Monday, July 25, 2011

Isn't this lovely?

I just received a piece of etching from Jerry at CreativeEtching on Etsy. He was experimenting with a new technique, using a picture I posted to Facebook and ran through the Cartoonize Your Photo application.


Here's the original picture:

Pink corset with black lace overlay

Make sure to take a wander through his shop - he's got oodles of other etched goodies:

Large Tentacle Etched Brass Ponytail Cuff


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Decadence in baking

A few months ago, a picture scrolled through my Facebook wall, of Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies stuffed with Oreos. I've been wanting to try this ever since, and today I finally did so, as I had the perfect excuse of a friend's 40th birthday party. You follow the standard Tollhouse recipe, except increase the baking time to 15 minutes. I formed the dough around each of the Oreos by hand, dusting my fingers with flour in between each cookie. There was very little spread in baking, resulting in thick chewy delights with a surprise chocolatey crunch.

Oreo stuffed chocolate chip cookies

Okay, where's my milk?


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Who's looking at your ArtFire shop?

One of the most important things for an online business is finding out from where your business is coming! There are various free programs for blogs and websites that you can use to monitor activity. I use Blog Patrol here, which gives me a blog counter as well as stats on where my traffic originates.

Their stats page tells me the number of hits my blog has gotten for each day of the current week, as well as in what hours of the day those hits occurred. It also gives me a summary of pages that were visited and the referrer sites, or how my viewers found my blog. Plus they give some nice visualizations of some of the stats, too.



Funny how searches on some of these things have brought people to my blog, eh?

ArtFire has a built-in stats feature for your shops. It's easy to find, from either your home menu or your Studio tab.



Once you're there, it gives you the number of shop and item views you've gotten overall (circled in red). I keep track of mine in a spreadsheet so I can calculate daily views. It also gives you incoming item (1) and studio (2) URLs. If you hover over the truncated links in this section, it'll give you the whole link in a pop-up. This is good because for the search engine links, it'll give you the keywords that someone used. Keywords are good! Keywords are your friend.


Plus, there's (3) - if you click on the links fore each of the items listed in this section, it'll show you all the incoming links for every one of them. It's almost TMI, but not really, because every little bit helps when you're trying to make your shop stand out in the wide wide web world.

Why is this all important, and why should you care about all this information? Being able to see if I have incoming links from social media, or from a website on which I'm running an ad, and being able to compare the number of hits I get to days or weeks when I'm not doing lots of promo activities lets me know if my efforts are paying off. Plus knowing what people are searching for will help me tailor my listing titles and descriptions, to make me more findable.

So go forth and check your stats. Do you know where your business is coming from? You should!


Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Ruby - July's Birthstone

The word ruby comes from the Latin “ruber,” which means red. They are a form of corundum, a mineral with a hardness of 9 on the Mohs’ scale of mineral hardness.

Red Garnet Madagascar Ruby Neo Victorian Choker

Red corundum is called ruby, and sapphires are blue corundum. Rubies are thought to have magical powers, and have been worn by countless members of royalty as protection against evil.

Red Ruby Faceted Teardrop Briolette Silver Petal Earrings

Rubies come from India, Madagascar, Thailand, Zimbabwe, North Carolina, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Tanzania, Kampuchea, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Burma.

Katherine handmade earrings - red ruby and sterling silver

The first lasers were made from lab-grown rubies!

Ruby Garden - Matte Finish Silver Floral Earrings with Ruby Teardrop Dangle Earrings

Rubies can be any shade from pink to red.

Ruby and Calcite Sterling Bangle

The most sought after are known as “pigeon blood rubies.”

Ruby Pigeon Blood Red .61 carat pear AAA Color

Rubies are commonly found in a zoisite matrix, deep green accenting the lush reds.

Ruby in Zoisite necklace with Garnets on Sterling Silver Wire

A stone of fire, perfect for a warm summer month!


Friday, July 1, 2011