website, blog and other beady stuffs

I’m doing a little upgrading and sorting on my website.  Working out what I should be adding on and taking off.
Do I have more or less Collections (galleries), do I stock lots of bigger, more expensive items, or do I do keep it as is and add in the smaller add-ons, the accessories, like bookmarks and hair slides?

I’m working on a page fo rmy re-made items. I’ve done so many but taken so few pictures.
I am happy to re-make and re-fashion items, or if you have a bag of beads, make something completely new for you. Items that are sentimental or broken, can’t throw them away – I can help you.
Re purpose them into something new and funky, or add a few new items and fix it up.

I’m also thinking of changing the designs on this page, so it’s more like the website in design. Now to spend the time to find one.. eek, but such a fun waste of time.  (update: I’ve had a quick look through the themes thnking I’d find maybe 3 or 4 that would be suitable, but no.  I found 8. This may be harder than first anticipated. Or very easy when I get into the nitty gritty of each theme)

I love the website, it’s clean and neat. Nothing too flowery and over the top.  Nothing gets in the way of crisp (for the most part) photos and clean lines.  All in pink, black and white.

I bought some pearls at the Craft Fair on Saturday with a few ideas of what to make.  Something to go with the pearl necklace a friend gave to me to fix and then keep.
Plus some scarf bails which I’ll make assorted dangles for so they are interchangable for the multitude of scarves I have.

That is about it for today, I have to go for my run and then, although the sun is shining out there (winter, where are you?) get back into inside jobs.  Like sorting market boxes form yesterday and the tidy and making thigns on my desk.
More computer work can wait til the evening when it is too cold to use my hands properly.

A picture of something pretty to finish with, coz I like to add pictures to my posts.

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Have a great day or evening where ever you may be,
Jennifer 🙂

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Power points.. and more storage.

Of the electrical type, not for presentations.
My sewing desk is a huge heavy weight, old style computer desk. You know the type, adjustable height, pole hole for the monitor to sit on, and internal bank of power points. Well, just 4, but that’s usually enough with computers of old.
My table is placed against the wall, set at my height. The monitor pole has long gone, and I have to forfeit two plugs for ‘house’ items. Well, I shouldn’t complain, one is for the Internet, which without, I wouldn’t be able to do this.
The other two are mine to use.
During my tidy up and focussing on having less junk, I’ve allocated one plug for a double adapter housing both sewing machines and the other has an extension cord – with double adapter attached. On this I have my iPod speaker and most probably the laptop charger or what ever else is needed. Lights maybe.

On the other wall, under all the lovely storage I made for my props is another single power point. I usually put the camera battery charger on this as it’s out of the way. But with wanting the light tent to be set up there, I had to work something out.
A double adapter for both my light poles, which can stay with that power point. And be used for battery charger, kiln, heat gun… whatever is required. I’m not going to be using the kiln or heat gun at the same time as the light tent and the charger can wait a day or two if needed. (I do like to charge it straight away otherwise it gets forgotten and is not good when I need it).

My next step in the room, is to figure out a way to store the market things slightly better to cater for the other few boxes I have. I’m already liking the big space in the middle of the room instead of tables and boxes everywhere.

We shall see. I’ll get back to my photo editing ready to upload onto the website. It’s all about bags today.

Part two – tidy the tables & light tent set up.

I’m currently mid flu and have anti bionics for a bad ear so have been lethargic and out of sorts. I. Coming out the other side now and having a good day. Much better than yesterday. So good in fact I pottered about in my room getting the next part sorted. The last post said how I had bought a cupboard and was re working my room. Well I’m finally back in to do a it more. Hopefully this week I will have it done, but no promises.

The easiest way to work it was to do one thing at a time. Today the sewing table. I emptied, cleaned, ironed items waiting, patched a shirt that had been a long time waiting and put them all away.
Now my sewing table is sewing machine, over locker and iron. Ready to get out at a moments notice – and be able to use all three without making mess on other tables.
Next I got the table near the bookcase emptied, sorted market bookwork that needed doing and put everything where it belonged.
Vacuumed.
Then packed up the table and put the other one there. I know that may make no sense but the angle of the supports underneath are higher on this one so less chance of kicking legs.
On this table is now the tray I am working on and the pile of books I will be using. Between this and my sewing table I will have space for computer work.
I put more of my paints in the tall boy, and have two retro suitcases I want to show off but not have sitting in there way. Where to put them?

My aim at the end. To have as little scattered around the room and lots of room to move and productive areas. A user friendly and comfortable place to be.

Two days later.
I have my light tent set up, or at least for today’s purposes while I do more on the website.
This picture does not do it any justice at all, but is purely for example sake. I tried to get a shot of how it looks with lights on and lights off to give you an idea of how much better the pictures will look. But as you can see, it just looks really dark, defeating the purpose completely. And it was daylight, overcast mostly, but not dark. This was taken around 10am.

light tent, no lights

light tent, no lights

light tent with lights on

light tent with lights on

A couple of pictures of product.
The first – with lights, bright and clear.

photo with lights

photo with lights


And without – dull and not as much colour.
photo without lights

photo without lights


I don’t like to use photoshop or alter my pictures. I want to be able to show it as it is, only cropping and resizing as necessary.

I was going to get a shot of the desks all tidy and ready but they are now covered with laptop and stuff, and the other, all the bags ready to re photograph for the website.
Later in the week hopefully.

Keep crafty, Jen.

More marvellous makes

Now that I have updated the website and added them to my facebook page, I will share my new makes with you.  I’m pretty happy with them. I’d like to hear what you think.

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All items for sale, with more detailed pictures, on my website: www.marcatodesigns.com.au

Jen 🙂

Quality over Qauntity

I’ve only just come to the conclusion about what to do even though it’s been bugging me for some time.
Quality over quantity.
The amount of likers on my Marcato facebook page. 750+ Not bad you might say. Not, not bad at all. And I really wouldn’t mind if even a quarter of those actually bothered to be part of the page at all.
Way back when, I was trying to figure out how to get more likers, thinking more people, more traffic, sales, communication etc… I mean, more traffic will eventually lead to more sales right?

I joined a group called Send in the Troops. SITT. Their main goal is to get pages as many likes as possible, make it look good, popular and worth visitiing. What you do, as a liker of their page (ha, sneaky sneaky) is every week (or a couple of times a week, I can’t remember now) they would ask for business pages to comment with their link and at a set time that night say 20 would be picked out. They post theses links on their page, and everyone choofs off to that page and likes it.

Yeah, I’ll be in on that, I say. After a few weeks, I finally got my night – I didn’t even realise til a friend told me, duh – and in the space of a few hours my numbers jumped from a hundred to over 600. Wow, this is great I thought as I trawled through and picked out the pages I wanted to like in return. And thanked everyone. (That, my friends, is a truly thankless task)

And therein lies the problem. Most of these pages are just want more likes. Reciprocation. Yeah, that’s being polite, but not eveyone likes everything. (HA, see what I did there). They will like anything and everything, regardless. On visiting, I found most of these pages were not me at all. Just not what I wanted. I digress ever so slightly. My main point here is that these people do not come back and check out what you are doing. You are just another number and mean nothing to these people. I am not a ‘likes’ or a ‘friend’ collector. Even in real life, I prefer quality over quantity. I can count my friends on 2 hands, and I can count on each one those if I ever neeed to.

The same goes for my business page. I have a group of regulars and that’s just how I like it. I posted the question to a couple of my FB groups and most people agree with me. This is what a friend said and my response:

Friend – Why do you want to start again? I would loath to loose all my fans which I have worked hard to gain (genuine likers and SITT type likers)

Me – Like I said, i only have a few regular fans, sales aren’t an issue currently and I can set it up better. If I lose fans then they weren’t particularly interested in the first place – given they aren’t visiting enough to know I’m closing down and getting the link to the new page. Plus I want to set it up better, and starting over is a good way, helps sort the rubbish (of all kinds). In your situation, with over 2000 fans I wouldn’t want to be starting over either. BUt I really can’t see the benefit of those SITT things. Everyone liked and then have barely come back. Having an ad actually worked better.

Friend B – … likes don’t mean sales… (Bingo!)

That last line of mine, paying for a FB ad actualy drew people in. I am ready to deal with the consequences of starting again. And those friends/likers that are really interested will come over.
While I want to limit sales to just the website, I can’t completely do that, otherwise I may as well not have an FB page at all. I will try though.
I would rather have a small group of loyal followers than just have a huge number that means shit.
back to the beginning for a bit, what I started out wanting to say. This number is very misleading. according to this blog, I have over 700 followers, what a load of crock. It is misleading to you the reader and anyone that comes to have a look, and it is misleading and very annoying to me when I see it, as I know it is a lie.

I will be adjusting the facebook page at the footer of this and my other blog to reflect the new page. The name is slightly different, Jewellery by Marcato Designs. Oh, I just had a wild idea, Dress-ups by Marcato Designs, ugh, that sounds a bit too much like cheap arse costume jewellery.

When I have the page set up a bit more with some albums I will post the link on the old page and change the footer link – which will hopefully be before I actually publish this post. I’m going to leave it a bit and come back to re read. Ok, I’ve changed the FB links on the blogs and shared on my personal page. I will all so be doing a weekly or twice weekly photo ‘spam’ of items.

Please come per and check out my new page, my new fango website and be sure to share it with your friends.

Thanks, Jen 🙂

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Words words words….

I am normally not too bad with words, and am not really an eloquent writer, but I hate it when I really want to find a word, and it just won’t show it self.  It sits out there taunting me. Either that, or it’s on the end of my tongue which is why I can’t find it…..

From yesterday’s, or was it the day before’s post. I can’t remember. The last post I wrote I mentioned all the things I wanted to do. An hour or so this afternoon was spent with the laptop, going through all my blogs and fixing things up. I feel happy now that the ‘pages’ are all up to date, re worded as necessary, or written from scratch. My next job will be to sort out my website. This will be time-consuming, but my plan is to work off the website when fixing the Facebook page and using it as a guide to what I upload and what jewellery items get tossed, changed or put on sale.  (Part of FB is now sorted, sorted most and deleted some of my albums, that was the easy part).

This brings me to the title of today’s post.  I generally make one of each item. I buy beads to be used for one thing, or use up leftovers which means there is no easy way of replicating items.  Sure, mass-produced or multiples of items are good, especially if something is popular, but I would prefer to cater to those that don’t want to wear what everyone else is, who are happy to have something that is a little different. Herein lies my problem. The wording of these such items.
OOAK – one of a kind. It bores me. Everyone is now doing OOAK, and wording it as such – the abbreviation – it’s almost become passé, so yesterday, definitely NOT different. How can it be different if everyone is doing OOAK??

I would like to have on my website and Facebook page (even here) something that catches your eye, or makes you think ‘I’ve got to have a look at that’ when you hear/read it.  Sure, I’m still doing items that are the only one of their kind, but I want a new word for it.
Exotic, maybe. I looked up the thesaurus (different, odd, unusual) and wrote down some words that appealed. Those words are:
Unusual
Limited edition
Rare
Bizarre – (
as in bizarre beads, just a thought)
Distinct or distinctive
Off-beat
Unique
Treasure

My current catch-phrase is “a new way to express yourself” and while I still love this, I would like something to add to it.
Say…. “A new way to express yourself (with) off-beat jewellery and bags”  As I read this, off-beat is not the right word, and now crossed off the list. Even unique is getting to me like OOAK is.. gone from the list.

I know this is the second thing I have asked of you my lovely readers and followers, in as many days, but sometimes when you’re stuck, fresh eyes can see things you’ve overlooked, or think of words that fit the bill.

What would catch your eye, what words or phrases would make you take a second look?

With much thanks in advance,
Jennifer 🙂

Christmassy earrings

As I mentioned about a week ago, I have 3 markets in 3 weeks. All leading up to Christmas which usually means lots of little last minute gifts or smaller stocking fillers…
I decided to make more earrings – pretty well everyone wears them – around here with the weather warming up, longer hair is swept up and away from the face and neck – perfect for earring wearing.

I am not a fan of the Winter Christmas earring trends that abound this time of year – cute yeah, but not suitable for a hot summer Christmas. So no reindeer, snowmen or snowflakes, maybe an angel or two of I have their wings. But I will make spiral trees with dangles and using bead cap cones for trees with dangles… All in Christmassy colours of red, green and gold. With silver and maybe purple thrown in for good measure.

It was a productive day and while most of these will make their way to markets I need to make more, plus a few for the website only.

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The rest will come in another post….
Enjoy 🙂
Jennifer

Scarves, jewellery and half nude models

Today was disgusting, cold and wet, a miserable day that is perfect to curl up on the couch and chill (ha, pun not intended). Not a day you want to be standing around in a cold shed, next to the open door taking photos.
But that’s what mum and I did today. We needed to finish the job and we both have lots of things to do before next Thursday.
Today saw only 300+ pictures of mums scarves and while I was there I put into place my idea for better pictures of my jewellery.
The book talks about taking pictures of the item in situ. So if its a bag, a person using it, jewellery would be someone wearing it. Well, I don’t have a lot of access to people for real life models so I used the next best thing.
My limbless and headless model. Dressing her in a white tee as a neutral backdrop and hanging her on the rack as we did yesterday she did a brilliant job.

While we know people do not look like this….

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they don’t all look like this either, but she at least has a pair of boobies, which means when jewellery is hung on her, it will sit something like it would on an actual person….

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I am really happy with how the pics came out. So much so that I am tempted to get all my jewellery and take the pics like this. (This is where I face palm and ask why why why… more work, as if I don’t have enough to do already) I can still take my macro shots at home in the light tent. But this was brilliant.

Below are the rest of the pictures. Definitely an improvement.

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And while we’re here a couple of my favourite scarves from today.

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~ fist pump ~

Yep, for those that have read over the last couple of days, I did it! And for those who know me well (insert hubby’s name here) you will understand how much this means to me.
Hubby often jokes that technology and I don’t mix. It’s true. There are some things that drive me nuts coz I can’t figure them out. And it’s usually the small things. Big things are not an issue… hmmm Put it this way. Back when I was about 20, I couldn’t even figure out DOS. I was the only one in that whole class who just didn’t get it.  But I digress.

Not only did I buy my domain name – that was the easy bit, but I then went and worked out the DNS, followed the instructions and now my domain is linked to my website host.  All mine. I did it.

Please head over and check out my website, look, buy – Don’t forget Christmas is just around the corner!! – I am still uploading goodies so please come back regularly (this is the time-consuming part).   To find a specific item for sale, go to the SHOP and the categories are on the right hand side.

http://www.marcatodesigns.com.au/

Cheers, have a great day 😀
Jennifer

It’s all GO! GO! GO! for the new website

After playing with it a for a few more days and adding more pages and information, topping up the postage costs – did I say how much I love the shopping cart on this site??? – I have decided that I will cancel the other site.

Why? Let’s see.
– The shopping cart for starters. It is so much more user-friendly. and easy to use. Uum, the Vista one is a stupid pain in the neck. This one is fully set up already, all you have to do is pick countries to post to and add the cost. Everything else is done for you.

– the whole site is 100% easier to use. Plus it has a handbook that you can check out easily to help with anything you want. The Vista site doesn’t have that.

– while it only has 4 different layouts compared to thousands once you pick that, then the colours, and any other designs you want are entirely up to you.

– I can choose where to put my pages, main menu at the top or in the footer.

– the FB and Twitter links are there ready to add your username. Vista was a pain and i still didn’t get it to work properly. I haven’t figured this one out either so it goes to my ‘page’ rather than my personal profile.

– it’s neater, looks smarter and is more streamlined. I feel, more professional. It looks like the sort of websites I like to look at, is easy to navigate and find things.

I know it now sounds like I don’t like VistaPrint. I still do, it’s just their websites are not the best. And after doing some hunting (I want to move all my blog posts across) I have noticed there are many people who are unhappy with them and the website side of the business. Too complicated and hard to use are the most common complaints I saw.
I think it depends on what you want to use your site for, but it is expensive for what you get and not having total control over certain aspects (colours and designs), and if you want a shop, there were quite a few grumbles about that as well.
I have asked them about how to go about transferring my blog so we’ll see how that goes. I can cut and paste but I want to keep the pictures with each post, and not have to trawl my thousands to find them again.

For all other printing Vista are still the best. My business cards and banners etc will all be coming from them.

So even if you checked it out the other day feel free to pop over again and see what has changed. My job in the next week is to upload everything else onto the site. A long and time-consuming process. (Lots of coffee and water).

http://marcatodesigns.indiemade.com/

Once I cancel the other site I am looking at buying my domain name so it is forever mine. I’ve found a few prices and for about $15/yr it’s not going to break the bank.
Should I change the name, I’ll be sure to make sure everyone knows!

Jennifer 😀