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Archive for April, 2012

Maybe you’ve gotten wind of the newest batch of drama. Here’s some recommended reading:

http://www.etsy.com/blog/news/2012/defining-handmade-on-etsy/

http://www.etsy.com/blog/news/2012/notes-from-chad-6/

The three links below are of particular interest if you’d like to read about how specific sellers have been treated by Etsy:

http://blogs.houstonpress.com/artattack/2012/01/etsy_closes_azreals_accomplice.php

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304299304577349731690704306.html

http://www.regretsy.com/2012/04/21/the-etsy-featured-reseller-ecologica-malibu/

And just in case you haven’t read Etsy’s mission statement lately: http://www.etsy.com/about

Or, if you want a summary with my own take on it, keep reading. If you like any of the photos included in this post, please click on them and have a look: they’re all linked to the nifty handmade items I’ve found on Etsy… genuinely handmade items I like and appreciate having easy access to on one shopping site.

People are upset because they feel Etsy has betrayed their own purpose by stretching the rules and redefining “handmade” to allow resellers of mass produced items to be an accepted part of the handmade category. Etsy would really love it if the entire handmade community would welcome them with open arms and without any whining, thanks. Sure, these items are technically handmade – someone made them – but I believe the real issue lies in the fact that some shop owners quite apparently didn’t make those items themselves, that they physically could not have made the sheer number of items they list (in the handmade category) all by their lonesome. I understand why some people are so outraged, but by the same token, I don’t entirely share in their angst – mainly because I haven’t grown attached enough to Etsy to get all lathered up about the decisions made by those pseudo-hipsters in their corporate offices. I mean, it isn’t like we didn’t see this coming.

 Let’s talk about the term “community”. Etsy really likes that one and uses it every chance they get. To me, the word “community” is nothing more than an implication that I’ll eventually be asked to fork over a chunk of my flesh in exchange for being accepted by that community. (I’m not much of a team player, obviously.) For example, do I want to be part of a community of people who glue glitter and rhinestones on garbage and call it “upcycled” or “repurposed” and slap a $300 price tag on it? Jokes about having an etsy shop have made their way onto network TV sitcoms, if that tells you anything of the general public’s opinion about that. But seriously, is the existence of that glittery $300 garbage, or the seller who imports similar garbage and sells it on Etsy, affecting anyone in any measurable way? Maybe, maybe not. It really comes down to the point that these authentically handmade items, hideous or not, deserve to be the stars of the show. That’s why these artisans chose to peddle their wares on Etsy in the first place. Potential buyers shouldn’t be forced to slog through thousands of cheap Alibaba products to find them. And if the buyer wants both types of items, it should be very clear which is which.

What I’ve gathered over these last several days of reading is that it isn’t only about how it may affect one’s pocketbook, it’s as much about Etsy members who feel strongly about the handmade principle. Some people see Etsy as not just a sales venue, but as a lifestyle – so this is insulting and threatening to them. On the other hand, if the consumer is truly a purist when it comes to buying “artisan handmade” they’ll do the research and make the right choices. One argument is that the average consumer doesn’t know any better, or can’t tell the difference at first glance, and should be educated. Okay, so who is going to do that? Big business? Fat chance. Etsy IS big business, whether we like it or not. However, I do agree that if Etsy is going to tout the “lovingly created by me with my own two hands at my kitchen table after the kids pass out” bit as the main criteria for listing in the handmade category, then they should be responsible for enforcing it to the letter, no ifs ands or buts.

I think Etsy’s hair splitting and reinventions of the already ambiguous terms of use is what I find the most fault with, just because it annoys the goo out of me. People respond well to consistency and boundaries and they’ve managed to establish neither. (Perhaps Etsy Corporate needs a psychologist on staff to help them through the “clarification” process, and perhaps another professional to help them loosen up their skinny jeans and/or stripey scarves when they impair the flow of oxygen to their brains.) As things stand now, what I see is Etsy putting more effort into coming up with a wide variety of charming disguises to obfuscate the fact that they’re greedy pigs than they are on enforcing the rules they rewrite day after day. I’ve come to realize that you don’t turn an Etsy-sized profit by being transparent and trying to please everyone, so I’ve long since accepted Etsy for what it actually is. Ergo, I feel I’m not in any position to complain too much.

I may have a good solution to this problem, for what it’s worth: If Etsy isn’t going to close down the shops of the resellers and importers of mass produced goods, then why not just create a new main category for them, or give them their own subcategories where they’re pertinent? That way, Etsy gets to keep the sincere cottage crafters that made them what they are, and they also get to keep making the big bucks off of the faceless importers and sellers of mass produced items. Unless I’m missing something important here, I’m pretty sure that a compromise such as this would facilitate less complaining and more selling. Everyone wins, save for those who can’t be made happy no matter what.

The moral of this story is that maybe I have more important things to think about. This Etsy Thing is what most people would consider a “first world problem”.  But some of the changes Etsy has made recently have caused my personal peeves to stick out and grow gnarly hairs, and it’s starting to add up.  I’m reasonable enough to hoof it on out when I can’t stand it anymore. I count myself extremely lucky to have a wonderful clientele base that trusts me and knows they needn’t rely on a middleman like Etsy to buy from me. I realize that many other artisans may not be so lucky, and I certainly wouldn’t fault them for not picking up and leaving.

FYI, there’s a big protest in the works for May 10, and I’m not sure what I’ll do. Will it affect any change? I’ll see how I feel closer to that day.

Thanks so much for reading! If you have any compelling arguments or opinions on this matter, please feel free to share. Maybe you can sway me one way or another. I may be on the fence, but my balance is a little precarious lately…

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ETSY!

Click HERE to visit my shop, or click on the thumbnails for each item.

Green Lake:

Oh, Yes!:

Goody Goody Gumdrops: (I found the prettiest gumdrops at Whole Foods – I couldn’t quite match the colors exactly, so I took a few liberties)

Allrighty, then. It’s time to spend some time with the sweetie and make some more beads. I hope you like what you see! Thanks for checking in.

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PEEP!

Okay, so now you can’t say you haven’t heard a PEEP out of me!

I’m working on everything all at once. I’m in a constant state of overwhelmed these last few months. In just the last two weeks, I’ve gone tackle box hunting, discussed life with a teenager many times over, figured out ways to appease these spoiled cats, finally visited our new Whole Foods, sorted seed beads for hours, visited some chickens (and touched one for the first time in my life), took photos of machinery whose exact purpose I’m still unsure of, made some jewelry, and of course, some beads – but not as many as I would have liked. Thankfully, a couple of major distractions will be dealt with and out of my life very soon. I’ll give you a more in-depth update on all of that later on.

At the moment, I’m working on Etsy listings. They’ll be up and ready for your perusal very soon. Back in a bit!

howzabout a sneak peek before Etsy!?

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I’m alive!

You probably heard about the tornadoes last weekend. Heck, if you live anywhere between Mexico and Wisconsin you were likely exposed to some measure of weather drama. Mr. Sarah made one of his unforgettable pot roasts for dinner on Saturday, and invited my parents and his dad. We knew the PDS (particularly dangerous situation) the weatherfolk predicted was only hours away, and I seemed to be the only one fretting about it. Well, me and the cats. Fred and Mo were all over the place and Nelson hid behind the bed all day. Even with several opportunities to sun himself in front of the open back door, he chose to stay put.

The guys sat around post-roast and watched the Cloud Opera and I asked Mom, “are you worried?” and she scoffed “no”. Mr. Sarah had the same reaction. Whatever. I guess I’m an old lady about the weather. I grew even more concerned when it was reported that the siren test that happens every Saturday at noon was cancelled… in case there was a need for the real thing, nobody would be confused. (In 2002 or 2003 the sirens went off at 2AM-ish in the middle of the week. The first thing I did was look outside, only to find a clear sky… so I thought it would be prudent to call 911 and ask if we were being terrorized or punked. The operator speculated it was just a glitch in the timer, and luckily, he was right.)

Well, the good news is that it fizzled out before it reached us in central OK at about 5am Sunday morning. Not surprising, since the air had cooled significantly enough to reduce the threat. We were expecting enormous hail, at the very least, with dramatic tornadoes at the worst. These were very fast moving midnight storms, which is what made them particularly dangerous – your time to react is cut in half and the ability to see anything coming at you is pretty much non-existant. Unfortunately, those in Woodward (farther northwest OK) were not so lucky roundabout 1AM. I’m not sure they had the opportunity to sound the sirens, it happened so fast. There were several reported fatalities last I heard, and officers were going door to door to check on people. Scary stuff.

image lifted from thelostogle.com

KFOR’s head meteorologist Mike Morgan said of the tornadoes early Sunday morning: “They’ve moved off into Kansas… and they can HAVE ’em.” I thought that was funny, and perfect fodder for people who are easily offended. And I never knew this – his wacky ties are the town talk. The one he’s wearing in this shot is supposedly Beadazzled. I don’t normally watch KFOR, mainly because I can’t tolerate their preachy Republican-ness. But Saturday, I knew I could tolerate KOCO’s nonstop “we’re keeping you SAFE and INFORMED, dammit!” even less. Excessive coverage can’t keep us safe from tornadoes or apartment fires or tankers crashing on the interstate. It only annoys us.

I hope everyone is all right…

In other news, you can find a little blurb about me and my beads in the May issue of Soda Lime Times. For those who don’t know, SLT is an inbox magazine for lampworkers and lampwork admirers. It’s $4.95 per issue for monthly subscribers, and I think it’s $6.95 for one time purchases of your favorite issue. And by the way, each issue contains a good amount of content for that price, and NO PAPER! Woohoo!

Etsy isn’t looking like a possibility this week. I’m working on orders and sorting seed beads and helping a few friends with some various projects. I haven’t even had a chance to open the new box of glass that was delivered earlier today. I finally got a new bottle of etching fluid – the stuff that makes glass frosty instead of shiny. I can’t believe that stuff was $50. Sure, it lasts years, but sheesh. I know it didn’t cost that much the first time I bought it, because at that price and at that moment in time, I surely would have done without it. I guess I ought to go see if it has spilled all over everything in the box.

See you next time, thanks for checking in!

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ETSY!

And maybe with a few minutes to spare before midnight!

Click HERE to visit my shop, or the thumbnails below for each listing.

 

Aphid Cafe:

Egg Basket:

Ladybug Pashmina:

Ming Palace:

Silk And Steel:

Another big rumble of thunder (and Mr. Sarah) tells me I ought to turn the computer off… enjoy the beads, and thanks for looking!

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I’m on it!

These last couple of weeks, I’ve rearranged the bead cave storage situation, retired a notebook, got three inches of hair cut off, painted my kitchen, and made an overflowing handful of beads that you’ll see on Etsy a bit later. I’ve been struggling with dark clouds all day, but eventually got some decent bead photos, thanks to the evening sun peeking through the storm clouds. Not all of them are great, but they’re at least passable. Tomorrow, we expect tornadoes and other sorts of terror to descend from the sky, for sure, but today, even with a “slight risk” we’re already on the alert. So goes April in Oklahoma, and May is even worse. Thing is, if you want rain in April for your roses in May, you’re forced to endure the destruction that often tags along. But with such a warm winter and rainy March, the roses are already blooming.

So! I need to get cracking on the Etsy stuff… here’s a sneak peek:

I’ll be back later with the new stuff! It may be late-late, but I’m not stopping until I get it done. Even if it means working until well after midnight. I shall return…

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Projects!

I haven’t been moping around. Nope to the mope. The big box home improvement stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot’s sales are up 40% this spring. I never would have thought I’d be getting in on that.

Mr. Sarah sensed that my stress level is at an all time high. After I attended yet another funeral on Saturday, he got me inspired to paint the kitchen with him when I got home. Painting is a huge pain in the ass and it takes forever, but it’s worth it. Unlike many couples, we enjoy doing this sort of thing together. It isn’t completely finished yet, but here is the little cove in our kitchen. That’s the only part that will be red, the remainder is a bright cheery yellow with white trim. The same yellow as before, actually, since Mr. Sarah insisted on yellow again. I’m quite certain it’s exactly the same color, and he complimented me on my eye for that sort of thing.

 

See that red bar across the door there? That’s what got us on this roll, several weeks ago. We decided to tighten up our home security and dad brought over a big 2×4 and he and Mr. Sarah installed it. Mr. Sarah found a little can of red paint in the basement and painted the bar. (That was the same day I was inspired to paint the peg board over my bench.) We also painted the outside of the door red. That was an adventure. Since it was indoor paint, we had to seal it with something. He thought clear spray sealant would be good – I didn’t agree, but I let him do it anyway. It looked, well, spray painted. I talked him into getting some paint on varnish, so back to Lowe’s we went. We got it home and used it and it smelled just like the stuff my dad used to seal up his oil paintings. I hadn’t smelled that smell since I as about 4 or 5 years old, and it made me think of myself at that age – sad and serious. The cats had been locked up all day, and Nelson, who is hopelessly obsessed with craneflies, snuck out, spotted one of those little buzzers in the doorframe, went straight over to the newly painted door and proceeded to pounce a patch of dried, crumbled paint from the drop cloth onto the still wet varnish. He also managed to deposit a nice tuft of stripey cat hair next to the perfectly preserved gnats. The fact that the varnish has the distinct odor similar to that of overripe bananas, the presence of the gnats doesn’t surprise me one bit. We rather like them, they add character.

We had already cleaned out the basement days earlier – we shoveled up about three inches of heavy red clay off of the floor, hauled two dead hot water tanks up the basement steps, out the back door, down the deck steps, and after a couple of sharp turns, down more steps into the street and all the way into the front yard. It was grueling. We were completely covered in mud for about 6 hours. I had to constantly mop the floor and wipe down the walls to keep the dense mud from staining everything in the kitchen. But those hot water tanks were gone in less than two hours. We hauled out piles of debris that was there when we moved in, piles that happened to be covering a drain in the floor that we never knew about. Fantastic. I hate basements. When we buy a house, there will NOT be a basement in it. And if there is, we’re filling it with cement. This one floods every time it rains hard, thanks to the high water table and the sad state of affairs that is the foundation of my house. So, the next time it rained, it was just a little bit of standing water that dried right up, rather than a torrential flood that we had to pump out. All that crap that had been on the floor was bringing the laws of physics to bear – causing the water to be deeper than it would have been otherwise.

You might wonder why we live in a place where we have to bar the door and has a floody basement? The rent is crazy cheap for the amount of space we have, nobody bothers us (including our landlord). If you’ve ever lived in a rent house, you’ve likely had the same thoughts we have – why invest time and money in something you know you can’t keep? We feel like if we’re going to live here, and we plan to stay a while longer, we might as well make it more liveable. In this case, we’ve lived here a long time, and it didn’t get painted before we moved in. In fact, the previous tenants told us they hadn’t been painted for, either. That was fine with us. Most landlords go over the whole place with a bucket of stark white fast hide between each tenant, and if you’re a horrible landlord, you’re going to go through a whole lot of paint. We’ve looked at potential rent houses that had so many layers of white paint on the walls that it took about three inches off the size of the room. We’re comfortable here, and that’s why we stay. I painted our bedroom and the hallway years ago, two different shades of blue, and I believe the bathroom will be next. It’s been an awful, dark cranberry red since we moved in. We’re thinking about a nice medium red lavender instead. We like color! And the nice thing about having a lot of color is that anything goes – decor, art, furniture…

 

Weekend before last, I finally got the big wire rack I’ve been dreaming about for years. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been using my old chest of drawers for my glass storage. That’s worked well until recently – I need another work table and the only place for it was in front of the chest of drawers. I had to move the table out of the way to get access to the drawers, which were so full of glass that they could barely open or close. I’d often have to open at least two of the drawers to find what I needed. No more! I just glance over and see almost every color I own, even with the table still there. Every Effetre opaque red since 1998, every transparent green, every odd lot I love and adore (and use). I collected some milk crates from the junk yard across the street – that’s thankfully no longer a junk yard – and with some PVC inside the milk crates, it can be even better organized. I plan to organize by stock number for each color family. I may have to rearrange my entire collection, but I think it will be fun to do.

I remember the days when all the glass I owned fit into three big Folger’s coffee cans. Wow.

So, yes, I’ve been busy! And I’ve been making beads, too, so you can expect to see some new stuff this week. Thanks for reading!

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