Sunday, 9 December 2012
Saturday, 8 December 2012
Monday, 19 November 2012
https://www.etsy.com/listing/115450639/6-small-owl-buttons-handmade-buttons-sew These are smaller and just the perfect touch. I'm also very excited to be using a new printing process which makes the buttons even more durable. It's a bit of a learning process again as it is taking some time to work with the new process and get the colours as I want them. I'm not looking at this as a setback though. I'm looking at it as a wonderful opportunity to make my product even better. I'm also being more selective in what I choose to make. I'm fortunate that I don't rely on my buttons to pay the bills so I can be more selective. I do like making custom orders for people because it's always such a thrill to be able to give them exactly what they want. It brings a smile to my face when they're happy that I have been able to create the perfect embellishment for them. At the same time I find custom orders stressful because I do want to make the exact button that the customer has in their mind. For this reason I'm turning down orders that I need to make in a short amount of time if I feel that this will add stress to the process for me. I don't want to disappoint so I'd rather turn down work than stress about being able to meet an unrealistic timeline. I hope that doesn't disappoint but I really think part of the joy in the handmade process is to be able to control, to some extent, the work that I take on. I also want to be able to spend some time making some of my artisan ceramic and glass buttons so I have to step back a bit on the resin buttons to have time to do this. I do know it's getting close to the cut off for people to purchase buttons for Christmas. I also plan to put my shop on vacation mode on about December 10th or so. Most years I leave the shop open and people purchase but I am always concerned that orders won't arrive in time and people will be disappointed. I'm in Canada so even if purchase by December 10th there is a good possibility the buttons won't arrive in time. This will cut down on this. This also allows me time to have a bit of a break and take a vacation without worrying about responding to conversations/emails. We'll see how that goes. It does make me a bit anxious about putting the shop in vacation mode but I think I'm going to try it this year. We'll see if I actually do it when it comes time. There is a balance I'm trying to achieve between my art and the joy of creating and providing custom orders to my clients while not putting too much additional stress on myself. I guess that's always the challenge when a product comes directly from the artist. We'll see how that works out as I try this approach during the upcoming new year.
Monday, 12 November 2012
As I write this it is just mid November but for those of us that make supplies it's now time to start moving on from Christmas items. I always enjoyed Christmas as a child and I do enjoy making these seasonal buttons. I especially love the Kawaii Christmas themed buttons https://www.etsy.com/listing/114668972/5-kawaii-christmas-buttons-handmade These are just so cute. Even though it's just November it's time to start thinking of Valentine's Day and spring themed items. There really isn't enough time to make more Christmas buttons and get them listed in my shop and in the mail to their new homes. I have several Christmas themed/snowman themed items already made and I'll try to get these listed this week or on the weekend. It's hard to tear myself away from these really cute designs though.
Now it's also time to start thinking about whether I want to go on vacation in December. We have a vacation booked for February to the Bahamas and I'm really looking forward to that. We sometimes go away in December as well. I'm always torn about whether to go or not. I know - what a terrible dilemma to have to decide on one vacation or two. Now that the weather here in Canada is getting colder though a warm sunny destination in December sure looks appealing. Since I have the day off from my day job in honour of Remembrance Day (which fell yesterday on Sunday but since it was on a weekend we get the Monday off instead) maybe I'll take a look at the travel sites and see if I can come up with something to entice the hubby to get away.
Saturday, 27 October 2012
I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about what I want to do with the next stage of my life. It's not that I'm unhappy where I am. I am. I am truly lucky and appreciate my life. I think it's just as time ticks by we sometimes need to think about what we want to do into the future. When you're younger there seems to be so much time and so much possibility. As time goes by we seem to settle and decide that this is the way it is. Part of what I've decided to do is to focus on my art/buttons more in a way that gives me joy. I'm a person that doesn't like to say no to anyone - I need people to like me I guess - so I always try to accommodate. This often means I'm doing work which I'm not all that excited about and don't have enough time to explore all the ideas floating around in my head. I'll be honest - while I have a good day job - I do enjoy the funds I get from the buttons and veering away from them - even just a little could very well impact that. I've got dreams and part of my dreams have a financial component. I dream of a holiday or retirement place in the Caribbean somewhere. I love to travel and have been fortunate to be in a number of places. There are so many things I want to do. I feel if I say no to certain requests for custom orders that people will be disappointed in me and, of course, I'm turning down the money. I've said no a couple of times lately and it makes me feel very good. It's hard to do but I'll see where it takes me. That doesn't mean I won't do custom request but I'm going to pick and choose and try to get more balance (to the joyful side) of art again.
Sunday, 16 September 2012
Today I took the time to make some homemade ice cream. It's vanilla (from our Mexican trip) with a whole chocolate mousse chocolate bar added in just for fun. I also made some pear jam - which looks like it will be better as an ice cream topping :) I've been trying to master jam making all summer but can't seem to get it to thicken enough to be a jam consistency. Oh well - I have some very yummy ice cream toppings so even my mistakes aren't too disheartening. I am determined to figure out this jam thing!!!!!!!!!!
Monday, 3 September 2012
I've recently opened up a second button shop http://www.etsy.com/shop/onthedarkerside?ref=si_shop These have the type of resin buttons and jewellery as my other Etsy shops but these images are a bit on the darker side. I've even called the shop On The Darker Side. I'm working on this shop with my son and I'm incorporating buttons and jewellery items that have unusual or weird designs. These will appeal to people who like things which are a bit more out there. My other shop Buttons By Robin still has all the cute designs but these are something very different. I've never seen these type of button designs and I'm hoping these will fill a niche for people that like these designs. The shop is just getting started but I'm pleased with the amount of interest people have shown in it so far. I particularly like getting design suggestions from people.
Sunday, 2 September 2012
|Green Bird Buttons|
Friday, 29 June 2012
I've decided to participate in the Christmas in July sale on Etsy. I've started a Christmas in July section and will be adding some buttons at 1/2 price throughout the month. You can find them here http://www.etsy.com/shop/buttonsbyrobin?section_id=5669566 These will be mostly Christmas themed buttons with a few other holiday buttons thrown into the mix. It's a good time to stock up on Christmas buttons. I've never had a sale before so we'll see how this goes.
Sunday, 6 May 2012
It's such a beautiful Sunday afternoon. We had a very mild winter but then spring has just been so damp and cold. Finally it seems like spring is finally arriving. With that of course means it's time to do yard work and cut the grass but I'll take that along with the beautiful sunshine. This little guy was out and about flitting about on the lawn. So pretty and it's nice to see these little creatures out and about.
Sunday, 29 April 2012
Monday, 23 April 2012
Sunday, 22 April 2012
http://www.etsy.com/listing/98149662/handmade-buttons-6-bingo-themed-sewing I haven't played bingo in years but do know that there are a lot of addicts out there :) I hope these unique handmade bingo themed buttons bring a smile to someones face - and just maybe they will bring a bit of luck!
Sunday, 15 April 2012
I have never offered a sale on my buttons before but I thought I'd go for it and offer a sale section for seasonal items and see how it works out. Normally I just keep the buttons until the next year and they usually sell then. Since they are small it's not a problem to store them. I thought I'd give a sale section a try though so I've been adding a few winter and seasonal items and offering them at half price http://www.etsy.com/shop/buttonsbyrobin?section_id=5669566 I'll be slowly adding some items. I'm not sure how long I'll keep them there but I figured I might experiment a bit. It's a really good deal for anyone that wants to stock up on seasonal buttons now.
I can't believe how much time has gone by since my last post. It's been nearly a month. I've been a very bad blogger. I promis I'll try to do better :) I've been busy working away at adding some bright and cheerful handmade buttons. The ones here are cherry blossoms I think and can be found here:
http://www.etsy.com/listing/97185474/cherry-blossom-buttons-6-handmade These are just so bright I really love them. I've also had a mention on a very popular blog in Norway. As a result I've had almost all my sales this week come from Norway. I really appreciate all the attention this has brought my button shop. It just goes to show you never know from one day to the next how a little mention out in cyberspace will impact your shops. This has gotten me thinking that I should probably start to look for some blogs where my product might fit and see if they are interested in featuring my products. I've done a couple of give aways and will probably do that a bit although I have to see if the blog is large enough for that to work in my favour. Another exciting thing is a local biking magazine found my earrings on www.outspokenjewelry.com which is my other site where I sell jewelry made with my handmade buttons. It's a small local publication but I figure for the price of a pair of earrings (they didn't ask to keep them but I offered them as a giveaway - they only wanted pictures) I thought why not. I'm still new enough to this that it gives me a little thrill to think of my buttons in a magazine. I've also had some interest from a magazine in Norway and I sent off some bird buttons to be featured/pictures taken. We'll see if that works out. Again for the small price of a set of buttons (again they didn't ask for the product - just the pictures) I thought I'd give it a try. I do want to caution those of you who may read this that you want to be sure that whoever asks for your products to feature is legitimate before you send off your product. I've heard of stories where there are people who go and ask for products to feature but they are just out to get product. Most legitimate magazines will only need pictures and they'll also offer to send you a copy of the magazine with your pictures in it. Of course I'm no expert and not all magazines work that way. I just want to caution you to be careful as with anything you do. Find out the facts before you give away your product. My items are small and relatively inexpensive so I'm willing to take the chance (after I do a bit of research of course) but just go into anything like this with your eyes wide open. It could turn out to be a great opportunity. I always figure any advertising I get is a good thing even if it's a very small amount of advertising.
Sunday, 18 March 2012
|Paint Chip Sample Buttons|
Sunday, 4 March 2012
It doesn't have exact measurements.
Basket of tomatoes ( I used 20-25 large tomatoes which made far too much to fit in one large pot) pour vinegar over to taste sugar, salt, celery, onion, 1 tsp allspice in bag bring to boil and simmer.
Peel and roughly cut up tomatoes and put them in a pot on the stove. Pour the vinegar over to cover and add enough sugar so it it about the sweetness you want. I think you can make it sweeter or less sweet. (I ended up adding about 10 cups of sugar). Then add salt to taste as well. Add 1 tsp of allspice and put it in a bag (or wrapped in cheesecloth or cotton) so it doesn't go all through the chili sauce. I also added about 1/4 cup of pickling spices although Mom's recipes didn't call for that. Add celery and onion (whatever you think you will like). I used about 6-8 celery stalks and two large onions cut up. Boil it down until it is cooked. I'd say about an hour or so on a simmer. If you are going to eat it right away you don't need to seal the jars. If you are going to leave it out you will have to seal the jars.
Helpful hing: In order to make skinning tomatoes easier drop them in boiling water on the stove. Leave for a few minutes until the skins start to split. Remove from the boiling water and drop them into some cold water. The skin will peel right off with your hands. Easy easy!
Sunday, 22 January 2012
http://www.etsy.com/listing/90887760/easter-buttons-6-handmade-buttons-easter is a nice change from the snowmen and Christmas themed projects I was working on just a few short weeks ago. I guess I'm also feeling a bit rushed because in a couple of weeks I'm heading off to somewhere warm for a few days on vacation. I can't wait. I will tell you a little secret though. I do feel a twinge of guilt not being available to my button shop all the time. I'll still have Internet access but won't be able to mail anything out. How crazy is that? Part of the reason this year as well is that unlike last year the button sales slowed up a bit after the holidays. That didn't happen last January and when it did this year I began to wonder if this would be the new "normal". Well I've had another good weekend and have lots of packages ready to go in the mail tomorrow. That's the way of small business you never know when business will be up or when it will be down. Someone it the Etsy forums the other day said it was just the ebb and flow of business. They also said they liked the flow and not the ebb. I agree! Happy sales all!As I was starting to write this post that old song started going through my head "Here comes Peter Cottontail. Hopping down the bunny trail. Hippity hoppity Easter's on it's way." Okay so I probably didn't get the lyrics just right but you get the idea. Wasn't Christmas just a few days ago? Now we're thinking about Easter (skipping right over Valentine's Day). Wow how the time flies. Well I am pleased to be on the downside of winter. I do like spring and although so far (knocking on wood) we've hardly had any snow here this winter, I really don't like the cold and snow. So working on these bright Easter buttons and other spring buttons
Monday, 9 January 2012
It's just a month until I go on my vacation so I had better get into bathing suit shape (or at least as close to it as I can). So for now I'll get off the computer for a bit and head out to mail my items. Then back to the buttons and a hopefully productive day. I do believe it's true that the harder you work the more success you are likely to have. I slowed down a bit in December and my sales slowed as well. That isn't entirely surprising when you're selling supplies (buttons in my case) as anyone that was using them to make holiday gifts would have needed them before the holiday. One thing that is surprising me though is that my jewelry www.outspokenjewelry.com is doing so well. Jewelry is such a saturated category on Etsy and everywhere so I wasn't expecting much but sales are starting to pick up. I've opened up a whole new niche form my buttons. People that sew can buy them at www.buttonsbyrobin.com but anyone who just likes the designs and wants some fun and affordable jewelry can buy the finished jewelry. It's a win win for everyone! Okay now I really do need to get ready and get those packages mailed!
Sunday, 8 January 2012
I feel like I'm now back in the swing of things as far as creating is concerned. I've caught up on all but one of my custom button orders. I had slowed down a bit over the holidays and I think the break did me some good. I do want to proceed with the ceramic pieces though and see where they take me. I have to find my own unique niche with these though because there are so many great ceramic artists out there. I need to find something that is unique but also not too terribly time consuming or it won't be cost effective to produce. Right now I'm having fun and we'll see where that takes me. I've also started listing some of my vintage on http://www.timesnotforgotten.com/. I'm having a bit of problem wanting to get rid of my collections but I'm slowing starting to work on that.
I have the day off tomorrow from my day job so will work some more on some of the resin buttons and perhaps think about the ceramics a bit more to see where I want to take them. Right now the pieces are very nice but they aren't really "extra special". I want them to be something special so have to really give them some time and attention!
Saturday, 7 January 2012
www.buttonsbyrobin.com but decided this time around I'd make a few pendants and cabochons which I'll glue to some ring bases. These will likely go on www.outspokenjewelry.com. I'm also thinking about maybe starting up yet another Etsy shop for my ceramic buttons and pendants but I'm not sure I want to do that. I can't wait to see how these turn out. I'm teaching myself how to work with ceramics and have never had a lesson so anything I do is all self taught. That means that my glazes don't always work. Working with ceramics also teaches you patience since you can't do anything quickly. There is so much time waiting for things to dry. One of the good things about being self taught is that you get to break the rules. For example normally you are supposed to make the ceramic shapes, let them dry and then fire them in the kiln to the bisque stage. Then you are supposed to glaze them and fire them again. I found that by the time I did this I had lost interest in the original shapes I had created. What I have been doing is making the shapes and letting them dry but then glazing them before firing the first time. This way I can get away with firing them only once. That cuts out a whole lot of work and speeds up the process. I'm sure there is a "rule" against this and those ceramic artists that have formal training will probably cringe. Oh well. I'm finding the experimentation fun. Of course you always have to be careful working with a kiln since you are dealing with extreme head so my experimentation won't go too far but it's interesting to see how these things turn out. Now if I can just wait for that kiln to cool down. I've done a bunch of resin buttons today as well and those are now drying. Those just take a few days to make so are much quicker than the ceramic buttons. I have so many button and pendant ideas. I can't wait to see how they turn out! I'll try to post pictures of these pieces when they are completely cool so you can see how the colours turn out.Here is a peak inside my kiln. I got a great shipment of new glazes yesterday and I'm trying some of them out. You can see some of the speckles on some of the pieces. When I took the picture the kiln was still sort of hot (about 450 degrees Fahrenheit) so the colours aren't showing the true finished colours that they will become when the kiln is cooled. These are an assortment of hearts and flowers and thre is one little pig pendant in the bottom right hand corner. I normally make buttons for
Monday, 2 January 2012
I'm off work today for the last day of the Christmas/New Years holidays. Today is a day to start getting back into the swing of things. I've taken a bit of time off from custom orders and it's been quite fun to work on some things just for fun. I've changed up one of my Etsy sites and will be focusing on vintage and antique items and antique/vintage inspired creations. I'm not quite sure which direction this will take but I've been thinking about it for a while. It's barely started but you can check it out here at www.timesnotforgotten.com Who knows where that will head in 2012. That's the exciting thing about a new year. You get a fresh start and anything seems possible.
Sunday, 1 January 2012
www.buttonsbyrobin.com have been doing really well and I've expanded to a line of button related jewelry at www.outspokenjewelry.com. For 2012 I want to focus on a new medium - ceramics. I'm teaching myself as I go along. I have a small tabletop kiln and I'm learning to work with ceramics. It's much more time consuming and complicated than you might think. All the different glazes react differently and it's very difficult to get them to do what you want. The picture here is my latest collection of buttons fresh out of the kiln this morning. I'm happy with the bright red glaze I've achieved. Red is a difficult colour to get right. For some reason it has to be heated just right in the kiln for the colour to develop properly. This bunch is a set of both ladybugs or ladybird ceramic buttons and red heart buttons. I think the hearts may be great for the upcoming Valentines Day celebrations. I think I'm going to make some similar red heart pendants for www.outspokenjewelry.com. Right now the hearts can be found here http://www.etsy.com/listing/89529430/1-ceramic-red-heart-button-1-handmade. I think ceramic buttons are difficult because for the everyday sewing project they can be a bit pricey. For me to make them though they really aren't all that profitable given the huge amount of time it takes to make them. For now I'll play an experiment and see how it goes. I do love looking into the kiln in the morning after it fires to see what surprises it brings. Hopefully as I learn more the surprises will be more good surprises instead of the uh oh! what happened surprises that seem to happen fairly often with ceramics. I'll continue to post pictures here and write about what I learn as I go along. I hope you enjoy the journey with me.Wow it's the start of another year. I can't believe how fast time flies. My buttons at