Archive for the ‘CafePress’ Category

Day One, Season 3

  I chose my “Explosion” piece for today because that’s the kind of excitement I feel starting this new season three. Seasons one and two of Cocreating Our Reality were eye-opening and exciting, and for the last few days I have been building up to starting a new journey today. First, I am so blessed to be retired and able to work on art when and where I want to, for as long as I want to. I get to spend every day with my hubby, and life is pretty much wonderful. Health problems – of course, who doesn’t have them at our age. But – that’s not stopping me from living a great life.

I discovered over the last two seasons when it was time to evaluate my goals, that I hadn’t really stretched myself – or thought big enough. So I have been pondering that for the last week or so. What is it I actually want to do?

First and foremost, kind of came to me last night in the moments before sleep, is probably the one most on my mind. I need to take this season and concentrate on me. It sounds selfish, but it isn’t. I have health issues that really need to be addressed, and for so many years they went to the side as other things – students, work, hubby – took their place. If I expect to be as creative for as long as I want, and get out and be politically active, and write – do all the things I want to – than I need to focus on my health. So that is goal number one for this season: take the cholesterol medicine, take my vitamins, watch what I eat, get out regularly and exercise, track my food intake, get some yoga teachings, get my blood readings where they need to be. I actually started thinking this way a few days ago, and I’m pleased to say the exercise has already increased, as well as having a bit more control over appetite.

A second goal is tied in to all this. I am getting a second opinion on my vision issues and will work to find strategies to help with the depth perception and balance issues. A new doctor’s appointment is scheduled for next week Thursday, and I have a teacher friend to talk to about some basic yoga stretches. I always knew this day was coming, and now that it’s here, I need to learn to work with the new limitations.

Overall, for the first time, these two goals seem very positive. One hundred days from now, March 10, I expect that I will have been enormously successful at these first two. That statement alone is a major change for me. It’s very positive, rather than using the word “try.”

Business-wise I have some very specific goals.

Number three in my list is to solve the newsletter/collectors’ information issue. I am, as was said to a friend of mine, “leaving money on the table.” This has to be a regular business goal. I am considering taking Alyson Stanfield’s “Cultivating Your Collectors” class in February. That will depend on a number of things, primarily finances. I am good at reading and implementing, and since I accomplished four of Alyson’s goals in I’d Rather Be in the Studio!, I should be able to accomplish at least three this new season. So: newsletter, portfolio (which we will need for a major event the end of March), and I will look through the list for at least one other. Newsletter once a month should be definitely do-able. A collectors’ newsletter once a quarter should be reasonable. I’m sure there will be others to add here.

Number four is searching out wholesale suppliers for cutting back basic costs of making marbled fabric. As of yesterday I have a new wholesale account with Kona Bay fabrics, as we use their colored cotton quite successfully. We are looking for wholesale sources for premium white cotton, silk/satin ribbon (like Offray), and probably some other materials.

Number five is ramping up our Etsy shop, our Fine Art America galleries, Cafe Press, and looking in to Red Bubble, Three Sisters, and at least one other online selling site. My overall goal in all this is to be able to update these sites once a week, as well as include items from these sites in our soon-to-happen newsletters. I’ve tried setting monetary goals for Etsy and Ebay, and they are very fickle, depending on the economy. I do tweet my Etsy and Ebay offerings once a week, which certainly drives traffic to the site, but I don’t see it converting. However, I know that it is only a matter of time, as is the case with this blog. I am about to hit 1500 viewers per month, so I know it is consistency. (Concerning the blog…when Facebook changed its latest set of operating, my blog numbers dropped. Turns out, on exploration, Networked Blogs was a casualty and needed to be reactivated. Once that happened, I saw numbers increase again…..I am amazed at how net-savvy we need to be these days!)

Art-wise I also have some very specific goals.

Number six is to enter a major show with new work. The deadline for this is mid-February, and I am already hard at work on the first of two pieces. The fabric has been created, and the ideas are flowing. Here’s just some of the fabric…..

Unpolished red satin

If I get accepted, great. If not, I will have two new lovely large art pieces for our body of work. But I am putting out to the Universe that this will be show-worthy art.

Number seven is to create the kit for Marbled Seasons. Yesterday’s blog post showed the first of the four small quilts/table runners. I used to have several patterns, all of which I sold the rights to. So I just need to make more. For this goal I want this set of kits completed, and two new ideas for pattern kits, plus a rewrite of my Polynomial Quilt pattern – which I used the quilts for that very successfully in an adult algebra class to teach multiplying, and it was highly successful.

Number eight is to be completely prepared – except for minor loose ends – by March 10, for StashFest at the La Conner Quilt Museum in La Conner, Washington. We have been invited to participate, and it means marbling about 400 fat quarters in the next three months…..another reason for looking carefully at wholesale outlets! This is an interesting goal, because after our last guild presentation, I put out to the universe that it would be fun to travel and do demos in the Southern Arizona, southern New Mexico area. Well, two days later I had this email…..as Dale Anne Potter, my muse with Law of Attraction said, I was open to the possibilities.

Number nine will build on the previous. Develop a letter/sample to go to local guilds for demos and classes. I think just the development at this stage, because we will be focused on making fabric for Washington.

Number ten, under the category of Miscellaneous, comes continuing to work on Art From the Heart, a site devoted to spreading peace and nonviolence in the aftermath of the Gabrielle Giffords shooting. We had two new entries this last month, and I am hopeful for more.

Now that I have these written, I have to chuckle in that I was concerned about trying to get my goals coherent for this season. These are more detailed than the past two seasons, and they will certainly stretch me.

So Day One – I’m going to sew, work on some lists, and get ready for a small craft event on Saturday. Plus, it’s the holidays, and I want to “do more good” this year on a daily basis. May you have a really awesome day!

What’s Available This Week

Lots available this week! We’ll start with Ebay:

Silk remnants available – some really nice patterns and colors. Hand-marbled Habotai 8mm silk remnants.  Four pieces in assorted  colors.   Sizes are 8 x 25 and 8 x 26 inches. Designs are Large Feather(Chevron), Freeform, and Stone. All pretreated, heatset,  and preshrunk – ready to go for your project. Perfect for art projects, scrap booking, doll clothes,  embellishment, accessorizing.

Also on Ebay this week:

Hand marbled cotton remnants available – assorted colors and patterns. Thirteen  pieces in assorted colors and designs. The sizes range: 3 x 8, 4 x 8, 6 x 8, and 3 x 17 inches.

On Etsy, a really scrumptious fat quarter of cotton: This fat quarter on Pima cotton is hand-marbled on white pima cotton in a very traditional nonpareil marbling pattern. There is incredible detail to this piece, and it can be used horizontally or vertically, depending on how you want to use the “movement” in the piece. 17 by 21.5 inches. Edges are serged to prevent raveling during the marbling process. Pretreated and heat-set and ready to go for your project. Perfect for piecing, applique, wearable art accents – plenty to think about for projects! This fat quarter on Pima cotton is hand-marbled on white pima cotton in a very traditional nonpareil marbling pattern. There is incredible detail to this piece, and it can be used horizontally or vertically, depending on how you want to use the “movement” in the piece. 17 by 21.5 inches. Edges are serged to prevent raveling during the marbling process. Pretreated and heat-set and ready to go for your project. Perfect for piecing, applique, wearable art accents – plenty to think about for projects!

From Cafe Press, a package of Digital Marbling (TN) postcards, with one of our favorite designs.

We are always open to custom work, so let us know if there’s something you would like, and we’ll see what we can do.

What’s Available This Week

Busy week at the marbling ranch….getting ready for a marbling session tomorrow – lots of leaves for our holiday baskets, new fat quarters, and some ribbon coming. In the meantime, here are some goodies available now in our various shops.

On Ebay this week: some great remnants. These are hand-marbled Kaufman cotton remnants,  fifteen (15) pieces, in  assorted colors and designs.  Sizes are 3×6, 1×9, 8×9, 5×8, 4×15, and 6×17 inches.  All pretreated, heatset,  and preshrunk – ready to go for your project. Perfect for art projects,  scrap booking, quilt blocks, doll clothes,  book marks, embellishment,  accessorizing.

On Etsy this week, a really gorgeous piece of hand-marbled crepe.

Hand-marbled silk crepe fabric in a contemporary wave pattern. Size 10 by 28 inches. Edges are serged solely to prevent raveling. There is so much movement to this piece, and the colors are summer-bright. You can use this for a center medallion, for applique flowers – nice and bright for a basket design! Fabric is pretreated and heat-set – ready to go for your project. Also perfect for ATCs and small art works.

Also on Etsy, a unique table runner, made of a batik that is machine quilted, edges serged, and then woven in strips for this look.

And on Cafe Press this week: our best-selling journal. One of our most favorite Digital Marbling (TN) pieces on the front of a journal. With the increase in personal journals, you owe yourself a great design!

Go ahead and browse – you never know what you’ll find! Start shopping early.

Don’t forget our coming Holiday baskets – perfect for the artist or crafter who needs some unusual goodies. More on this next week.

What’s for Sale This Week –

It’s Thursday, so let’s take a look at what’s available for MarbleT-Design around the web this week.

On Ebay: I love a couple of the pieces this week, and if they don’t sell, well, I’m a gonna quilt ’em. This one is very organic and would be great to quilt. A fat quarter in Halloween colors, looks very much like an actual piece of marble. We are getting MUCH better at creating that pattern!

Also, a great fat quarter in the traditional peacock/bouquet pattern. Some great colors and lots of movement.

On Etsy this week: a gorgeous fat quarter of unpolished white satin – multi-colored with lots of movement to the piece. Satin requires a lot of work – from pretreating to the actual marbling – you have to be very careful about each step or the pattern washes right off the satin. Once it’s heat-set, you’re fine. All our fabrics are heat-set and ready to go for your projects.

On Cafe Press: a cool little magnet, of the traditional pineapple quilt block, made with marbled fabric. Great little gift for yourself and your refrigerator….

And from Zazzle: a piece of artwork created a year or so ago that you can put on any number of cool items. “I’d Rather Be Making Art!” And wouldn’t we all…I gave this mug to a few of my teacher friends who would lament about not having time to make any art during the school year. I’m still trying to figure Zazzle out, so you’ll have to click on the link. It’s so cool that you can customize this item on whatever you would like – different mugs and so forth.

There will be more – we are making fabric each week now that we both have the time and can work together. So check back – or better yet, let us know if there’s a custom product you are interested in.

 

What’s Available This Week….

  Another busy week, and a new marbling session tomorrow – back to creating lots of fat quarters, and I can’t wait. Lots of silk, ribbon, flowers, and FQ’s headed out of the tray in the next few weeks. We have so many loyal Ebay folks, and our Etsy store is beginning to attract a lot of visitors interested in larger pieces of fabric.

Cafe Press is becoming a place for showing our Digital Marbling (TN). The example below is a set of note cards, using the Grand Canyon as the subject. We took a basic piece of marbled fabric and scanned it. Then we worked within Photoshop  to create a really interesting layer to add mood to the primary image. The shot of the Grand Canyon fit the mood of this additional layer. Part of future plans is a gallery of Digital Marbling (TN), and I want to get back to my “Photoshop Fridays” of explaining how some of these prints come to be. The idea came about because some of the pieces of fabric were just too gorgeous to have only one life as a piece of fabric. This set of cards is available for this week; just click the link.

Ebay this week has hand-marbled silk. We LOVE marbling on silk, and now that we’re back to doing bigger pieces, we should have a lot more silk available. These are available till early Sunday morning.

In Etsy this week is another gorgeous piece of silk, a fat quarter with great movement and detail to the piece.

We are slowly building inventory, and we’ve got some ideas for the holidays, so we will keep you posted on what’s new and developing – marbled silk flowers and leaves, scarves, half yards…lots coming ahead. Got ideas? Let us know!

Monday Marketing – Creating a Schedule

It’s Monday again….and it seems like all I did was read, look at emails, and set up buttons and the like. This is the “time-sucker.” So my goal for this blog post is to try and identify what needs to be done each week for marketing and set up a kind of calendar to work with.

This is what I’m dealing with: Ebay, Etsy, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Cafe Press, Zazzle, newsletters, a website, lynda.com, flickr, and a blog. I am trying to avoid doing all of this every day, because nothing else seems to get done. I’m brainstorming as I write, with the hope that by the time this post is done, I will have a plan.

Ebay: hubby handles almost all of this, including postal trips. But…if we are going to increase sales, we need more product, and I would like to help with the actual marbling. So…..marbling weekly. I do need to update the About Me page…..

Etsy: the bulk of the organization is done. But…I need to be adding product on a regular basis, which means I need to keep making things. It would be nice to have one new product up each week, if not more often. One of the goals this week is to add some of the major artwork (even though I don’t expect to sell it on Etsy, it is more exposure) on the site, as the pictures are redone. I want to continue with the circles marketing, which, if I have enough products, could be done every day – 15 minutes for this. Plus, I need to keep working…….

LinkedIn: profile is done, and I have registered for several groups for business. I have found already difficulty in keeping up with reading emails each day from the groups and have already deleted one group. This week I will determine which groups look to be the most advantageous. I also need to complete the setting up of a profile of artwork.

Facebook: I read this several times a day. I have a fan page which needs serious work, as well as Art From The Heart, which is to support healing art after the Tucson shootings in January. I have added FB buttons to my blog and this week to my website. I have read the Terms and looked at all the privacy settings. I also went through the photo stream stuff for FB and fixed photos for both the personal and fan page. I need to really think through what is going to happen with the Fan Page.

Twitter: I am finishing a class from lynda.com on using Facebook and Twitter for business, and I highly recommend the site. For #25 you can choose different trainings all available for a month at your schedule. I picked up all kinds of little tips, most of which have already been implemented. But….and this is a BIG but….the time for tweets and what to tweet. By syncing a lot of the programs, my blog appears on Twitter, FB, LinkedIn, my tweets appear in a couple of places. I don’t think I can go further with this – the tweet button is on the blog and soon to be on the website. This is one area that needs some serious scheduling. Since I use TweetDeck (which is free…), I can schedule and keep track of who’s following and what is getting retweeted. So…I’m going to use Sundays for scheduling business tweets for the week, and I will look through the twitter feed once a day to see if there’s some good stuff to retweet.

Cafe Press: I have a site, a free one, so I am limited as to the number of products I can put up. I haven’t looked at this in several months and it needs serious work. To have a store isn’t much money each month, and I could have a lot more products available, but the issue is marketing and driving people to the site. I have some great digital stuff already to go, and I need to start planning around the holidays, reading about marketing through Cafe Press, and so on.

Zazzle: Ditto for Cafe Press……both are not a high priority right now.

Newsletters: oy, it’s been months since a newsletter went out, and I have all these contacts where nothing is happening. I used Constant Contact last year for a few months, until I couldn’t keep up with the demands and school at the same time. I was happy with it, but disappointed that not many people actually read it. I need to go back to a newsletter and offerings at least once every three weeks, and more during the holiday seasons. I need to check out Mail Chimp, which is free, and I have heard people have good luck with it. I’ll try and make this a priority this week.

Website: Most of the changes to the website have been made by my wonderful web lady Suzan. I need to get a couple of buttons set up, and then do something about newsletters and contacts. I also have some pages to add on Digital Marbling (TN), and I need to evaluate “print on demand” for artwork. This is a “need to think about” topic…..

lynda.com: I have until Friday to finish my month of training. I still need to finish Twitter, and I want to get the html newsletter course done. I am not going to continue with Dreamweaver because it isn’t a priority.

Flickr: I have photos up, not all of them with copyrights, and there is a class on lynda.com if I have time. I’m not really sure what I want to do here….

And finally, my blog, Marbled Musings. I went a bunch of months with no new writing, and I’m at maybe three times a week. I need to get back to at least four times a week, and eventually every day. I have plenty to write about…and I need to stay up with my Google reader – as well as comment more on some of the posts. This is probably the biggest area for marketing that I have to schedule.

Weekly:

* Marbling fabric

* Work on Etsy products

* Sewing and other design

Mondays:

* Add Etsy product

* Add Etsy circle information

* Read newsletters from LinkedIn groups

* Read Twitter feed

* Blog post Monday Marketing

* Google reader and at least three comments

Tuesdays:

* Add Etsy circle information

* Read Twitter feed

* Blog post Top Ten Tuesday

* Google reader and at least three comments

Wednesdays:

* Add Etsy circle information

* Read newsletters from LinkedIn groups

* Read Twitter feed

* Blog Work in progress Wednesday

* Google reader and at least three comments

Thursday:

* Add Etsy circle information

* Read Twitter feed

* Blog – Thursday Thoughts

* Google reader and at least three comments

Fridays:

* Add Etsy circle information

* Read newsletters from LinkedIn groups

* Read Twitter feed

* Blog Photoshop Friday

* Google reader and at least three comments

Saturdays:

* Read Twitter feed

* Blog posting on Specials

* Google reader and at least three comments

Sundays:

* Read Twitter feed

* Schedule Tweets for the week (i.e. Etsy, Ebay…)

* Blog Sunday Stories

* Google reader and at least three comments

Goals for next week:

* FINISH LYNDA.COM

*Update “About Me” page on Ebay

* Update Etsy products, especially note cards

* Evaluate how calendar is working

* See if buttons are added to the website

* Decisions on what will happen with the Facebook Fan page

* Long-term thoughts – what to do with CafePress and Zazzle

* Read and decide about Mail Chimp for a newsletter

* Spend some time thinking about what the website still needs….

Okay, I think I have a handle on this…we’ll see next week as I evaluate how the week goes. And…I’m taking some online classes!

Thoughts??

Monday Marketing – How’m I doin’?


Two more days of school, and then summer vacation starts, which isn’t always as productive as I would like. I usually get really ambitious right before school starts again. But this spring and summer look to be a “new leaf.” Since I started in March, and then took the blogging course in April, I have been extremely productive. Let’s go back to March….and then this post.

Website has been mostly updated – still need to get the new pages up and the links checked (which I’ve done on my school page…)

CafePress and Etsy? Way more thinking than doing, but I am getting a lot closer….

Shutterfly and iBook – not there yet.

Art shows – entered (and was accepted) at one, awaiting the results on another.

Garden Fantasy work is coming along nicely, as is general digital marbling – at least three new good pieces.

Trade name finally done and OURS!

And…we took a marbling class and have improved our production techniques. So overall these two months have been excellent. Now for my goals for next week:

Get Etsy shop operating.
Set a calendar of blog topics.
Order tote bag from Vista Print to see what it’s like.
Watch at least three tutorials from Photoshop (NAPP) on blending and masking – a really weak area.
Get entry ready to be mailed to Alaska.

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