Friday, April 30, 2010

The book giveaway winner is...

Comment #22 who turns out to be: Lesley of Smidgebox!

Congratulations! And thank you to everyone who entered, I truly appreciate you taking the time to read my blog post and I loved reading all your wonderful comments. I hope you will find a way to check out Kari's book soon. It's a great resource, like having a friend in your book bag who knows all about running your crafty business :)

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Handmade Marketplace Book Giveaway!

When I first opened my shop on Etsy in 2006, a kind person name Kari Chapin contacted me. She was a crafter living in Massachusetts and was eager to meet other like-minded folk. It's hard to believe now with Twitter and Flickr and Facebook connecting us all, but at the beginning we were all isolated crafters hungry for interaction with others like us. Little did I know that connection with Kari would have such an impact on my creative life and business!

This year she published a fantastic book! It's called The Handmade Marketplace. It's an inclusive guide to selling your crafts locally, globally and online. While she was writing it, Kari contacted a diverse group of crafters, bloggers, podcasters, etc. and dubbed them her Creative Collective. I am very honored to be included in this group! The advice from the Collective is sprinkled throughout the book in friendly conversation blocks. This style makes the information accessible and not daunting as the whole subject can sometimes feel.

Dell took me to Barnes & Noble to see it when the book got published:

It was incredibly exciting to see a book with my friend's name on the jacket!

The whole book stands out to me for its attractive layout and friendly tone. Taking the step to sell what you love making can be very intimidating! It feels like there's so much to learn and so many people who are already ahead of you in the game. I think if you read this book you will discover that it is all within your reach. This book is like a friendly mentor taking your hand, giving you important information about running a business while encouraging you to follow your dreams. This makes sense because that mentor is exactly who Kari Chapin is!

Kari selected four members of her Collective to participate in a panel discussion that Etsy hosted at its Brooklyn headquarters on April 1st, 2010. I got to spend a day with Kari and meet other creatives with whom I instantly bonded.

From left to right: Jennifer Judd-McGee, Betsy Cross, Kari, me, and Kim Werker.

We had a good crowd in-house and the discussion was beamed out onto the internets where my husband was able to watch from home and snap this screen shot:

I didn't notice until just now that because it was April Fool's Day, Etsy changed their name to "Esty" (a common mispronunciation) in their banner as a joke, ha! I'm still laughing at the waffles April Fool's gag they did years ago.

Anyway, being in this book has singled me out as a resource, which I love. I'm so grateful I am able to help newbie crafter/sellers get their footing and figure out what's essential to getting their business going. I loved participating in the panel and hearing what people are trying to learn about running a craft business. I am still learning too! The most important thing, in my opinion, is gathering around you a community of like-minded crafters. Just like Kari did 3 1/2 years ago. Thanks Kari ♥

NOW, the Giveaway!
Leave a comment on this blog, whatever moves you; advice, questions, your favorite color cupcake pincushion, anything. Just be sure the comment either links back to you or includes contact info so I can let you know if you are the winner.

I will close commenting on April 30th at noon and use a random number generator to pick one lucky person who will receive a free copy of The Handmade Marketplace! Good luck :)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Blowing Out An Eggshell - Free Tutorial

After my appearance on The Martha Stewart Show I got a lot of questions about how to empty an eggshell. There is more than one method. For example I know the show page suggests using a plastic device made by Blas-Fix designed especially for this. I have never tried it. I have my own quirky method that I have been using for years and years. It works for me and I am not likely to change my ways now! I find that my method keeps the shell from cracking while I am smoothing out the seams between poly clay pieces applied to the surface. If you are curious how I do it, please read on:

1. Purchase pretty eggs at the store. I really do pick my eggs by shape at the grocery!

2. Once I have them home I choose the most pleasingly shaped eggs from the carton and leave them out for an hour or so to warm up a bit. Warmer eggs are much easier to blow out than cold ones.

3. I use this salt and pepper drill from Kemper Tools . This drill has two sizes of drill bits. Using the smaller bit, drill a hole at the top of the egg. You may have to use some pressure to get the drill started but try not to punch a hole all the way through, twist the drill to create the hole.

TIP: Hold the egg up and twist it back and forth a little while positioning the drill to find the true center at the top.

The drill creates a perfectly round hole. It is my theory that having the hole be perfectly round helps the shell maintain its integrity therefore making it less susceptible to cracking later on. In fact if I do crack an egg, it is usually while drilling the hole. In the 15 or 20 years I have been making poly clay eggs I have cracked no more than 4 shells while applying the clay.

4. Using the other end of the Kemper tool, drill a larger hole in the bottom of the egg.

5. Poke a wire (this is an unfolded paper clip) inside to break the membrane around the yolk.

6. Blow! I used to play trumpet so I may have an advantage :) I know it's better not to puff your cheeks out or you will get that soreness up around your ears. You don't have to get all the egg out in one breath. The membrane will probably get caught up in the hole and plug it. You can stop, tilt the egg sideways to clear the blockage, wipe the top hole with a paper towel and continue or...

...if the membrane is already coming out the bottom hole you may have to pinch it and pull it out by hand.

7. Once the shell is empty, under running water, gently twist the drill bit in and out of the holes to clear away any membrane from blocking the holes which would trap water inside and prevent the shell from drying out properly

8. Plug the bottom hole with your finger and run a tiny bead of water into the shell. Shake the water around for a bit to clean it out. Blow the water out and dry the shell with a paper towel.

9. Dry the shells for a few days in an egg carton. Any water trapped in an eggshell will ruin your poly clay application.

That's it! Cheers :)