos on them.

Gawker has a humorous list of their grooming standards. Also notice that the female example photos are mostly from the porno aesthetic and the male ones are not porno style.

Oh yea, and your advancement in he company is determined by how you look! I wonder if that's even legal.

American Apparel acts like it isn't trashy, and is somehow worried about getting trashy black girls[wut?] but I see you, American Apparel, with your website that had me looking at a lady's naked bum just so I can see a pair of socks!

And I agree with the commenters who bet they would be shocked if they saw some actually nappy natural hair as opposed to 'curly'. *admits that I don't have 'curly' hair- I have nappy hair, which I keep natural*

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Blogging Consumption

piles of chips

Inspired by the book Obsessive Consumption, a sweet little volume full of adorably rendered pictures of products, which delighted me both with its banality and the fact that she has fun hipster taste, I think sometimes I'll blog my consumption too. My mind is taking a detour, so stay with me. With the book Obsessive Consumption, I had a hard time deciding whether to file it as a comic or as a prose book. It has very few words, and almost all pictures, so that's one check for the comic side, but on the other hand, my comics are all narrative... I stuck it in the comics, and of course, with any decision you make, your mind automatically starts justifying it, and now I think the chronological nature of the drawings creates a sort of narrative.

Back on the topic, the item I wanted to blog today is a black ruled moleskine notebook. I bought it because I had a 40% off coupon at Borders. I had intended to buy Pandora Hearts 2, but after overindulging at the library[you would have overindulged too! Thousands of books! $3 at the most! I filled up a box.], I decided to go practical.

The boygirlparty notebook that I have been using for months is filling up. I needed a new notebook, so I got a black moleskine- the black cover seems professional, and so it is well suited to pretending to take notes. I had a hard choice between ruled and squared, but even though I adore squared- a good compromise between the freedom of blank and the control of ruled, I thought ruled looked more like I really was intended to write notes, and not in fact doodle.

So I'm happy to have a new notebook. I wish it a long life!

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Worth of Work

another ring

The culture of cheap is discussed in volume. I think part of the issue is that a lot of the 'cheap' stuff is folks getting their 10,000 hours of practice in publicly. So their amateur work is priced much lower than professional work. My work has increased in price through the years as well. Of course, there's always going to be a huge supply of amateurs, and the problem with craft pricing is simple supply and demand.

There's a huge supply of crafters at all levels, and not that much demand for craft work- much of this stuff is for a niche audience- mass market work has mass market prices, and only a small percentage of people really care about whether we spent 20 hours handbeading that belt.

Let me tell an anecdote- I was at a gallery crawl and a man that was on it too saw a great belt- it was handmade with skulls woven into the leather and just an amazing piece of work- but it was $75. The guy really wanted the belt, but he thought '$75 for a belt?' I noted the great design, but really, that belt wasn't worth $75 to him.

And that's the point. It doesn't matter whether you deserve however much- it's how much the item is worth to the customer. We focus a lot on how much our time and services are worth, but when companies are paying people with college degrees $10 an hour, there's only going to be so much stretch in people's perception of worth.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

It's Time For Squee and Expensive Handbag Squee Harshing

Arcade Fire!!! is offering their new album preordered for 7.99. Bravely, they are releasing the digital with an option to have just plain MP3s. I prefer plain MP3s- the use of them is a big reason I use emusic, I wonder if they are worried about piracy, especially among young people who aren't used to actually paying for entertainment.

I think they are hoping enough people pay for extras like the vinyl to make up for folks who don't think humping your behind to make an album deserves the less than $10 it costs to actually pay for it. At least Arcade Fire is big enough to have licensing deals for commercials to make up the revenue as well

[Here's a perspective on this for the manga market] I admit to being part of the manga after market, as I like used books to catch up to older out of print series, but I realize that I'm not entitled to free manga. Manga is actually extremely labor intensive- story boarding, writing, drawing, translation, the creation of the design of the book. It's amazing that manga is so cheap, when American comics are selling $4 for 30 pages, I'm seeing 8.99 for 200.


I look with suspicion on $1000 bags, especially from large companies. If I'm getting the same cheap labor and cheap materials, but with a flashier name, why shouldn't I just go to a thrift store and get a perfectly fine bag for way cheaper? Heck, if I'm desperate for new, I could just go to etsy and pick up a bag.

Is Louis Vuitton handmade? Well, designer companies are certainly using sweatshops, even in Italy. People blame the Chinese workers, but many are sold a bill of goods- you'll pay off your debt quick! You'll be back and successful before long! The subcontractors all the way down model helps big companies have plausible denialbilty for ripping off labor.

Friday, May 21, 2010

HeyMichelle Speaks

Words in bold are hers:

Etsy Admin
HeyMichelle says:
Hmmm, this is a question I've been pondering over all day. I think it's a definition that we will have to hone to be right for the Etsy market. There are many precedents set by other companies though as to how to handle mature content - ebay, google, and flickr come to mind.

My impression- I feel that there should be a way for the average person to browse Etsy freely with their child on their lap, and for the average conservative or middle of the road person to easily avoid content they don't want to see. Yes, there are always extremes on either side, but I'm thinking about the middle, say, 80-90% of people or so.

For example, if Etsy is featured on a show like Good Morning America (as we were recently), will there be a good number of new visitors who might not leave and not come back if the content is displayed prominently?

The Dos and Don'ts uses the term "general audiences" as well:

Etsy aims to maintain a marketplace appropriate for general audiences, therefore the use of mature content must comply with the following policies. Mature content is defined as: visual depiction of male or female genitalia, sexual activity or content, profane language or graphic violence. Mature content listings will remain in all Etsy searches by default; users can restrict results by using the exclusionary search term "NOT mature" ("opt-out" search status).

* Item listings containing mature content must be tagged with "mature" and include the word "mature" in the item title.
* Mature content and/or profane language or images are not allowed in your username, Public Profile, item titles, tags, avatar, banner, Shop Announcement and/or shop section titles.
* The first thumbnail image in your item listing should be kept appropriate for general audiences; additional images in the listing may show the item in its entirety. Mature content and/or profane language or images are only allowed in the second, third, fourth and fifth photos of an item listing and the description text of a listing.
* Pornography is prohibited on Etsy.

Is etsy shifting audiences with its popularity? Although this does not *personally* affect me[despite the depictions of plant genitalia in my jewelry, they are all work safe], I'm still thinking about what to think on this issue.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mature Treasuries on Etsy

There's apparently a huge furor about mature items in Treasury East, apparently the listings will be filtered out or something and there are petitions on the internet about this.

BTW: admin announcement post.

My brain is fogging up, and so I haven't really taken a position. I'm not sure etsy really makes it clear to people that it's an adult site. On the other hand, treasuries are 'beneath the fold' so to speak, and aren't in people's personal log in areas...

ETA:Etsybitch takes a side. A pet peeve I have is people saying I'm not a prude, but... We're all prudes to someone, and saying I'm not a prude isn't going to convince anyway. I'm a prude, and proud of it. I find things are more exciting when there's something that can shock you.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The upshot of this thread is...

run your shop as a business. Even if you're doing it just for fun, with the recession on, it's important not to lose money on each sale. The web of small business is such that with our sales we buy other things and move money around. If you lose money on each sale, you can't move any money, can you?

And BTW: it seems that school trips are fraught with peril. That said, we all have different beliefs, and yes, all beliefs come with a risk of not being business friendly. I curse a lot, and of course, most people wouldn't want to expose their kids to my blue streak, and many people want to tell their children about their own beliefs and not have some beliefs seemingly endorsed by the school, and others ignored.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

It's Happy Black Girl Day

but I'm exhausted. So I link you to this black love tumblr., and a headband I wish I had from etsy. Oh yea, and the award winning game Portal is now avaliable for free! I have a cool new toy, and you will see the amazing results soon. *wiggles eyebrow mysteriously*

One more "soup nazi" comparison & I'll scream. Yes, we're small & limited on what we can do. No, I don't think this makes us "nazis" :(less than a minute ago via web

Don't call hard working local bakers cupcake nazis. Of course, there's the issue that unless they are making cupcakes with swaztikas on them, or burning crosses or something, I don't want to hear about who is a 'nazi'. Their shop has gotten very popular because of how delicious the cupcakes are, but it really is a small shop. It's smaller than your average Starbucks,and they have to bake all of their items themselves so of course they aren't going to be able to keep up with demand. I'm not sure if they'll be able to expand or not. Real estate in Memphis is cheap, but there's a terrible recession on. I don't go up to Sanderlin as often I want as it is.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

On The Advertising Mix

I find it hard to really have much of an advertising mix as I must rely on free or very low cost advertising. I use twitter, facebook, etsy forums[renewing was costing a lot for little return], online classified ads, livejournal postings, etc.

Also, there's much controversy over a new etsy feature. Folks are getting tired of new geegaws to show us popular shops. I myself have already seen most of these shops and I'd like to see new shops. In my suggested shops, I have shops that I already have faved and bought from, which is not any help to me at all.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

to all who support us, to all who teach us, to all who do the under recognized work that keeps the world spinning, regardless of whether they are our biological mothers, our adoptive mothers, our friends, our teachers, or anyone else who mothers.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Should Work Hours Be Reduced to Increase Employment?

An interesting idea. The problem that many part timers have today is a lack of insurance, ability to pay housing and food costs, etc. Shorter work weeks would be better for our health and probably our environment, but there's also the cultural issue that Americans tend to equate having time off with being a horrible person, and of course, if the government got involved, people would be howling that someone spent an extra penny on food they didn't approve of or didn't look downtrodden enough or something.

I think the part time revolution has already come. Full time employment is getting harder to find. A lot of people are scraping by. You can downsize consumerism, but you can't downsize the need to live indoors.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

The Grow Memphis Plant Sale

a squash plant

It's been extended!

The photo above is a squash plant that I bought from the plant sale on Sunday, and which is growing quite well. On Sunday, they had helpful service, explaining to me what Anaheim pepper is. [Don't laugh! I'm a novice!] They had some good varieties there, including some green zebra tomatoes, which they were selling for a $1 each.

There's nothing like a garden- no gatekeepers, all you need is a plant, a trowel, and some water. If you get stumped, there's the public library! I'm hoping for some good fruits this year, and the answer to the mystery of what is eating the basil!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

A Lack of Oversight Kills Small Businesses...


BP didn't plan properly, and now their oversight is killing fisheries in America. People don't ask people to say...actually use the equipment needed to drill oil at that depth safely just to be mean. We do it since we're all connected. The men who died when the rig exploded, the fishermen who will suffer from the oil spill, and even the wildlife that will suffer are connected. It's not just grab all the cash you can without regard for everything else. We need to find ways of living that are sustainable for everyone.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I learn that all photographers nowadays are fake.

An old store

Thanks to this enlightening flickr thread! I agree with the people who say it's just a bigger pool of talent to pull from. I don't have much talent with a camera, but I do like that digital cameras allow me to snap my little photos of everyday life-decaying stores,nondescript greenery, frowning babies, and also allow me to take photos of my items easily. It takes me sometimes thirty or forty shots before I get the five I want to present to the world. With film, that would be expensive, but with digital, I can do it in an afternoon and get back to crafting. That's what technology is for- to make it easier for us to do our vocations.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Blog Potpourri

Dennis Anderson's ginger lemon massage bar smells like sparkling ginger ale. The massage bar part rubbed off quickly, but this bar has good lather and both good in and out of shower smell. A solid bar of soap- what I've come to expect from Dennis Anderson.

Also, Magic Hand's Salt Bar really feels pure, like something you'd use to wash a baby. The salt gives it a nice texture, and it was nice and hard until the end when the last tiny piece crumbled away. Gives the skin a very soapy smell.

Etsy says everyone's views are just fine. Many disagree.

Religious messages in stores and pamphlets? There's a huge difference from merely wishing me a blessed day[slightly annoying, but acceptable] and putting a tract about how everyone who slept in one day and didn't go to church is going straight to hell in my package.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

It's Earth Day

anchors away.

and so salon publishes a piece on folks who concern troll everyone about how cheap organic lentils are.

Of course, there's a certain tension in business about being green. Sure, a lot of green ways do save money- recycling beads from older necklaces rather than buying new ones, recycling clean packing materials, saving old items from thrift stores to make new items, but at the heart of the green movement is the idea that we all have plenty of stuff, and need to use less resources on our stuff. Less consumerism means less buying, which of course isn't good for business. I think we can find a balance, of course.

In other news, will walmart save the family farm?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Design Works: The Sixth Try is The Charm

the back of it

It took me about five or six tries to create this necklace. My first try involved many swarovski crystals, and some sodalite rounds. It was a good try, but I didn't have enough beads. That's a huge problem with necklaces- they take a lot of beads, and if you have too many different kinds, they can look messy and sort of bead soupy. That was the issue with my second try. I tried to extend it with some sea green czech glass beads and some olive jade, that I rescued from this design:

a leaf

but I didn't have enough, and it started to look bead soup like. On my third try, I tried to use some Greek ceramic tube beads, which had really vivid blue and green colors, at the ends of the necklace, but I didn't like that effect.

no, that's not a nipple

The fourth try involved this basic concept[evolved after a trip to the bead store- after seeing the sodalite teeth, I decided to match more precisely to the color of the pendant, which was the centerpiece for the whole idea of the necklace]- tigers eye, sodalite 'teeth', but no spacers, so that was too short. The fifth try involved glass spacers, but they were black, so it seemed visually too heavy. The sixth try finally got it right with the white bone spacers, and so we have the final product. Of course, actually, it was right on the seventh or eighth try. I had to redo once because of a bead counting error- I wanted the necklace perfectly symmetrical, and another time because of a bead spill.

So there you have it. I'm pretty satisfied with this necklace incarnation.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Farmer's Market Frenzy

As spring comes, the farmer's market boom hits Memphis hard. Yes, some folks bring non local produce to the market, but there's still a variety of local items to be found. Local baked goods, local hummus[really!], local crafts[I used to sell at the Agricenter on Saturdays but it was too slow for me].

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Thousand True Fans

I'm late on the thousand true fans boat, but I'd still like to discuss it. Even though it sounds like the premise of an anime- gain a thousand true friends...I you'll become a real girl...I mean business... but it may have some validity to us crafters. Many people knew of the etsy famous Black Apple who even though most have never heard of her is doing alright with her fanbase.

Of course, as they say, different things are different. It's a bit easier for soapers as people consume soap and will often buy from the same soaper month to month. I like a lot of variety in my soap buying, but I will return to the same 'favorites' as well. Jewelry isn't consumable and you can only have so many earrings, but your true fans act as evangelists to the more casual types. They are the ones who retweet your tweets, advise others to go to your shop, etc. I think that more than the mere 1000 people a year giving you $100 once aspect that that is the true value of true fans.

People fall out of love with things, they move on, but before that happens, they can show your work to people who really are turned on by your art. Different methods work for different people. You don't see a lot of very very personal stuff on this blog as I am really shy, but other people display their daily life. But getting people to engage with your work, standing out from the crowd- that's something we can all relate to.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Rethink Your Rapper Dreams

Artist compensation in a handy infographic. Of course, this has always been true, but this just puts it in stark relief. Better print out tons of t shirts, bands!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Ning's Bubble Bursts

Ning, home of such networks as WeLoveEtsy, is closing off free networks and laying off workers. Even on the rapidly growing internet, you need a way to monetize your product. Grow slow and steady. If you expand too fast, you might just be a bubble...

BTW: perhaps we should focus on companies that actually make things again. Stop giving 120 million to random dot com boom type companies and give 1 million each to 120 companies that actually do things, make things, etc, and I bet the effect on the economy would be a whole lot better for more people.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

On journals

My writing

MAKE magazine asks about how your notebook is organized. First, I pick a journal.

Sometimes I buy a nice journal. This boygirlparty journal is my current one, although it's all pink now because I spilled juice in my bag:

an isbn

but usually I use a simple moleskine :

heart stamp

The journal must have at least some lines, because I like the structure of a lined page. With blank pages, my writing goes all over the place. I may doodle or draw a graph, but since I can't draw, I don't mind the lines. I find graph paper really satisfying sometimes. I like to make little charts using the squares, and of course, that can also serve as lines to direct my writing.

When I actually start to write in my journal, I always date and then start writing. Mostly it's complaining or an extensive list of everything I have accomplished that day. When I was in school, I'd write observations on the lecture that I did not need to memorize for the test, such as how Adlerian therapy could be used in various ways, or to write down books mentioned by the professor. I'll write down story ideas and to do lists. I'll write down quotes, although I do have a special journal for quotes. It's a ringdex- a bunch of index cards connected with a metal ring.

When I'm in the library, I write down the Dewey decimal numbers of the books I am trying to find in my journal. I heard that young folks don't know how to do this, and therefore can't find books in the library.

Anyway, to me, a journal is essential to life. The only problem is what to do with a filled journal. I keep them, but I have so many that space is an issue. I love the tactile feeling of writing on paper, so I'll probably journal forever.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Really, I don't care

I think Hobby Lobby's customer service should have not gone with the we know Christ is the only way to Heaven approach. Why? Because people often go through a great deal of searching and work to find their religious beliefs for themselves. So when you say, Christ is the only way, you seem to be looking down on their religious beliefs, and that feels like an insult to many people.

I understand it can be difficult for those reared in places where religion is a public matter to understand this world view. However, often we must be sensitive to other world views in our customers. Some people see being given a discount as an insult. This is not my world view, but it's an understandable vision of the world that does not in fact harm me. To many, religion is very personal, and telling people what religion they should be is as bad as telling them what sort of underwear they should wear.

Happy Black Girl Day!

It's nice to see a Happy Black Girl contest that is for handmade items! Today, I will praise the creativity of our girls. Our girls are out there creating fashion anew. Folks will say it's too loud, too gaudy, too ghetto, too trashy, unless it is seen on other, paler bodies, then it is fresh, new, a revolution. To that, I say no. It is a fresh revolution on our bodies. Our creativity creates the fashion, creates the dances, creates the recipes, creates the writing, creates the art. Others may be inspired, and their works garner more praise than ours. But I say no. The ones who originate are the creators, the creatives. To them, I light a candle.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Best Forum Trainwreck Ever

Really folks, don't tell us what to do. If I think etsy should fix their technical issues,I'm going to say it, so there.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Handmade Video Ads

I love this Oyin ad. Keep it handmade!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Happy Black Girl

I love our girls. The ones who wave their hands in the air- squealing "Me! Me! I know the answer!" I love the quiet ones, and the loud ones. I love the ones who want so much to be grown. I beg you all not to label them 'fast' and withdraw your protection from them. Outside our protection, there are hungry wolves looking to feed on their bodies and souls, who are focused on that booty in those jeans, not the thoughts and feelings in their heads.

I love the ones who pass notes in class, and those who take notes in class. I love the ones perfecting their dance moves, their poses for their facebook photos, and the ones who are daydreaming of sports glory. I love them all, and their dreams of the women they long to be.

Inspired by L'Elephant Rose.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Beautiful Copyright Infringement

Man, this is what I'm talking about. These game figurines are beautiful! This sort of thing is why I can't really take a strict line on intellectual property. Yes, it's not all her own design, it's inspired by games, but look at the beauty and detail of that art. She has some fanart on her flickr as well.

I just can't think of where the balance needs to fall, so that artists like this can flourish, yet Hot Topic can't go in and grab someone's art without any credit...

Friday, March 05, 2010

What I Think About The Postal Service

People say that private services are better, but give me the post office! Why? The post office is cheaper for many items. People may complain about $2 jewelry shipping[it costs me $1.50 to pay the postage, and .50 cents is added since packaging isn't free], but if they paid fed ex or ups prices[$5 and up!], they'd be screaming for my blood! USPS also has media mail, which means I can ship books and DVDs for cheap, even if it takes a little bit more time. And the mail service helps me with the fact that I'm old school and prefer my netflix through the mail. People complain about the OMG GOVT running a postal service, but many private businesses rely on its reliability and cheap cost. The postal service is an important public good, and I'm all for it.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The End of An Era

Beadbabe is closing. I wish Bill well in his struggle against cancer.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Shame on Hot Topic.

They're using Kawaii Not's artwork without her permission. Buy from her, not those vampires! I'm of two minds about artist protection. On one hand, I'm all for fan art and fanfic. But on the other hand, I don't want people making cash not crediting, not sharing the profit, just acting like they came up with the idea all by themselves and getting rich off of other people.

A Peeve

This shirt peeves me. The rest of the designs are about actual grammatical or word use errors, but this is just bagging on people's accents.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I love soap

I was a bit nervous buying soap from a seller I hadn't bought from before, but I really enjoyed this cinnabun soap. It took a little time to receive, but I received a bar that is huge[it barely fits in my hand], and was packaged very nicely. Very good in shower scent, and it leaves sort of a 'dark' musky aftersmell. I like it, as it's very unisex, even though it has a hint of sugar, it's still quite masculine. The lather is good, not excessive, and the bar itself has a nice graininess to it that is very appealing to the skin. I am also softer, which I also prize in a soap. Top marks to the maker. I think this bar will last a long time too!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Day Old Bread

Apparently, where people need day old bread, they can't get it. That reminds me that today on freecycle, I saw a strange offer. UNOPENED Walmart Cake. If you had a car, and a computer, you could get a whole free cake. I think we'll probably regress to more of this. Baby showers where instead of new boxes and bags, there will be bags of hand me downs, more potlucks, more people eating bread made with homemade zucchini. Live small.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

For you who feel alone

I'd like to say something. For all of you who feel alone, remember, the other half you have been searching for was in you all alone. Even if you eat your chocolate alone, for you to eat that chocolate, hundreds have labored in the fields for the sugar, for the cacao beans, in the diary farms for the milk. To make the chocolate, there was a factory or a kitchen, with people working hard to form the chocolate into a shape, to put the raw ingredients together with the help of machines or by hand. Thousands of truck drivers drove thousands of miles to put it on the shelf. There are stockers, and cashiers to help too. Even the simple act of eating chocolate is a connection to many other beings, from cow to cashier.

Every day, you're connected to the rest of the earth, and to the rest of the people. I hope my words reach you, and comfort you.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Love Your Body

This probably has been linked before, but I'll link it again- The BMI project. Love your body. You live in it. It is what you walk with, what you sing with, what you cook with, what you hug with. Love it! You can't hate yourself for your own good. Love yourself.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

It's Time for Radical Self Love!

an isbn

It's time for us to love ourselves. To stop putting our hopes and dreams and good feelings on the back burner until we find 'the one' or until 'the kids are a bit older' or until 'we lose five pounds', and start loving ourselves now, without waiting for society or other people to put a stamp on us that says 'worthy'.

Yes, that's much harder done than said. The picture is boygirlparty's journal. It has blank, lined and graph papered pages! While I usually don't recommend buying things to make you feel better, having a new journal has given me a little lift.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Love LikeThat

a manga bookcase

My dad made a bookcase for my manga. It was truly a labor of love. With handmade things, you can see the energy that went into it. I jokingly tell my dad that when he retires he should become a bookcase seller. I didn't know this before, but almost all of the bookshelves in our house are ones that he built.

There's something wonderful in a useful craft- canning food, building things, working on cars... It's nice to connect to the physicality of the world- and have something you can enjoy for years to come.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Employees, Consumers Deplore Waste

Bookstores toss resources, bad books out of the door. Yes, tearing off the covers and dumping is an old industry practice, but with the dwindling amount of natural resources, some carefulness is warranted.

I read this book, Affluenza, and it was a really flawed look at American excess. - They say you don't need a computer! But they forget many jobs don't take paper applications, and that with all the school work your child is doing using computers nowadays, you'll need to drive your OMG WASTEFUL car to the library so they can have access. And of course, the cure for American excess is to conspiciously consume 'green' items, and to be an edgy Adbusters lover. They of course also lack a real class or racial analysis of the issue, and are the sorts who complain about our kids playing violent video games, when common sense would tell you that children should play kids games like Cooking Mama or Mario and only adults should play violent video games.

I think a lot of our excess can be pared down by sharing and recycling. I just gave a woman tons of old manga from the 90s. I gained more space, and the woman gained some enjoyment for her child. Win-win.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Why You Won't See Haiti Listing In My Shop

It's actually pretty simple. If you spent $25 in my shop, and I gave $15 to Haiti, truly, it's just not very efficient. You could have just gone to amazon and gave a whole $25 to the Mercy Corps or gone to the Red Cross and given your entire $25 to them. Having me as the middle man weakens your contribution. Not to mention, I would personally give to established charities- even Wyclef Jean's Yele has come under scrutiny for personal enrichment off charity, and random etsy sellers are actually much less transparent than that. I think a recurring gift might be best, because months and months on, charities will still be helping people recover from the quake.

I don't believe in the awareness model. People don't care if we're 'aware', they care if we're actually helping them.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

I don't care about all natural

People can say anything is 'natural' and just because it might be doesn't make it better. In a soap, I'm looking for hardness[is it hard? does it get all goopy in the shower?], shower fragrance[does it smell good in shower?], out of shower fragrance[does it smell good on skin?], and moisturizing and skin feel[does it make my skin feel soft? does it have ripples that feel good on skin?] I tend to gravitate away from flower scents, and towards unisex.

Note that no where on this list- which is quite extensive for a layperson, is 'naturalness'

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

We're Wasting Supplies

H&M; Walmart waste clothing. We also have so much old clothing in the US that we've destroyed some African clothing markets because we dump our stuff there. I think soon we will have to learn to reuse things, and maybe stores could tighten inventory. Just dumping useable cloth is not the way to go.