Wishing all my customers and friends all the best for the holidays, and for 2008. Thank you for making 2007 so special! Thank you for all your kind words, and for supporting me in my artistic endeavors. I appreciate it!
Monday, December 24, 2007
Wishing all my customers and friends all the best for the holidays, and for 2008. Thank you for making 2007 so special! Thank you for all your kind words, and for supporting me in my artistic endeavors. I appreciate it!
Monday, December 17, 2007
For more information, or to buy this wind chime, Click Here.
Every year it seems people wait a little longer for their online holiday shopping. It got pretty crazy at the end of last week, and over the weekend. That's great, as I always need money for groceries and the dog has to go to the vet today for his (expensive) shots and check-up. But it certainly is a bit stressful to have to pack and ship super fast, and then have another order come in, and have to pack and ship again. There are little things that add to the fun. Like now I always include a gift of my copper earrings, and I never have enough of those made in advance. So I need to run out to my wet workshop and pound out a pair in the rain, and then scamper back inside. Then another order comes through, and it's back out to make another pair of earrings!
Last year some people who received my work as a gift took the time to email me a thank you note. I found that remarkable. I don't think anyone writes to the Sony Corporation, to thank them for their video camera! It was really sweet to get those emails, and to know that I had helped to make Christmas special for some people. Most stuff falls apart, gets outdated, stops working, but I know my wind chimes play on.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
There is also currently a special offer. When you buy two wind chimes, you get 50% off a second wind chime of equal or less value. You also save a lot on combined postage, so this is a really great deal!
Here is the new homepage:
And here are the wind chimes currently available:
To visit the site, click on either of the images above, or Click Here. Enjoy!
Sunday, December 09, 2007
For the first time I am using some of the large 'shooter' marbles that have been accumulating over the years. Most often, in each small bag of marbles I buy, there is one large marble~ a shooter. I've obviously bought a lot of bags of marbles! These beautiful wind chimes are available for instant purchase in my eBay store, or on the neat arts and crafts site, Etsy. They are very well made. The red cedar box frames, chime roundels and windsails have been treated with an exception eco-friendly tung nut oil finish. A beach stone clapper sounds great against the five heavy copper chimes. A treat for the eyes, and the ears.
A very busy, productive day, yesterday, despite the cold weather. So cold, sometimes I lost all feeling in my hands. One can't wear gloves when using a table saw, or sanding, and I do all that sort of work outside, in unheated space. Not to complain, but I sure wish it was (a lot) warmer. This morning, it's snowing again!
Yesterday illustrates well just how varied my days often are. Cutting cedar, cutting copper, sanding, brad nailing, soldering, cleaning plate glass, selecting glass, applying tung nut oil, cutting roundels, taking pictures, computer work, answering emails. Tools used: sander, table saw, jig saw, drill press, brad nailer, camera, computer. Oh~ and the wood stove might count as a tool yesterday, for thawing out my hands!
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Many exceptional works available for instant purchase (or make an offer!) in my eBay store. Or why not check out Etsy~ a wonderful arts and crafts site where I also have many items available. There is also a very special offer available on my own website~ buy one wind chime, and get a second one of equal or less value for 50% off! A one-of-a-kind art wind chime or suncatcher makes a very special and memorable gift.
Please remember~ these ship from Canada, and shipping can take a little longer. Most often shipments arrive at their destination is about ten days. Sometimes things do get hung up at the border, and take even longer. To be safe, you should order in the very near future.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Here is the medium size one, with my beach glass inspired glass:
To view or purchase this one, Click here.
Finally, we have early snow this year. It's pretty and nice for hiking, but tough for working, as I do almost all my work outside. Cold! Here is a picture taken this morning through one of our new skylights~
Sunday, November 25, 2007
At last I had time to put together a few large works. Above, a natural Pacific beach stone freestanding double wind chime. Below, a natural Pacific driftwood double wind chime. Both are suited to year round outdoor use, or consider using them indoors as kinetic art.
For more information, or to make an offer, for the stone Click here, for the driftwood, Click here.
Friday, November 09, 2007
At last, I have taken the time to update the site. And I cut it way, way down. I now feature only wind chimes. A nice selection! And for those who read my blog, a special deal! Buy two, and pick a third for equal or less value and receive it for free!* You can email through this blog, or through my website, if you have questions. By the way, you also save some dollars with combined shipping for several items. With the holiday season coming up fast, and shipping taking longer from Canada, act now. Three for the price of two? What more can you ask for?
So check out my new, simplified, improved website by clicking here. Thank you!
*offer valid from November 9 through December 12, 2007
Monday, November 05, 2007
The new giant chime natural beach stone wind chime. Sometimes, you just have to go back to the drawing board. See below for the previous version. For more information or to buy this wind chime, click here.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
Recently someone wanted one of my wind chimes, but very large. As it happened, I had such a wind chime down at the bottom of my driveway as part of an address sign. It had been there for several years, and the copper had aged beautifully to an old penny color. I brought it in, took a few pictures, and also took some pictures of it hooked onto a large piece of driftwood I had. While the person who had written was making up their mind, someone else bought it.
That was a good thing, as it turned out the first fellow actually really wanted the chime to be verdigris. Also, that the old penny chime sold so quickly showed me that I should work more with these large chimes~ that there is a market for them.
I invested in a couple of lengths of this (Very) expensive large diameter copper, and got to work. It's always a pleasure working for someone who wants something amazing, but who does not know exactly what, as I appreciate a free hand when it comes to design. And I was not worried that he would not like what I put together, because I knew someone else would, and it would sell. As it turned out, he loved what I put together, and so I'll pack it today, and ship it tomorrow.
I'm exceptionally proud of how over the years I have developed the skills to be able to take an abstract idea ('I want a really large wind chime, maybe with something interesting on top'), and turn it into a concrete finished object of beauty. The longer I do this work, the more I like it.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
I plan to make several works with these chimes. Perhaps one with a big rounded beach stone on top, and one with a big slab of driftwood.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
The first wind chime sold off a site called Etsy. If you have never explored this arts and crafts site, it is well worth having a look. My own corner of Etsy can be found by clicking here.
Etsy seems to be increasingly popular for both artists and art collectors. It is the only site I have found (and I have tried many), outside of Ebay and my own website, with much action as far as sales. It is also a very user friendly site, both for browsing and for listing things for sale.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Destiny? One of my earliest childhood memories is from a family vacation to a northern lake in Wisconsin. There I found what to me was something extremely beautiful and valuable: a piece of driftwood. I took it back home and treasured it deeply.
When we moved to Vancouver Canada, that piece of wood came with me. I well remember frequently polishing it. How I loved that wood! It was so smooth, the grain was so interesting.
A little later, there was a radio show in Vancouver where people could phone in and offer whatever for sale (obviously way, way before the internet!). People would phone and describe their washing machine or their chair, and others could get in touch to buy the item. Well, I phoned and offered my driftwood for sale ($5.00). It seems to me the guy running the show had quite a chuckle.
But here I am, 40 years later, selling driftwood. Destiny?
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Talk about pretty wind chimes! Beach glass inspired with copper chimes, a beach stone clapper, and tung nut oiled red cedar. For more information, or to bid, Click Here.
After getting burnt on last week's auction (see below), you'd think I would have learned a lesson and tossed in the towel on these listings starting at .99 cents. Nope.
This week I started two auctions at .99 cents! Looking for pain, I guess.
The fact is, this is pretty much the slowest time of the year for me, just before the holiday rush (which I sure hope is coming soon!). But the bills keep coming in. Poor pup had a little run in with some poison, and that vet bill needs paying. And the family for some strange reason still wants to eat, even when things are not selling well. So I persist with the .99 cent listings, and cross my fingers that this time things will go better.
Why not grab the chance to get a bit of a bargain? Especially since almost certainly in a month or so, things will be flying out the door for way more money. If past years are anything to go by, soon the bidding and buying will go nuts. Can't wait!
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Huh~ I had a neat little flash thing here showing a listing from eBay, but the auction ended a long time ago, and the player showed... nothing. So I decided to revise and show the neat little earrings I make and give to customers. Whenever anybody orders anything at all, I always include a free set as a little thank you gift. Sometimes the emails I get lead me to believe the customer is as excited to receive the earrings as the windchime!
Only a little more than a day to go, and such a low price? Looks bad for me. Good for some lucky bidder. Oh well, things can change in a day. I hope so. (things did change~ I got an okay price~-- updated March 1, 2008)
Saturday, October 06, 2007
Thursday, October 04, 2007
I already get too many emails from nice people wishing they could afford my work. So this is unpleasant. But I need to feed the dog, and the family, and that means raising prices.
I just wrote to those on my mailing list letting them know this, and giving them about a week's notice. Maybe some want to do some early holiday shopping, before the big increase. I guess I will have to raise most prices about 20%~ split the difference.
The drop in the dollar also means that I need to increase my shipping. I am currently loosing about 5-10 dollars way to often. Wish I did not have to do this, but it is reality.
Friday, September 28, 2007
Detail images of the top sections of two of my latest series of double sided painted wind chimes. The colorful designs are reverse painted on thick glass, and all the color is well sealed on the inside of the glass~ weatherproof!
I love these, and always think it's almost like two wind chimes for the price of one! Each has a fine handcrafted set of copper chimes with a beach stone clapper~ great sound!
For more information, or to purchase, click here.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Friday, September 21, 2007
Sure enough: I loved my Nano... for a week. Then I hated it. Here’s why.
I haven’t been a fan of music since my teen years. I would sooner always hear a radio show or, preferable, sweet silence. Sweet silence isn’t really silence, since I have thoughts running through my mind. At some point after my teen years I realized that music interferes with that process. But I was willing, even eager, to give music another chance.
Also, the iPod book mentioned these things called podcast, and they sounded right up my alley. I guess the theory is that anyone can be a radio host, right, and so all these people make all these shows, and they are available for free. Sounded interesting, since I like talk, and I don’t have much chance to listen to the radio or television talk shows. Well, let me tell you right off that while maybe ‘anyone can make a show’, unless you enjoy a couple of morons droning on and on about nothing, most of these homemade ‘shows’ are worth considerably less than you pay for them (they are free, by the way).
So I decided to try music again. I loaded my iPod with a whole bunch of songs, set it to shuffle, and let the beat go on.
I thought this was pretty cool~ for about a week. Then it started to happen.
Then it started to happen a lot.
The ‘tunes’ would intrude on my thoughts, even without the contraption. On my daily one hour hikes I would leave the machine at home, but instead of a wonderful, peaceful moment in the forest where my own thoughts could sort through my head, some stupid refrain from some stupid song would start playing over and over in my mind. Oh yeah, baby, heading down that long and lonesome highway! There was no way to turn this noise off.
Before long, these song snippets were constantly intruding on my thoughts. Annoying! My own thoughts and ideas may be none to brilliant; but they are my thoughts, and important to me. With this line or that of some song playing on a loop in my mind, I was being robbed of my own thoughts.
I wonder how many other people have found this, and how many are bothered by it. My guess is that many people experience this, but that since they have always been listening to music, they just assume it’s normal. Believe me, if you frequently have some song snippet playing through your mind, I think you are missing out on something of real value: your own thoughts.
I was so happy to give my iPod away (aside from a little guilt-- feeling a bit like I was giving a bag of smack to some innocent kid!). It took over a month, but finally I am free of all those stupid lyrics trespassing on my thoughts. Once again, when I go on a hike, when I am working, when I am living, I am free of that noise in my head. Well, almost free. Once in a while, one of those lyrics still pops by to annoy me-- to remind me how nice it is to no longer have that stupid iPod with all its noise.
You may believe that music adds a lot to your life, and you are more than welcome to believe that. I believe it is like a drug, numbing one’s brain, interfering with thoughts that might be important to think about-- thoughts that might be more important than the sound of some guy droning on. A catchy tune? I’d sooner catch a cold.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Not so long ago, for $1000 US I would get around $1600 Canadian. So it was a real sweet deal.
Yesterday for the very first time, I got less in Canadian dollars than I exchanged. Oh, how I miss the good ol' days! Combine that blow with the 300% plus increase in copper prices, and it looks like before long I will yet again have to raise my prices. Either that, or stop eating. Ouch.
Monday, September 03, 2007
After so many years I still can't figure out eBay auctions. Like this one. Usually, this wind chime would go for somewhere between $130 - $180 dollars, but here it is, well into the auction, and only at $31. What's with that?
On the other hand, most often I have only around 10 'Watchers' (people who use the eBay system to bookmark an auction), but for this one there are currently 46. So either all those folks are watching to have a good laugh when I get burnt, and the auction closes at a very low price, or maybe things will get interesting towards the end. I hope for the latter.
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
But unless I remember to invite Yukon inside before starting, invariably he will stand right there, ball ready, clearly saying: 'Hey, how about a game of fetch?" Good idea Yukon, but bad timing. Aside from the half hour or so I have of good light, I'm always pleased to be reminded that it should not all be work, work, work~ life's short so don't forget to play. I could go on and on about this, but I have to go out and toss a few balls for the dog.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Recently a happy customer wrote that she was amazed at the work and attention to detail that went into my wind chimes. Before receiving it she knew it was a nice looking chime, but had no idea of the care I put into it:
' I really think in this "fast food, get it right now, instant gratification" society we live in, most people have NO IDEA of the time and effort you put into your designs... ...I think if people had a "black and white" idea of how even the smallest of details on your wind chimes receives careful consideration and thought, that they would quickly realize that they can't
afford to NOT have one of your pieces! '
I think she is right, and put together the picture above with some details of what I do. It's not the whole picture, but it provides a glimpse of the care I take, both in design and construction.
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Friday, June 08, 2007
Thanks to an extremely sharp-eyed and thoughtful customer, who was kind enough to share her thoughts, I have now radically changed the look of my chimes. For years I have made them with a double-brushed mat finish. No more. The customer was right. Same great sound, same beach stone clapper, but now even prettier. They are richer and more elegant looking with a shiny, polished finish. Thanks for the wonderful idea, Kim!
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Friday, May 25, 2007
Etsy is a neat, upbeat arts and crafts site. I've always wanted to be on their homepage (who wouldn't?), but that's like winning the lottery. Well, what do you know, I made it tonight. Nice way to start the weekend.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Monday, May 21, 2007
Thursday, May 17, 2007
99 Cent listing on eBay!
So I think I am addicted to 99 cent auctions. This is the third week I've run one, and this is one of the nicest yet.
This wind chime usual resides in my eBay store for $225.50, but I have just listed it for 99 cents on eBay. Learn more about it, or bid, by clicking here.
Monday, May 14, 2007
The auction itself is still at a very low price. But with that number of people watching, things could get interesting. I hope so. I just bought $900 of copper.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
My niubium copper-colored ear wires came~ and they are Great! Do you know about niubium? It's the latest and the greatest in hypoallergenic metals. These are just perfect for my cold forged copper earrings. I'm pleased with these earrings~ people who see them want them!
As a way to say 'thank you,' I'm giving a set to each customer who orders $150 or more of my work. It's always nice to find a little something extra in the box.
They are also for sale on eBay.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Monday, May 07, 2007
I know how sad it would be to open a box of broken glass, so I take great care. I've learned over the years, and haven't had anything break now in over four years. Part of that is investing in great packing materials. I use a lot of sill foam, which at over $8.00 a roll adds to my expenses, but it is perfect for my glass.
I also know that the first impression on my customers will be the box I ship in. So I go to extra trouble to have the outside look neat and clean. I'm not sure, but guess maybe that helps things slide smoothly across the border, too.
My $255 cobalt blue beach glass inspired wind chime with cold forged connectors and hook is still way too low ($41!) on eBay. Why not add something amazing to your yard this Spring? See this wind chime by clicking here.
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Perhaps I was not too bright to start the auction at 99 cents. This is easily a $250 wind chime. Alas, there it is at $41, with the clock ticking. Now that's just plain silly.
Saturday, May 05, 2007
I've never been so busy, so rushed. Seems like just the other day, things were too slow, too few orders coming in, almost not enough to do. Then, all of a sudden, swamped. So much I need to make, so much to pack. So this morning it was not that I was exactly rushing the cutting of some new windsails, it was more that my mind was elsewhere. I think I was trying to figure out the best way to pack these heavy beach stones which form the base of a freestanding wind chime.
Just a fraction of a second, one stupid movement. There was a small end that I had cut from one of the windsails and it was in the way. I went to flick it, and the noise and pain told me I had done something really, really stupid. Yep, I got my thumb into the blade.
Well, I can't tell you how happy I was when I looked and saw most of my thumb still there. Lots of blood, and the side and quite a chunk of the end gone, but something like that, it's easy to loose the whole thing. So I was really relieved.
My son drove me down to the emergency department, and they cleaned it up, gave me a tetanus shot, and a fancy bandage. I was back at work in less than two hours. It's a little awkward working with this fat bandage, but you can believe I realize how much more awkward it would be without any thumb at all. I'm happy!
Thursday, May 03, 2007
It's one of my nicest wind chimes ever. Maybe others will see that, and bid. If not, please send Kleenex.
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Now I am thinking of repeating the experiment with the cobalt blue wind chime pictured above. I'm not sure yet, as I would be even more anxious about this one. Cobalt blue is not everyone's favorite. On the other hand, those who like it tend to fiercely like it.
Blue glass is the most difficult to work with~ along with frosty white. It's tough to achieve a nice smooth mat finish without the glass getting too thin. It also tends to fracture in undesirable ways when sculpting or cutting. So most often I price my blue glass works higher, to reflect these challenges. Starting this one on auction for 99 cents would be pretty scary.
A customer in England bought one not quite as nice for $270. She then had to pay $75 postage. A further blow was that she got hit with heavy taxes for importing it (something my US customers never have had to deal with). Still, she was absolutely thrilled with her wind chime.
So I'm pondering whether to list this at 99 cents to try and stir more excitement, or let it sit until the right person comes along. I'll think about that for a couple more days.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Oh boy... I may have made a Big Mistake.
I just listed this wind chime, for which my usual price is $177.50, at .99 cents. This could be bad. This could wreck my week. What a fool.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
But once I had my own site up and running, I entered the mind boggling world of search engine optimization, or SEO as those in the field call it. Those not in the field, or who only dabble like me, might more often refer to it as ABN, or A Bloody Nightmare. ABN is the art / science / shot-in-the-dark of using text, mega tags, and design to have your site reach higher and higher on the search engine indexing results for important key search words. Important stuff, because if your site is not found, it might as well not exist.
After three months, I have been fairly happy with the steady indexing improvements for my site on Yahoo and MSN Search, but distressed by the indexing, or lack of, on Google. For a month or so, things seemed to be improving, and then, bang, something happened and I lost most of the progress I had been making on Google. That stinks. It doesn't seem right that unless you have a PhD. in SEO, or hire some company for hundreds of dollars, you can so easily fall off the search results.
That got me looking at other search engines. There is a very cool new one that has totally wowed me. It's called hakia. It's different, and it's Great! If you haven't tried haikia, I highly recommend giving it a whirl.
Hakia is now my favorite search engine. And yes~ from a quick look, I like how my site seems to be indexed there. And no, this is not a 'paid for' posting.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Most often I know all too well when the light is wrong, and that I should not be taking pictures. This happens after just completing a piece, and being so excited (yes, still, after all these years!) I go ahead and take pictures. I know the best light to show off my work~ late afternoon as the sun sets, or a little earlier on an overcast day. Too early, and everything is too bright. A little late, and everything is too dark. So there is a fairly narrow window of opportunity for the best pictures. But in my enthusiasm for a new work, I sometimes can't resist.
Often I end up going back and retaking pictures. Sometimes I am horrified by how poor the first pictures were~ no big surprise that the wonderful new piece didn't immediately sell!
After dropping my beloved old Olympus D-250 three times, it finally broke two years ago. After trying out several cameras, I chose a Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ2, and love it. The macro function is fantastic, and it has this steady shot business which helps to compensate for a wobbly hand. Often I hold a big light in one hand, so taking dozens of pictures with one hand, this anti-shake function saves the day.
Yep, pictures eat time. But they sure are important.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Well, I may have to raise my prices, or people will start buying my work just to strip the copper!
Friday, April 13, 2007
First, using counters and other statistical gathering tools, you know how many people are seeing your work, and even where and when they are looking, and for how long they look and read. If you have only a few visits a day, you know you need to figure out better ways to get your work 'out there.' If you have hundreds or thousands of visitors, and no one buys, you know you may have a problem with the work itself, or with the price. Either way, this is valuable information you never get from dropping things off at a store, where your work may not be displayed well, or perhaps the store is just not a busy place.
Second, and even better, selling on the internet brings comments, suggestions, ideas: Inspiration. Some of my very best ideas have sprung from a comment or question. How valuable is that? Extremely, and, once again, you just don't get that through a store.
Finally, and perhaps sweetest of all, are all the people who take the time to simply email and compliment your work. What a pleasure to wake and, with the first cup of morning coffee, read several emails from people who simply had to write and say how they love what you have done, how one day they hope to own something, how something impressed them so much. This past Winter, many a cold, wet, dreary morning has been brightened for me by such emails. You don't get that by dropping your work off at store.
So internet appreciation ~ Yes!