Thursday, January 22, 2015

How To Get Seious About Your Business

Good Morning,

This morning while checking my own on line sites and shops I came across this post on Etsy.  I used the copy and paste method to post it in its entirety, including links.  It's a short read, but very informative.  I think these things apply to any and everyone that has a hobby or career business in mind.

Story by Audrey Manning
Published on Jan 21, 2015 in Seller Handbook

Melanie Ann Green remembers clearly the moment when her hobby turned into a career. “I was sitting in the car with my dad talking about my ‘silly hobby’ when I realized that running my own creative business was what I wanted to do full time, and that nothing was going to stop me,” the Scarborough, England-based entrepreneur explains. Until that point, neither Melanie nor her father had considered her needle-felted bird shop, The Felt Menagerie, something that could become an actual job.
Eager to get started, she headed home to write out a five-year business plan. With that initial plan as her guiding vision, she started plotting out the steps required to reach her goals one at a time. Now, five years after that fateful conversation, Melanie’s shop has over 2,000 sales. She quit her day job at a local bookstore back in 2011, and hasn’t looked back since.
Taking your shop to the next level comes down to practically and emotionally preparing yourself for success. While the motivation to improve your shop must come from within, the following steps can help you create moments you’ll later look back on as critical turning points in your business’s growth.

1. Create a Designated Workspace

By devoting a physical space to your work, you give your creativity a home. “My first step in moving from a hobby to a business was carving out a permanent physical space to work,” says Tanya Duncan of Waldorf, Maryland-based quilt shop Spool and Thimble. Think outside the box and use your imagination to create a functional workspace where you can leave in-progress projects out until they are complete. While it may not be possible to dedicate a full room to your business, you can claim a nook of your own in the form of a desk, corner, re-purposed closet or garage.

You will do your best work in a space that’s not only functional, but also visually inspiring. 

When finding storage and organization solutions, be mindful of how things look and feel. If you’re happy with how your space looks, you’re more likely to show it off proudly on your About page and in person. “Treating my business as deserving of a physical presence enables me to bring clients into a professional-looking home studio, albeit one that has a dollhouse in the corner and crayons on the floor,” Tanya explains.

2. Creatively Visualize Your Own Success

We all think we want to be successful. But what does success really mean? If you had it, what would it look like? Would it mean reaching a set number of sales? Having your product featured on your favorite blog? Becoming an entrepreneurial role model for your kids?

Take a few moments to jot down the images (and words) that come to mind when you think about success. Meditate on these words and images until they form a clear picture. Next, imagine yourself experiencing this success. How would you feel — proud and prepared, surprised or possibly scared and overwhelmed? By creatively visualizing what being successful would look and feel like, you can then start putting together a plan for getting there.

3. Face Your Fears Head-On

If you find it difficult to picture your own success, fear could be getting in your way.  Some examples of common success blockers include fear of failure, fear of being judged by others, perfectionism and fear of success itself. Maybe you worry that true success would bring on a larger volume of orders than you could physically handle, cost you precious time with your loved ones or have a negative impact on your creativity. Whatever the fear, try to recognize it and acknowledge the role it’s playing in your business.

“Become a student of yourself,” suggests Heidi Ahmed, owner of the Columbus, Ohio watercolor shop Lost in Reverie. Heidi speaks from experience; she’s well aware of the role anxiety and fear can play in a shop’s growth. In the past, when people would ask Heidi about her shop, she would nervously start listing all the things she was accomplishing. She later realized this was her attempt to prove her business’s legitimacy not only to others, but to herself. “I came to dread the question, ‘What do you do?’ because the truth was that I was ashamed of my business,” Heidi admits. It was only when she faced her insecurities head-on that her confidence started to grow.

4. Develop a Business Plan

Laura Mays of Quincy, Illinois-based wedding invitation shop Lama Works credits her entry in a small-business competition as her real turnaround moment. “During the competition, we sat down with mentors and created a business plan — something I had never considered doing before,” Laura explains. “It made me put down on paper who I was, what I did and where I wanted to go in the future.”

The competition granted her second-place recognition and increased confidence. “It made me feel like a business, not just a hobby,” she says of the win. From then on, when people asked Laura what she did, she swapped saying, “Oh, I just make invitations,” for, “I own a wedding invitation business.” Check out How to Write a Creative Business Plan in Under an Hour for tips on getting started with a plan of your own.

5. Set Actionable Goals for Your Business

Once you have a grasp on what success looks like to you, the next step is to break it down into smaller, achievable goals. From there you can turn each goal into a series of tangible steps that you’ll tackle one by one. For example, if you want to introduce a new spring product line, you must find the time to create it. Instead of just thinking about it, carve out distinct time in your schedule to devote to product development and production.

While completing each smaller step, imagine yourself achieving your larger goals as a result. “I started seeing more success in my shop when I began setting specific goals and visualizing myself reaching them,” says Ontario resident Ann Turner, owner of the beach-themed jewelry shop Nautically Inspired.

While we’ve all heard stories of accidental success, most success stories require vision and planning in addition to hard work and drive. “You need the fire in your belly to take your shop to the next level,” says Stephanie Maslow-Blackman of New York jewelry shop Metalicious. “It’s up to you to make things happen.”

Was there a moment in your shop’s development when you decided to take things up a notch? Share your turning point in the comments below.

Thank you for stopping in and having a look

The Alchemists Vessel would like to wish you a pleasant day.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Bead It Forward Project 2015

Good Morning,

Today I would like to share a unique and interesting way to help a  cause.  Reading the Fire Mountain White Sale catalog I came across this fantastic and fun project.  The Article is very long and may be found in the printed catalog, which I cannot find on line.

Bead it Forward Quilt - this project started in 2006 and has continued each year, with a new theme, but the same goal to raise money and research Breast Cancer Research / Cure.

 This years project is focused on Animals - "Wild About Finding a Cure".

Artist Submitted Square

If you would like to participate / submitting a square, please visit the website (link below) for more details.  Squares are due March 06, 2015, and should measure, 1-1/2" x 1-1/2" or 3.8cm x 3.8cm.

Bead It Forward

You may read about the project, find out how to submit your own square and check out the gallery of past quilts and see new squares submitted for this year's quilt.  Have fun.

Thank you for stopping in and having a look.

The Alchemists Vessel would like to wish you a pleasant day.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Backyard Foundry Recycled Aluminum Cans

Good Morning,

Today's share is a video I found on line via Facebook.  Although the written language may look daunting the video is in English.

I would like to make two suggestions.

One:  Please do not try this at home unless you know what you are doing.  Have proper ventilation, fire extinguishers and a large open area that isn't next to anything flammable, like your house.

Two:  I have done a little research on this and it has come to my attention that melting soda cans and other aluminum objects can create or release a toxic gas during the melting process.  I would very much like to stress that if you wish to try something like this at home or studio to please research, study, or ask a local artisan if they have experience with this project and ask for assistance.

If you would like to try your hand at casting, there is a three part tutorial here on the blog Cuttle Bone Casting.  It uses household items and rosin core solder that you may find at any local hardware store.   The tutorial will take you from the start with materials, to the finished project.  You may choose any form to make, the steps are the important part, not the item.  I made a Stone Set Cross in the tutorial.

Cuttle Bone Casting Tutorial Part 1
Cuttle Bone Casting Tutorial Part 2
Cuttle Bone Casting Tutorial Part 3

Thank you for stopping in and having a look.

The Alchemists Vessel would like to wish you a pleasant day.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Studio News - On Line Sopping 2015

Good Morning,

Today's blog will be brief.  We have updated, closed, changed and rearranged some of our on line shopping venues.


The Alchemists Vessel on The CraftStar.  This site is free for buyers, and no sign up or membership is required.  We currently have 89 items in the shop and Alixandra is working diligently to create new and unique jewelry, specializing in Sterling Silver and Chainmaille designs.

Stainless Steel Round Mail Unisex Bracelet

The shop on etsy is still open with a limited selection of items.   We will be allowing the items to expire and re-organizing the entire shop once the last item has reached it's expiration list date.  If you'd like to take a look: The Alchemists Vessel on Etsy.

You may also shop select items right here on the blog.  Click the Shop Square Market tab at the top of the page and see what's available.

See what you like, but don't like what you see.  We can create most of our designs in the metal, gemstone or accent bead (Czech Glass) color of choice.  Drop is a note and let us know what you'd like and we'll work to make that special something all your own.

We are on Facebook, Twitter and links may be found on either the left or right menus bars of the blog.  Give us a like or follow if you'd like.

Thank you for stopping in and having a look.

The Alchemists Vessel would like to wish you a pleasant day.

(Secret Announcement:  The Alchemists Vessel will be creating a new shop section "Tools of Magic", a selection of metaphysical items, including jewelry, and loose crystals.)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Five Great Items For Winter Gifts

Good Morning,

Although Christmas is over, there are still birthdays, anniversaries and just because opportunities for gift giving.  Today we list five neat handmade items from five unique shops at The CraftStar.

From KitKat Crochets

Crochet Boot Cuffs,Boot Cuffs,Pink Boot Cuffs,Boot Topper,Boot Sleeves,Boot Socks,Teen Fashion,Women's Fashion,Feminine Boot Cuffs,Gift

If you like the look of leg warmers but don't like the bulk then BOOT cuffs are for you. Boot cuffs work just like leg warmers and look great with any kind of boot and are very fashionable and keep you warm. This listing is for one pair of boot cuffs. They are both stylish and cozy. They make a great GIFT FOR FRIENDS, family or co-workers. Or would make a great addition to your own wardrobe. So go ahead treat yourself!
All items are handcrafted by me.

These BOOT cuffs were made with Pink and Black
This yarn is machine washable on gentle cycle and tumble dry on low heat.
Remember do not wash with garments that have hooks or VELCRO

These BOOT cuffs stretch out to fit most. Let me know if you need them extra small or extra large

Made in a smoke free home.

Thanks for visiting my shop. Please check back often as I am always adding new items. Thanks and have a blessed day!

From Bubble Boy Boutique

Fingerless Crochet Mittens

You have a choice of a sweet little pair of hand warmers that are great at keeping your hands nice and toasty without getting in the way. You will love the ribbed design and you can still type and do all the things necessary to work with your hands. Perfect for students/office workers/crafters.

This is for 1 pair of fingerless mittens.

Made from SOFT NEW worsted yarn. We can custom make these for any color/fiber theme you want.

Made in our non smoking/pet workshop

*Anne's Knits For Pets

Toy Dog

This little dog is looking for a home. He is 14" tall and is very quiet and house trained !

The proceeds from this sale goes to Pima Paws For Life a local rescue in Tucson.

JOL Arts Art and Prints
Original Pastel painting with a Close up of a Gerbera flower

Original Soft Pastel painting showing a close up view of a Gerbera flower.

Gerberas must be one of my favourite flowers, essentially because they generally manage to survive in my garden!

Painting Dimensions 39cm x 27cm (A3) or 14.5" x 10.5"
The painting is completed on Black sanded paper using predominantly Rembrandt soft pastels.

Postage and Packing: Your painting is enclosed within a plastic sleeve to protect and packed in a sturdy cardboard envelope to protect.

From Chameleon 

Upcycled Little Owl Pins in Harris Tweed, buttons and beads

 Kathy has been making decorative little stuffed Scotties for more than 15 years - mainly to use and sell as Christmas tree ornaments. Now, since we have lots of bits and pieces from our deconstructed Harris tweed jackets, she's making Scottie pins ~ and now ~ sweet little owl pins!

This listing is for one little owl ~ your choice. However, if you wanted more than one, the second would be $10.00 and several would ship for the price of one. Message me if you would like a reserve listing for two or three.

As you may well know, Harris Tweed is hand woven by islanders in the Outer Hebrides. If you're interested in knowing more about this wonderful woven wool, do check out the Harris Tweed website online - fascinating! These little charmers measure approx. 2.5 inches (6 cm.) X 2 inches (5 cm.) Splendid on hats, purses, jackets...

Thank you for stopping in and having a look.  In hope encouragement strikes and you might like to do a little Windows Shopping.

The Alchemists Vessel would like to wish you a pleasant day. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

2015 Color of The Year - Marsala

Good Morning,

Please allow me to wish one and all a very Happy New Year.

Today we take a look at Pantone Color of the Year for 2015.  Pantone 18-1438 - Marsala.

There are no gemstones that match or resemble this color.  About as close as I can come is Mahogany Obsidian.

The funny thing is that Pantone can't seem to get it to be the same color or tone all the time either.

This sample has more brown tones and is a deeper / richer example of the color.  But does not match the tone above.

The Make-Up chain store Sephora has even gotten into the act with their eye shadow and lipstick lines.

This does not make for an attractive color, the poor model looks rather wounded.

However it does a make for interesting furniture accessories or an article of clothing.

All I can say is, "Good luck with that."  The Fashion Powers that be and others seem to extol the new as wonderful, anything new, it doesn't seem to matter what it is or what it looks like,  It's new therefore it is awesome.  


I'll say what we're all thinking, this is a terrible color.  It's ugly and isn't appropriate for fashion of any kind.  There, I said it.

Thank you for stopping in and having a read.

The Alchemists Vessel would like to wish you a pleasant day.