Thursday, March 24, 2011

Now the work begins...

I officially opened my etsy on Monday and have since been overwhelmed with the amount of new things
I need and want to learn. There are a lot of things that go into making a good online presence and I'm trying to figure everything out at once. It doesn't make for a very efficient learning experience, though, so I'm trying to focus on one thing at once.

I started with making a banner. My brother got a copy of Photoshop version 5 at a garage sale that I've been working with and attempting to learn. After several hours of poking around in the tools and some serious head scratching, I came up with these:

I read an Etsy how-to for sellers and that pointed me towards a website that has fonts for free (though not all are free for anything except personal use, I opted to go for ones that didn't have limitations on the way they can be used). In downloading new fonts I also had to learn how to add them to the correct folder so they could be accessed by the programs I wanted to use them in. More head scratching and googling were to be had. So, it took a long time and I'm not sure how I feel about the banners I ended up with. The first banner uses a picture I took at Arches in Utah and the second is a cropping from a picture I took of my dad's truck that my sister had stuck flowers through the rusted bits on the bed. I guess I'm going for a western and natural feel. These will undoubtedly change as I figure out what I'm doing. I chose to go with the second one because my gut said so.

So far I have posted 7 rings of the 20 some I've made already. Since they're rings that I haven't seen anywhere else I'm not sure how to get them to show up in searches. I doubt anyone will be looking for them specifically.

Once I can find some lingerie laundry bags I bought at a dollar store a long time ago I'm going to put one of my rings through the washing machine and see how it does. The cotton should hold up just fine but I'm not sure about the metal crimps. But, they put metal zippers on things all the time so in theory....they might could be just fine. The main concern I've heard about these rings have all been from my mom. She keeps asking me how they'll be kept clean. Since I don't expect people to live in bubbles I'm going to look into ways to clean them. Metal rings are definitely more dirt resistant than these but, like I said before, I haven't seen their kin anywhere else. They're unique or, at the least, very limited in their production.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I might be ready to officially start the shop! First, though, I have to decide on if I am going to finish my rings with a non-toxic and waterproof silicone based sealant or not. I could offer it as a finish to increase the ring's durability for a little bit extra as far as cost goes or they will all come that way. The only problem is that it gives the ring a wet look making the colors darker and it's possible to scratch off the coating. It behaves like a wax in that respect. My dad described the ring as feeling oily but it doesn't leave any residue on your hands when you touch it. It will, however, build up under your fingernails if you essentially play with it and scratch the coating off. I like the feel of it though, it's like a silicone based makeup primer I bought once; it feels slick without being greasy.  It also leaves the rings very pliable. I like it but feel like they’ll at least need to come with a warning on how they behave, like they’re waxed cotton that doesn’t leave residue.

My prototype ended up being the black hearts and red ring from my previous picture and now it looks like this:

 I don't know if you can tell the difference, my camera has a hard time picking up the detail on the rings. Actually, my camera has a lot of issues but I've found Picasa to be really helpful in color-correcting and fixing the amount of light in a photo to get the image as close to true to life as I can really quickly.

In other news I got a ring sizer so I can accurately size these as well as some handy dandy little baggies to package and keep them in like so:

Those rings are themed, if you read popular fiction you should recognize what they are and if you don’t it’s because I’m worse than I thought I was at color matching. Hint: They will be tagged in “geekery” and be named House Rings.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A beginning...

I am going to do it. Most definitely. After letting my Brave Turtle Creations Etsy shop lay dormant and all dejected like for two years I’m going to open it. I was still in college when I set it up and at the time thought I had a boringly easy semester ahead of me, as I am intolerant of boredom (possibly allergic) I was going to fill my down time with something that could potentially profit both my wallet and my general happiness in life.  This planning fell through because I forgot to take into account the fact that all my materials except for a large box of Costco colored pencils, some sketch paper and watercolor paper were in Oregon whereas I was in Utah. I’m not so great at the drawing bit so original pieces of pencil art were not really feasible. Regardless of the lack of materials my educational plans had changed and I gave myself a more than full time load of classes and projects. That’s generally how I operated at school. So the shop didn’t start besides the naming and page creation.
Originally I was going to do my first love of papier mache masks for my shop but I’ve been having difficulty locating all the proper materials to realize the designs bobbing around in my head. I also had some ideas for innovative ways to make them that I’d picked up and adapted from the classes I took in stage makeup. Special effects pieces were fun, if I’d had my head screwed on straight and some time to spare I would have delved into them a lot more than I could afford. Instead I’ll be using some similar techniques and a few of the same materials to make masks unlike those already on Etsy. My goal is to really get going on those sometime soon-ish.
   I don’t like doing things half heartedly which often results in my doing nothing. Well, I plan for that to stop. I have started to make hand knotted rings akin to the old school friendship bracelets I used to make in my preteen and early teen years. The prototypes look like this:
I’ve already constructed 22 rings which belong in 4 different collections (birds, flowers, hearts and dinosaurs). I ordered necessary supplies online to properly finish and accurately size these rings which I am now waiting for. They should be here around Monday or Tuesday and after I test some water and/or stain proof finishes that will be safe for constant ring-wearage but which will increase the durability and wearability of the rings I’ll start posting them to my shop. I have no idea if these things will sell. I know that just because I like them doesn’t mean anyone else will. Alas. Still, I’m going to try –especially since I haven’t seen their equal yet, only a few things vaguely similar. Doing something different has always had a strong appeal to me.
                Though it’s following in the footsteps of many a modern creative before me I’m starting this blog to share some stories behind these creations, some inspirations and indulge in some artsy babble from time to time. The pseudo academic may rear its nerdy overly-analytical head fairly often–just a warning.
P.S There will be changes to the design and layout of this blog when I get to figuring out how to do them.