Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday/Cyber Monday ... and Tuesday!

Running late as usual, seems to be a theme with me lately. Couldn't drag myself to the computer after eating turkey yesterday to post my Thanksgiving weekend sale so here it is.

10% off in both my shops.
Etsy Shop
Please use this coupon code at checkout, BLOG2010THX
Yes, Etsy has the coupon feature now!

Artfire Shop
Please use this coupon code at checkout, BLOG2010THX

Giveaway Item

And since the Fire Divas just did a breast cancer research promotion I thought it would be nice to do a pink heart for the giveaway. Everyone on my mailing list has a chance to win this beauty! Sign up in the right column of this blog...there's still time. A winner will be chosen next week after the sale is over.

Here's the list of Fire Divas current sales too.

Karen - Friday - Tuesday, 10% off in both shops, and

Holly - 20% off my shop or Artfire shop or my Etsy - use coupon code THANKFUL upon check out. Addition savings for fans.

Lori - 10% off my Etsy and ArtFire shops from Friday to Monday

Kathleen -10% off

Sonja-10% off and

Lara - 10% off at Artfire and Etsy + free shipping

Janel 20% off at Etsy from Friday to Monday

Patrice - 20% off my ArtFire shop: : Use coupon "FIREDIVASTHANKSGIVING2010"

Barb - 15% off on my AF shop from Friday-monday

Melanie - 20% off on ArtFire or Etsy

Amy 20% off on ArtFire shop coupon code TURKEY:

Theresa - Free shipping on all items in my Artfire shop until Monday:

Lea - 20% off my Artfire and Etsy from Friday to Monday - use coupon code HAPPYTHANKSGIVING upon check out.

More goodies coming soon...but running late for work now......poof!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bug Bitten

I've been bitten by a new bug! More like a few bugs that go hand-n-hand. This coming Feb it will be 3 years (yeah I know it's embarrassing) since I bought an electroforming kit. I had the solution and everything needed to play with it but just never got around to it. Not surprising since I once kept an unfinished macrame wall project almost 20 years, lol. Hey...those wooden beads I salvaged from it are vintage now!

Anyway, this electroforming stuff is pretty cool! It is like electroplating except it deposits a heavier layer of metal on the pieces you have in the solution. Once they come out of the chemical bath you can patina them to different colors using homemade recipes or pre-mixed ones.

I've always loved the green weathered look copper gets when exposed to the elements. There is a copper domed roof on a church in Grand Rapids, MI that you can see from the highway... I just love the color of it. Last time I drove past it they were putting a new roof on it, it was bright and shiny again.

This process adds all kinds of possibilities for my glass work. Some of the above pieces came from nature like the mini pine cones, twig, acorns, and leaf. The ones in the photo are in various stages or being patina-ed or sealed to hold the color of the patina. Having a blast finding things to use.

Trying to decide to what to use for the blog giveaway, glass or metal? I'm way overdue for a drawing so stayed tuned to see what it will be.

Thursday, July 22, 2010



From now until the end of the month, if you spend $25 on glass or jewelry items in my etsy shop you will get a Free Heart Pendant Bead ($12-$15 value) sent along with your order!

You will also get to pick the heart you want from this page, on a first come first served basis! Please put your first 3-5 choices in "notes to seller" during checkout. I will make more if needed.

The Catch.....
I will be without computer access from Thurs. July 22 - Aug. 1st. , all packages will ship after Aug. 1st. I appreciate your support and hate to close the shop (or have my family take care of it ) and hope you like this special as a way of saying thanks for your patience and understanding. ;-)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Three Winners!

New bead in my etsy shop.

The three lucky winners have been randomly chosen to receive one of the heart beads shown in the previous post. Their initials are L.S., C.F., and D.L. Congratulations!

Plan to do another drawing mid August, so keep your fingers crossed...the next winner could be you!

Have a Fantastic Day!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I Heart You

Ahhh... once again I can't believe it has been over 3 months since I have updated this blog. No wonder my "hits" on it are down, lol. Never claimed to be any good at this blogging thing, just trying to go with the internet social flow.

With summer in full swing I find myself torn between projects, routine chores, and the stuff you can only accomplish during the warm months up here. Sometimes feel like I'm failing at it all miserably. My gardens needs help.... serious HELP. Mom still needs the jewelry I promised to make for her birthday/anniversary (March/April) gift. She should have never said "No hurry, I know you're busy." Only when she recently asked specifically for them did I manage to get a pair of navy blue and white earrings made to match a shirt she wanted to wear this summer. I know I'm not alone, most everyone talks or writes about how busy they are this summer.

Since I haven't done a free bead drawing in so long I'm going to pick 3 winners this time to cover May, June, and July. I made 25 hearts yesterday, the winners will get to pick the one they want. You are automatically entered if you subscribe to my Glassbits Newsletter. Winners will be randomly chosen tonight. After 2 weeks if I don't hear back from them with a shipping address a new winner is drawn.

You still have time to enter by signing up for my newsletter using the form in the right column. People on my mailing list also receive other perks like special discounts and advance notice of sales. And of course, I don't spam your inbox daily or evenly weekly with it. I'm lucky to get it out every 60-90 days.

Hope you all have a great summer and take some time to kick back and enjoy a cold beverage. I know I am as soon as I finish reupholstering those foot stools and moving the rocks back into the garden. =)

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

And the Winner is...

Today was numbers day again. Usually I ask a family member to pick one between and x and x. When googling "random number picker" this site came up, now bookmarked for future use.

It was also used to pick the winner of the April Spring Flowers bead drawing, which is Debbie Stokes. Congratulations! She has a couple weeks to claim her gift or another winner will be chosen.

Just a picture of a big hole bead I made recently. I like the simplicity of if it as I can sometimes overwork a bead until it is as busy as a Chicago highway during rush hour. And I believe every blog post should have a pretty in it.

Happy beading until next time!

Friday, April 02, 2010

April Flowers Bead Drawing

Win this Pendant Bead!

Spring is here, time for a spring flower freebie. This handmade lampwork pendant bead would make a sweet focal surround by pink and blue accent beads. It is also just the right size for a key chain or purse charm.

If you want a chance to win this beauty all you need to do is sign up using the box on the right. I promise not to flood your inbox, usually just zero to 2 times a month at the most. Every person on my mailing list has a chance to win. The drawing will be April 6th (my folks anniversary). The winner will be announced here (initials only at first), then contacted for their shipping address and permission to use their name on this blog. If no reply is received in 2 weeks then another winner will be chosen.

Have a Beautiful Spring Day!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring Is Here!

Spring is my favorite time of year, always has been. Maybe because the snow is finally gone or at least on its way out for good. Or maybe because new life starts to spout out of the ground. Not sure, just know I love the energy it gives to both the landscape and myself. Makes me feel young.

Guess that little pedestal I got from Hobby Lobby couldn't handle all that energy, it was fine a couple weeks ago when we still had snow on the ground. Wonder if the MI glass girls want to try making some Hypertufa stuff. Bet a pedestal made of that would hold up year after year. I used to spend an enormous amount of time in our yard working on my gardens. Now a days, not so much.

I freecycled the veggie garden's fence just to get help pulling it out. Still need to get that spot cleaned up and spread some grass seed over it. That leaves me with 4 other garden areas and the plantings around the house to care for. They mostly look like crap now, especially the back of the house where we had a tractor pull out 6 tall overgrown shrubs. That was about a year ago. Think DH is waiting for me to get sick of the mess and fix it, hope he's not holding his breath, lol.

If you are checking into my blog to see what the next newsletter giveaway is going to be I haven't decided yet. I'm thinking flowers, just seems like the thing to do this time of year. Of course I'll post it up here once I decide.

I also have a couple of glass "science projects" rolling around in my head, (scary). They both involve power tools, chemicals, fire, and trial and error. If anything becomes of them I'll blog it. Don't worry, my science projects aren't near as toxic as the ones we find in our daughter's bedroom. Hear my torch calling me, have to run. ;-)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Mailing List Management & Software

If you've been selling your wares online for any length if time you should have a mailing list. If not you're missing out on potential sales. It is a way to keep in touch with your repeat customers and build your client base for custom orders.

What you should consider with your email/newsletter.
  • Frequency: Don't send it too often. No one likes their inbox bombarded every day or two by the same person or company! Once or twice a month is enough.
  • Layout: Make it interesting and pleasing to the eye, add only a few pictures to keep loading times to a minimum.
  • Offers: Grow your list by offering a giveaway, free shipping, or special sale on a regular basis.
  • Permission: Never, I repeat never add past customers without their permission. Doing so and making them opt-out is rude and unprofessional. Use sign-up forms on your website, blog, and emails instead.
  • Keep it simple: People are more liking to actually read what you write if you keep it simple. Everyone's busy and in a hurry these days so make it a quick read for them.
Like many of us I started my email list using my computer's regular pop mail program. It didn't take long to outgrow it. I needed to find and pay for a program to manage my list. I've been using the same one for the last couple of years. It does what most of them do. You can create separate lists, track messages, create messages with design content, send test emails, etc.

The cost of this service was $10 monthly. The thing that bothered me, there were some months I didn't use it at all, just overlooked it or was too busy. And now I'm close to having to upgrade my account to the next level for the amount of subscribers I have which will up the monthly bill to $15. So just like car insurance it pays to shop around. I found another service that will handle twice the amount of emails for half (yes, 1/2) the cost. I should explain that my new service is based on emails sent out monthly where the old one was based on total subscribers.

And they offer a 15% discount (use code 264XUF) to boot! So if you think you're paying more than you should for your mailing list service please check this place out, You'll save an extra 15% over their already fantastic value. The pro account is 500 emails monthly for $3.75 , the pro plus is 500 emails monthly for $5.00. The next level includes 2,500 emails monthly, pro $7.50, pro plus $10.00. Don't ya just love finding a great deal!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Shop Update Today!

Just a quick post today to show some of the bright beads I put up today. Don't know about you but I'm ready and waiting for spring!

It's my husband's birthday today, we're going to see Avatar tonight. Have to get going, have 3 people asking me stuff at once, lol.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Hi, My Name is Karen & I'm an Over-Packer

Remember the line in the out-takes of the movie "Liar Liar" with Jim Carrey when an actress improvises and calls him an "Over Actor"? It's hilarious because he didn't see it coming. Quite often I think of that scene when I'm packing my wares for travel via the US Post Office. I tend go a little overboard.

See the small white bundle below by the 3" yellow candle holder? It is three bead listings wrapped separately in foam padding and then wrapped together with another piece of foam. The 4" box on the postal scale above has one 7 x 13 mm bead in it, wrapped in foam sitting in a bunch of packing peanuts. The box weighs in at 2.6 oz. (an empty box weighs 1.8 oz.).

Of course, all this isn't really necessary to get a few beads safely to their destination.

Or is it?

Many years ago I had safely padded, bubble wrapped and shipped some earrings in a padded envelope only to find out later the post office had destroyed them somehow. Haven't used a padded envelope since. Call me paranoid, it fits.

Here's another order going out in the morning. It consists of a bundle of beads, one 4"-5" votive candle holder, and three tea light candle holders. The unwrapped yellow piece is to show how much bubble wrap is on the other tea light holders. You'll also notice the top, bottom and sides of the box are lined with 1" styrofoam pads. Had the styrofoam (and the 16" x 12" x 12" boxes) here because they're the perfect size for shipping my oak bead displays in.

Here's a picture after packing peanuts were added along with the bundles of glass goodies. Yes, I added some peanuts to the bottom of the box first. Used to order from a large well known glass company and they would put your goods in the bottom of the box and pour the packing peanuts just on the top. DUH???

Ready for the packing list and business cards before sealing it up with way too much tape. ;-)   The styrofoam pads add extra support if heavy boxes are set on top of it during transit. They also keep the box from collapsing if the postal workers abuse the heck out of it. I've heard you should never mark a package "fragile" since it might be too much temptation for bored workers to resist.

A few other things I've learned about shipping your goods.
Paying extra for insurance is more about peace of mind than actually being able to collect on a claim if needed.

I once shipped two 18" bisque-ware molds from MI to CA. I had taken the time to open each box they came in and wrap them with several extra layers of bubble wrap. Then the two boxes were taped together and wrapped again more layers before going into a huge box with padding. One of the molds was broken by the time they reached CA. I went to the UPS shipper I used to file a claim. The claim had to go through the account holder with UPS which was a local drug store. They said UPS would pick up the package and the packing materials for review. I emailed my customer who was an online friend and asked her to set everything out for them since she would be at work when they came to pick it up.

UPS denied the claim due to "insufficient packing". Later I found out UPS had only picked up the small box the mold came in, not the huge box it was shipped in or the packing/padding materials. I was pissed, how could they review my packing job fairly when the UPS guy only took 1/4 of the stuff back with him. The owner/pharmacist of the drug store was there when I went back to explain this to the clerk and said he would cover it. A few days later I had a check and refunded my customer.

I usually ship via the US Post Office and used UPS for these molds because of their $100 of insurance coverage, and the rate was cheaper on such a large box going to CA. The Post Office has broken things too so it really doesn't matter which one you use.

The way I see it, over-packing is my best option for hassle free safe arrival. Being a little paranoid, sometimes I document how an item was packed up just in case. LOL, your looking at it now!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Just a few hours left to save 20%

My 20% OFF SALE is winding down! Save on my lampwork beads and pendants. Shop and Save for your spring beads.

When the sale is over I still have to edit all the listings back to their original prices. The sale prices are good until I have the time to edit them all. That could takes hours since there's quite a few of them to do. Why not hurry and save while you can?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sale Time Again?

The Fire Divas are having a sale to celebrate our new team status on Etsy. Individual team members will be offering a variety of discounts or free shipping from their shops. The sale runs from February 11- 17.

I've included all my loose beads, sets, and pendants in this sale. Stayed up till the wee hours of the morning editing my listings to show the 20% Off sale price and the original price. Don't miss this one, might be awhile before I do another sale.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Last Day for my BOGO Sale!

This is the last day of my BOGO Sale! Really loving the look of the barrel pandora bead above and think I see a series of them in different colors in my future.

Here's another design I'm partial to and works well with organic earthy beads.

Another side wrapped bead with brighter colors. These are a great way to showcase contrasting colors.

The Bogo sale runs till midnight, maybe longer if I crash before then. In that case I'll honor the buy one get one 1/2 half until I edit out the sale info from shop announcement.

In a previous post I talked about Tanya needing an operation to save her life. Her insurance company denied it, the funds were raised by the caring online community of artists and followers on facebook. Tanya has had her surgery and is recovering. She is very grateful to have this behind her and especially all of those who have helped by donating or getting the word out. May God bless her again with a speedy recovery!

Monday, February 01, 2010

Bogo Sale & Drawing Winner

The Etsy Glass Artists (EGA) are having a "February Fling" Sale from February 1st through the 3rd. Checkout participating shops below to see their particular offerings! Please use the code "FEBFLING" in your notes to seller upon checking out to get the sale price. Great sales just in time for Valentine’s Day! You can find perfect gift for your sweet hearts or little sparkling treasure for yourself!!

Etsy Glass Artists "February Fling" Sale
February 1st - February 3rd, My sale will run all week through the 6th!
Participating Members: - BOGO 1/2 Off - BOGO 1/2off or 15% off on one item - 20% off all fused and dichroic jewelry - 20% off everything - BOGO 1/2 Off - FREE shipping on all jewelry - BOGO 1/2 Off - Free Shipping - 20% off

*BOGO - Buy One Get One 1/2 off


Congrats to the Winner!

I had isp issues yesterday, between my teenager's downloads and's poor limited bandwidth allowance I was unable to post the drawing winner on Sunday. The biggest drawback to where we live, I can't get a decent internet service out here.

The lucky winner is Liyana Othman, Congratulations!

To be entered in the next drawing all you have to do is sign up for my newsletter. I promise you I won't bombard your inbox, I'm lucky if I get it sent out once a month.

Tip of the day: If you are paying 18.95 monthly for On Star service you can call them and get them to lower the price if you request to cancel the service. We're now paying 12.95 monthly.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Need a Classy Calendar?

Order your AGLF Calendar here!
This beautiful calendar was created to help raise funds for the legal action taken filed against a disgruntled former glass bead seller on etsy. Deb explains the situation on her website so much better than I ever could. And I really don't type well either.

Anyway it is a beautiful calendar so if you need one please consider purchasing one from Deb's site (link above) Here's a couple of pictures from the inside, drooling allowed, lol.

That's my work in the last photo, bottom right. Yes, I was one of the people falsely accused of being a tax evader. Been paying taxes on my art and craft work before I even had a computer or the internet. I was a rather ADD type of crafter, little bit of this and that, throw in some wearables, cute hand painted kidswear. You get the picture, if I liked it I'd go home and get the stuff to make it.

I would like to extend my condolences to "Betsymn" who lost her husband recently. She has been one of the driving forces behind the AGLF and is the one who put the calendar together. She & a few others have worked countless hours collecting and posting info, keeping us all up to date on the legal stuff. It is because of their hard work that we are able to pursue justice in this matter. Thank you is not enough. Betsy, may God bless you with peace and comfort.

Busy next couple of days. DH has friends in town from the UP (MI's upper penisula) so we're meeting them tonight. I have to make more beads to get up in the store pronto. Really need to clean my work table, think the mess is messing with my creativity. Monday I have to get my tax records together for the accountant. Nice thing about hubby being in business, we've had the same CPA over 25 yrs. Just collect your stuff and drop it off to them. Have a sewing project that I absolutely have to at least get started soon. It's a big one and needs to be done by spring.

Pet Peeve of the Day- when someone scraps dirty butter back into the butter tub. lol, am I the only one that hates it when I open the butter and find a bunch of yuck on the side?

Monday, January 25, 2010

January Bead Giveaway!

It's that time again! Well, actually it is a bit overdue for me to do another drawing from my mailing list recipients. The lucky winner will receive this set of 6 handmade lampwork beads, just right for making a spring bracelet and earrings! Remember, to be eligible to win you have to be signed up to get my newsletter "Glassbits News". I'll pick a winner from my list on Jan. 31st so there is still time to sign up and be entered in this drawing.

On another note I read last night that the fund raising drive for Tanya's surgery expenses has raised the most amount of money in the shortest time. I believe that was posted by the pledge website owner. Nice to see the generosity of the artist community in action. If you're wondering what I'm referring to, read my previous blog post. Just over 2,000 more to go and she'll be able to have to this life saving surgery.

The more I hear stories like hers, the more I hate insurance companies. To deny people a procedure that will save their life is morally wrong in my book. They still deny surgeries that they call experimental even though these operations have been performed over 20 years. Its ridiculous, and the fact that our government here in the US lets them get away with it puts much of the blame on them too. Same with the situation involving our banking system today and the grand fiasco created by greedy financial executives while our political leaders stood by all the while catering to these idiots.

Anyway, enough of that crap, its too depressing to think about and I've got work to do. Adding more items to my etsy shop today.
Hope all is well with you and yours!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Have A Heart for Tanya

In the past few days I've been seeing this "Have a Heart for Tanya" on both Facebook and Etsy. Tanya is in a fight for her life because her insurance company won't cover a relatively simple surgery she needs ASAP. She is an Australian teacher living in Thailand. Many artisans have been helping raise the money for her surgery. More of her story can be read at these sites.
The facebook group started by Brenda Roberts.
Tanya's blog.
This is the site where you can donate a pledge. Any amount, even $1 is appreciated. We are so blessed and don't even remember it most days. Almost 80% of the funds have been raised already. Surgery is scheduled for Jan. 31st., only 7 more days to raise the last $2,600. (at the time I posted this)

I'm off to list something for a donation for Tanya. Hope you can help is some small way too. Thank you & God Bless.

Stayed tuned for the next free drawing coming up next!

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