Mission Statement

A community of Texan Artisans networking to create group success. To promote our handmade products and share ideas. To educate, teach and learn from each other. To share how to make, how to manage and how to market our unique and creative products with honor, charity, and integrity.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

This Blog is Closed - Ownership has been Transferred

Blog Ownership has been transferred.  This blog is closed.

I have stepped down as blogmaster for the Texas Artfire Guild and resigned from the Guild.

I tried to step down as blogmaster several times in the past because the Guild master wasn't happen with the way I handled the blog.  She ask me not to, saying that I was just holding the blog hostage and wanting to take over control of the guild.

I have never wanted to be guild master nor am I holding the blog hostage.  The blog has been transferred to a generic account and the information forwarded to a member of guild.

My sincere apologizes to all members of the guild, especially the new members for being exposed to this in public.  I tried to work this out behind the scenes and privately but the Guild master chose to make it public and got her "friends" to demand a poll to vote to keep her as guild master even though I had explained to her that I did not want the job.

She stated lies about me in the Yahoo group after she had said to me by phone that she would publish an apology on the Yahoo group.  I refused to answer her innuendos on the Yahoo group because I believe it should have been handled privately.

I offer best wishes and prosperity to all the wonderful Texas members I met, who enjoyed the blog and thanked me, and again apologies for this becoming a public spectacle.

Friday, November 19, 2010

More New Members! Welcome!

This is so exciting!  More new members to our Texas ArtFire Guild!

1.  Roxy And Things - Roxy says:  "I provide handmade, handcrafted, bridal, custom, vintage and vintage redesigned pieces to customers like you. All of my jewelry arrives at your door in special packaging, whether a gift for yourself or someone else."

Checkout these beautiful 14kt Gold Filled Earrings with Chunky Adventurine!

How about this one - Glass and Gemstone Multi-strand Neclace!

I absolutely love your 'torso' display!  I want one of those!

Lovely - Sterling Silver Breathe Bracelet!

2.  Polkadot Toadstool - Cherie says "My art is mostly in creating of characters in the form of art dolls, fantasy, or anything else I feel inspired to give a personality to:-) Recently I also started making miniatures."

Ohoo, how lovely - Dollhouse Doll Miniature Child in 1:12 scale one inch scale

So pretty - Fairy Queen or Goddess necklace in tan with some sparkles

Oh, no, the space aliens are here!  Miniature Space Alien in his spacecraft

3.  Dougal's Doo-Rags - Bio reads "My dogs love their bandanas, and soon people noticed the cool patterns and fabrics. I started making them for neighbors, friends and co-workers, and now I make them for you! I also make catnip pillows, using organic catnip. Kitties like to huggle the pillow while on a nip trip."

What a cutie this one is (dog and bandana)!  Snowflake Dog Bandana with easy Velcro close

 My cat would love these!  5 Animal Print Catnip Pillows

Love this one! Patriotic Flag Dog Bandana with east Velcro Close

4. Sonora Kay's Creations - Bio reads "I have been weaving dream catchers for about 10 years now, of all shapes and sizes. I also make jewelry from hemp, and I have recently taken up playing with beads and wire, which have been incorporated into my designs.

The dream catcher earrings and pendants are all hand woven with beading thread. I have been creating and selling my work for close to a decade now at craft shows, consignment shops, online, and by word of mouth."

These are so beautiful!  Holiday Pearl Necklace

Picked one I would love to own!  Antiqued Copper Earrings with Green Accents OOAK

Wire Dream Catcher Earrings

Well, I picked all the ones I want, now you go visit their shops and pick the ones you want!  Have fun visiting and be sure to add their studios to your Market.  And tweet those items you really love!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

How to put Your Best foot Forward

I thought that a good discussion would be about photos ( the bane for many of our existence) for selling on line.

I spend hours taking pics to get 10 good ones for 3 items LOL!  I have gotten better over the last 4 years with the help of others and I am ALWAYS looking to improve.  It is great to stay teachable.  It will help one develop and evolve  with the technologies that can be over whelming.

the photo is what draws people into your studio ( if they find you on TheFind or googlebase) which are shopping  sites.  All of our items are submitted to these engines.  So I think to myself, how am I comparing to some of those pics?  well, truth is, that I don't compare well enough.   If you ever sneak a peak at the back section of my studio cctexan3, you will find some awful pictures. Until one day some wonderful person told me about Picasa.com

I had been using my MSN pic Manager for editing, but it just isn't the same when you try out a better editor.  what do you use?

Also, you might learn your camera and how to use the macro button, the white balance and how to open your shutter ( or close it).  I'm still struggling with that stuff too.

Sara did a thread on photos here:

tony has one as well: Photo Q and A

 let us know what you do, or what you are struggling with, maybe we might all learn something new! Love and Peace Yall!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Free Ads for Contributors to Our Blog!

To all guest guild member contributors we will be running a free ad at the top right hand column for one week.

Scott, the Mad Moravian, will be featured today and run until next Sunday.
This is our thanks for contributing a post to our guild blog.  

In order to be a contributing blogger you will need to be a member of the Texas Artfire Guild on Artfire and you will need to join our Yahoo group.  

If you want to get your free featured ad contact me about posting an article here.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Four More New Members! Can You Say Welcome?

Welcome to four more new members to the Texas Artfire Guild!

1.  Reans Forte - From Grapeland.  The bio reads: "All of my products are handcrafted by me in my Texas home. Customer satisfaction is our NO. 1 goal here at Rean's Forte. I have been making bath salts and glycerin soap bars for approx. 5 years. I love to pamper myself and believe that everyone should take the eime to indulge in a true luxury of a warm. relaxing and calming bath. It does a mind, body and spirit good."

How about this awesome travel pillowcase in a Texas theme!

You can almost smell the Spearmint scented Mineral bath salt!

2.  Ravnys Nest - From Round Rock.  Bio reads, "I have been making jewelry, frames, painting, and taking photographs for a while now and I truly love all that they entail. I love every aspect of art and the tiny details that make each piece unique and one of a kind, be it a beautiful necklace for yourself, a frame that holds a beautiful photograph, a painting or any other hand crafted item. There is so much beauty to be seen in the broad array of colors, textures and points of view in this world and I try to bring it all into my work."

Won't you love to keep your trinkets in this elegant, decoupaged box?  Very nice.

Or hang your trinkets from this one!  Cool!

3.  Remarcs -  From Dallas.  Bio reads, "I have always enjoyed reading (post school days) and had a tendency of losing my store bought bookmarks. I started making my own beaded bookmarks, this grew into making earrings. I have told myself I would stop at just bookmarks and earrings (even though I know the combination is odd!) but I have dabbled in necklaces too."

Wow!  These are silver interchangeable earrings, there is another set of feathers to interchange!  Very pretty!

Very trendy peacock earrings!

4.  Sweet&Sassy - From League City.  Bio reads:  "Meet the Sweet & Sassy Girls..... (we won't tell who is sweet & who is sassy!)

TxParrotGirl (R) ....relocated to Texas from Louisiana...loves the beach and all things tropical...likes to read and thinks Jimmy Buffet is the king!

JLady Create (L) ...relocated to Texas from South Carolina...has a gift & talent for crafting just about anything, esp. scrapbooking... enjoys a good book and is also a Jimmy Buffet fan!"

What a really cute idea!  Wish Bracelets!  Want to know more?  Visit their studio!

Now this is a really nice keychain!

Give a shoutout to our new members by visiting their studios and tweeting or sharing on facebook!   

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Stars at Night...Are Big and Bright...

Fine Art Paintings

Thanks to Sassy Classy for this one!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Honoring All Veterans!

Many Americans mistakenly believe that Veterans Day is the day America sets aside to honor American military personnel who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained from combat. That's not quite true. Memorial Day is the day set aside to honor America's war dead. 

Veterans Day, on the other hand, honors ALL American veterans, both living and dead. In fact, Veterans Day is largely intended to thank LIVING veterans for dedicated and loyal service to their country. November 11 of each year is the day that we ensure veterans know that we deeply appreciate the sacrifices they have made in the lives to keep our country free. 

Our thanks to all men and women servicing today, you are in our prayers daily.  And to all those not with us today who gave the ultimate sacrifice we offer our thanks to God for their service and prayers to their families.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Scheduling tweets, one-time and recurring

Some of us have lives that don't allow us to tweet several times a day, but we do have some blocks of time during the week to do so.  It's not as effective to do a tweet dump all at once, as folks will have forgotten about us by the next time our tweet window comes around.  This makes the ability to schedule tweets into the future a real blessing.

There are several sites around the web that allow you to do some sort of scheduling of tweets.  There's a nice post over on LimeExchange that covers them.  The sites listed are: HootSuite, CoTweet, FutureTweets, Twaitter, DynamicTweets, Taweet, TweetSched, and Tweet-U-Later.  I've looked at 3 of them (HootSuite, Twaitter, and Tweet-U-Later), and I'm probably going to be using two (HootSuite and Twaitter).

I do my tweeting in batches.  I get up on Sunday morning and check my Artfire guilds.  Some guilds do weekly promotions boosting individual artisans or themes and I use Sunday morning to do my part in the promotion.  I set up my tweets for the week and prepare any blog postings I'm going to do.

My current method is to tweet one artists' shop for the week, with a link to it, and to tweet a different item each day for a different.  Doing the tweets by hand each time is going to take a lot of time and risk typos, etc.  In order to reduce the likelihood of such mishaps, I need the ability to store draft tweets and schedule them into the future.  A really nice thing would to be able to schedule recurring tweets, so that I set it up once and it goes off and runs.

Recurring tweets are slightly frowned upon in the twitter world if you do not tweet something else between consecutive postings of a given tweet.  So, be careful when scheduling recurring tweets.  Schedule two different recurring tweets at 12 hour intervals and you'll be less likely to incur Twitter's wrath.

I've been using HootSuite the longest and it does everything I want, except recurring tweets.  Once you set up your account with them (using your twitter account), you'll be able to hook in other social media websites.  I currently have twitter, facebook and linkedin tied into HootSuite.  What's the benefit of that?  You can send your tweets as notes to all of your social media websites at once!

When you login, you'll see a compose message area at the top of the web page.  In that little text field, you type in your tweet.  When you click in the text field to start typing, the area will expand and you'll see icons for your social media websites, a shrink button, a calendar button, a save button, a send now button, and a count for the number of characters you have left in your tweet.

The social media website icons let you select where you're sending your tweet (or update), the shrink button lets you save space by shrinking any links you have in your tweet.  The calendar button lets you schedule a tweet into the future.  When you click it a calendar pop-up appears and you can choose the date and time that your tweet goes out.  The save button lets you save a tweet as a draft.  Saving a tweet as a draft lets you re-use the same tweet over and over and over, without retyping.  I love that capability!  I use it all of the time.  I'll set up a bare skeleton tweet and save it as a draft.  Then I'll grab the url for an item I want to promote, bring up the saved tweet and add the url to the tweet and then schedule it or send it right away.

There are probably a number of features to HootSuite that are available that I'm not using at the moment.  Play with it and see!  Oh, there is also a free HootSuite iPhone app, so you can schedule and read tweets on the go.

I've just barely started using Twaitter and mainly because it lets you schedule recurring tweets.  This site also wants to tie directly into your twitter account.  When you login, you'll see a tweet entry area on the website with "send now", "save draft", and "schedule" buttons.  There are also "shorten url", "spell check", and other buttons, too. 

The schedule button has been the most important for me so far ( in the two days I've been on the site).  When you press it, an area drops down with "one-time" and "recurring" buttons along with a day, time and timezone area.  The "one-time" and "recurring" buttons are self-explanatory, and additional options appear when you select "recurring".  You can choose daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly for how often the tweet will recur.  You also set the end date for the last time the tweet will be sent.  You can choose "no end date", "end after x number of occurrences", or "end by" with a calendar pop-up so that you can choose the ending date.

I've just set up one recurring tweet with Twaitter so far, and it worked.  The first tweet got sent out a day later than I expected, but I'm certain I mucked it up somehow.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Finding Balance

I recently read article in an Art Jewelry Mag which discussed how to divide up the day ( or week) called the 3 Ms.... Making, Marketing and Managing.

We all wear many hats as business owners.  As humans we also have to balance the other parts of our lives: family, volunteer work, church, sports, fitness, meditation time, cooking cleaning, having fun etc.

How can we balance that all?  I personally spend too much time at one or two of those and it cuts into all parts of my life.   Working from home makes it doubly hard because there is no quitting time, no boss expecting X by such and such time.  Having said that , I dont know how yall do it working a regular job and doing this stuff at night! 

As for the 3 Ms,  the author ( whose name eludes me) stated that  it should be:

4 hours creating ( making)

2 hours Managing ( book keeping, shopping for materials, inventory, picure taking, listing, emailing customers etc)

2 hours marketing: advertising, ( I suppose online and IRL )  tweeting, facebook, blogging,  networking

I suppose somewhere in there we should sleep and eat.. but how can one person do it all? I am guilty of spending too much time online.  I flip flop between listing and pics  and marketing. I cannot remember the last time I sat at the bench with my metal and torch!

That is where networking has paid off for some of us in my opinion.  I have built a following on twitter and facebook and LinkedIn for cctexan3.  It took a year to get to that level though.   My friends retweet or share what I post and I do the same for them.  I am of the belief that this guild can do the same for the members.

 Obviously some are more active than others, but that is ok.  We can help one another, bank the Karma points and cover more areas.  Some of the Guild members have HUGE followings, it works well to use them in collections, tweets, shares and so on.

  But also we need to help the newcomers who do not understand how AF works.  There will be more posts on this in the blog.

The new guilds will be out sometime in January and we will use that one.  I will have new abilities as guild master to reach each of you via emails and links. in the meantime, use the  following link to join the yahoo group  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/texasartfire/

So how do you find balance? I am totally undisciplined and would love to hear how yall do it!

Welcome to Three New Members!

Welcome to three more new members!

1. Jenn Stuart Creations
Lovely, lovely creations indeed!  Jenn is from Round Rock and loves what she does!  

Simple Gold Filled Necklace with Fabulous Faceted Topaz Briolette.

Stunning Sterling and Fine Silver Necklace with Amethyst Briolette

Aren't these stones gorgeous!  

2Beads Of GraceOur business began when my daughter would take the jewelry we make and show it to all our family and friends and would make sales.  Beads Of Grace is in Mount Enterprise.


 Hot Pink Bracelet



Saints Who Dat Earrings

You will need to visit the shop to get a closeup of these unique Saints Who Dat earrings!

3.  Something Shiny Art - Wayne says " I work with lapidary, glass fusing, wire wrapping, metal fabrication, metal clay, and other distracting shiny objects."  Wayne is another Austin Artisan.

Sea of Tranquility - Stabilized Turquoise Wire Wrapped Pendant

Viking Knit Bracelet

Beautiful work, Wayne!

Visit their studios and be sure and tweet your favorite pieces!

Black To Basics

Thanks, Nora, for another collection from Artisans from Texas!