Monday, January 26, 2009

Bookbinding as therapy...

Ahhh, yes...I'm making books again. I took a long break from bookbinding due to my recent obsession with promoting my glass jewelry line (which I will continue to do also, btw...I know, I'm crazy). But I really need to make books for my peace of mind. There is something very therapeutic about the cutting, folding, gluing and stitching of a book. And then when you are finished, there is this amazing sense of accomplishment as you hold it in your hands, open and close the covers, and feel the smooth blank pages just waiting to be filled by someone (other than me, of course). For some reason, I don't actually want to write in my books. I do have one that I kept as a journal, though I rarely write. Shame on me...

I just needed a little inspiration to get started making books again. I happened to meet a fellow Etsian who makes the most amazing marbled paper in bright, vibrant colors. So I went ahead and bought some full sheets from her Etsy shop: PersistenGreen. These are some examples of her paper.

The very day that the paper arrived in the mail, I went to work. I already had some textblock paper cut and folded into 5x7 sections. I just had to trim the edges, cut the covers, punch some holes, glue on the marbled paper, and stitch it up with some bright orange thread. And voila! Here it is:

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Valentine Giveaway!

My friend Jess and I are in cahoots to give away this lovely necklace for Valentine's Day. Check out her blog to find out how you can enter for up to five chances to win this pendant. And receive 25% off your first order from my website just for entering the contest! Good luck!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

An honest review: Selling Venues

1000 Markets ArtFire - Buy Handmade - Sell Handmade

There are some great new venues for selling hand-crafted goods online. Some are established and many more of the websites are still in the Beta phase of their design, so they are offering free sign-up, free listings, etc. It's a great opportunity to open up shops all over and get more exposure. Here's the run-down of the different selling venues I have come across, and their pros and cons (in my opinion):

1. - est. 2005, for selling handmade, vintage, and supplies
--Free to open a shop, $.20 per listing, 3.5% commission per transaction, uses Paypal (who also charges a commission)
--Pros: well established website, large customer base, very friendly and helpful forums (unlike any I have ever seen)
--Cons: very competitive - over 308,000 sellers, check-out is confusing - results in non-paying buyers
--My Etsy URL's:

2. - est. 2008, in Beta, for selling handmade, vintage, and supplies
--Free to open a shop, free to list, no commission (during Beta phase), optional $7/month for life account with added benefits, uses Paypal
--Pros: no risk because it's free, set up similar to Etsy (use your same shop graphics, etc.), provide shop stats through Google Analytics with verified account
--Cons: still very rough and doesn't "look" as nice as Etsy, many hiccups in site programming, for example: tagging, search engine, and shipping profiles do not work properly, many features say "coming soon", forums are pretty confusing to use
--My Artfire URL:

3. - est. 2008, in Beta, for selling hand-crafted goods
--Free to open a shop, free to list, 5.5% commission per transaction, uses Amazon payments (fee included in the 1000Markets commission)
--Pros: Juried site - only top-notch sellers allowed, beautiful platform - very streamlined site with virtually no hiccups (that I have found), more artistic and less "crafty", contains juried Markets that contain similar merchants - higher chance of being seen, shop stats provided for free
--Cons: very new site - small customer base, only uses Amazon payments which isn't as common as Paypal, and thus can't support international sellers or customers
--My 1000Markets URL:

4. - est. 2008, in Beta
--Free to open a shop, free to list, no commissions (paid by sponsors during Beta phase)
--Pros: no risk because it's free, and supposedly, they save 25 sq. ft. of endangered rain forest for every item sold, other than that, I haven't found many pros on this site
--Cons: shops are awkward, strangely organized, distracting and slow java scripts, many hiccups in programming, no forums or community support, little activity on the site
--My ShopHandmade URL:

There are other sites as well. I had a shop at Mintd (based in Australia) for a short time, but it was even more awkward and badly designed than ShopHandmade. After reading a couple of the forums there, and noticing that many threads had posts that were two months old, I discovered that the site is basically stagnant (not well-maintained or promoted), so I closed up shop.

And of course, there's eBay, but I feel that it is not the best site to respectfully sell fine art. I think e-Bay looks and feels like a flea market. So, I choose not to sell there. Although, I'll gladly buy supplies there.

I've heard of, which is a juried site which is very reputable. But, they deal mainly with connecting artisans with wholesale buyers. That doesn't work too well with small time producers like me.

So, that about sums up my list of selling venues! After reviewing all of these sites, I can clearly see that besides my personal website, it would be best to promote my Etsy and 1000Markets shops. Etsy has already proven itself to me, since I have had over 100 sales in the last year. And 1000Markets has the most potential for future success as I see it. I hope this has helped any of you that are considering opening up more stores! It has certainly helped me to sort this all out in one post.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Don't drool on your keyboard...

My second treasury. I must have been really hungry when I created this theme. Did you know that people sell baked goods on Etsy!? Handmade indeed...

View it full size HERE to see ooey gooey detail. It will expire Thursday night.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Look for a New Year

As most of you have probably noticed, I have started using a new shop name at many of the new venues I sell at. It started back in October, when I first came up with the name Short Fuse Jewelry. I opened a new Etsy shop at first, and now have signed up at Art Fire, 1000 Markets, and Shop Handmade with the same name. Only time will tell how successful these new selling venues will be. Regardless, the name is catchy, and I like it. So I think I'll keep it.

I went ahead and bought the domain name: and currently have it linked to my Becky Sharp Designs main website. So, you can type either name into the URL address and still get my website! How cool is that? I have even uploaded a new logo to my main site and changed to a great new turquoise blue color scheme. Check it out HERE if you haven't already seen it.