Monday, March 30, 2009

Shop update and we are now on Artfire

Well, it's been busy since I posted last week.

1. Six new designs are in the Etsy shop, a total of 62 items currently, and remember to check the sold items too, since many of these are available, just not yet relisted.

2. I've photographed and written descriptions for over 100 items for the supply store, I expect it will open this weekend. There really are some lovely items - I am so thrilled to be a channel for these gorgeous vintage materials. I have learned it takes some time to get items loaded into an online shop, so keep watching over time, there's lots of neat stuff!

3. I scored a Spring Showcase spot on Etsy on April 3, so Bumbershoot Designs will be featured that day, have a look! Look for the "Showcases" at the top of the Etsy main page.

4. We've just opened our second storefront on,, and I'm slowly loading items into that store. We will be hosting designs and supplies shops in both places, Etsy and Artfire. Artfire is an up-and-coming handcrafted, vintage and supply marketplace and we're glad to be a part of it. The one big advantage to Artfire that I can see for our customers is that you don't have to open an account or register to purchase. As all the shops open, you'll see them as direct links on the side of the blog. Also, Artfire will link selected items from the store directly to the blog, so I will be able to feature items directly here. Nifty!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Say it on your wrist

Come on let it rain, let it rain down on me
Let the rain touch my hands, let the rain set me free.

Since finding them, these words from Melissa Etherbridge have really resonated for me. When I took another class this week at Fusion Beads, I knew these would be the words I’d use.

The “Say It on Your Wrist” class with instructor Lindsay (thanks Lindsay!) creates a stamped sterling cuff bracelet. I love using words in my art and I’ve stamped into metal for some time now, separate from jewelry making purposes. It was interesting to apply this technique in a different way, and I learned much, about the character of really, really thick silver wire, antiquing, neat tools for punching holes and for bending metal. Silver is such a beautiful metal to work with. I could totally see wearing a whole stack of these bracelets, each stamped with a different quote, a child’s name, favourite words, inspiration. It was a fun class, and one that Fusion Beads offers regularly, if you are interested.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The lure of molten metal

I took a class last week in something I've always been interested in trying - soldering. Yes, soldering. There's just something about molten metal... Perhaps it began those long evenings decades ago, in the summer job spent partly in the foundry at General Motors.... Liquid, silvery metal, running like a river.

Well. Here's what I ended up with.

The metal really does melt and run silvery. Very cool. Also rather hard to control. I have a lot of respect for artists who incorporate this technique into their work. I don't think you will be seeing soldered items in Bumbershoot Designs too soon, since it would require technique development and right now we are focussed on continuing to load inventory into Designs and to get our Supplies shop open.

However it was a good evening out at Fusion Beads, with a great bunch of folks and fine teacher, thanks Sam! I've been so busy with Bumbershoot Designs, I had almost forgotten how good it is to take an evening off and do something just for fun!

So much fun, I'm going back for another class tonight. More on that later...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Quote the rain

I've located a fair number of quotes about rain, mentioning rain, or otherwise to do with rain. I'm going to post them at the top of the Bumbershoot Designs Etsy shop, and occasionally here. Let me know what you think. If you have any quotes you'd like to share, leave a comment.

Here's number 1:

Come on let it rain, let it rain down on me.
Let the rain touch my hands, let the rain set me free. ~Melissa Etheridge

And below: Natural Rain. It'll be posted in the shop Monday. And by the way, it's raining here in Seattle today....

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thank you and an Irish Blessing

Our first ever sale was a resounding success! Deep, heartfelt thanks to those of you who purchased, spread the word, and/or sent positive energy in our direction. We are great believers in the power of positive energy...

The beginning sales in a new venture are very, very special. This pendant below, inspired by our gorgeous rhododendron, was photographed by Jim and I remember we were so pleased with how the composition revealed the beautiful "rhodie" flower.

Bird Song, below, wins the prize as the most photographed piece of jewelry in our entire shop. It seemed like Jim took hundreds of photos of this one as he worked out our assorted lighting conditions.

Some of the components of Moon Viewing at the Japanese Garden, below, were given to me as a surprise gift, and it is great to be able to share this generosity.

One of the cool aspects to this sale is that customers were located nearby, so I was able to hand deliver many items. It was great to see the jewelry with the purchaser and to be able to meet and thank customers in person. I learned that Hummingbird, below, is going to a party...

And Crystal Clear, below, is well suited to professional meetings.

Thank you all again. As say the Irish:

May joy and peace surround you,
Contentment latch your door,
And happiness be with you now,
And bless you evermore.

Monday, March 16, 2009

St Patrick's Day Sale

Bumbershoot Designs is going to hold its first sale! Tomorrow, Mar 17, we will ship any and all of your purchases for free! 9 am until 9 pm Pacific time. We're listing new items in the shop today and through tomorrow.

We observe St. Patrick's Day because Jim's grandfather and namesake, James Cummins, was an Irish immigrant from Garrick-on-Shannon. He landed at Ellis Island, roomed in New York with Brian Mulroney (no, not the past Canadian Prime Minister, although all of us in-house Canadians loved the idea) and eventually made his way to Butte, Montana, where he was a well liked newspaperman.

We will be eating Jimmy's potato soup and soda bread tomorrow!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The pretties arrived

We received 2 large shipments of beautiful vintage items for Bumbershoot Supplies yesterday. I spent the day photographing, sorting, and measuring. Turns out that one smidge plus one pinch of 4mm vintage French sequins (see previous post) equals about 120 sequins. The rhinestones get measured by 1/2 teaspoon since they are larger. Oh the things I am learning...

Here are a few pictures to whet your appetite. It is so exciting to be able to make these items available. They are gorgeous, green since they are new old stock (NOS) vintage, and the perfect size for popular art forms such as ATCs (artist trading cards) and inchies. The pictures show some of the items with my own inchies for size comparison.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Inventory: keeping track of "the pretties"

Since my last post, and now that Bumbershoot Designs is open, I have been working hard to pull together all the supplies we have on hand already and that we have ordered for Bumbershoot Supplies, our companion store to open soon on Etsy. (Above, 1940's tiny coral sequins from Japan).

I had been keeping a rough sort of inventory of incoming items for my own purposes. But then I came across a great resource from another Etsy seller, Barbara at OldWaysPastPieces. Barbara put together a document called "Income, Inventory and Expenses for Merchandisers, Artists and Handcrafters". She offers the document as a PDF file, so I was able to have a permanent electronic copy of the document very quickly. The information in this document was invaluable. I reworked my spreadsheets and charts now I am confident I am tracking "in" and "out" in a way that will make sense for my internal purposes as well as for tax purposes. I have 2 large shipments of "pretties" arriving in the next day or two, and I'm ready!
(Below, celedon green vintage sequins from France).

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Faye Fuller: mountains, bloomers and chocolate

This is Faye Fuller, the woman to climb Mount Rainier (14,441 feet). She made the climb in 1890 when she was 20 years old. This photo comes from a book called "More Than Petticoats. Remarkable Washington Women" by LE Bragg, a book with fascinating stories about women in Pacific Northwest history. The photo shows Faye modeling what she wore to summit "the mountain". At the time, there was quite a lot of discussion about her “immodest” climbing attire. Faye seemed to take it all in stride. Faye's description of the mechanics of climbing Rainier over 100 years ago is mesmerizing. At one point she mentions that she put chocolates in the pockets of her blouse for ready snacks. "I put a good supply of chocolate in those pockets. You can imagine what happened when the sun came out hot on my back." Faye left hairpins at the summit.

You probably can't see it, but in my copy of the photo, if I look very closely, I can almost see earrings in her ears. That got me thinking, what kind of earrings would a proper young lady of 1890 wear to summit Mount Rainier?

Perhaps these?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

How to Buy on Etsy

Here’s some basic information on how shopping on Etsy works.

My first times purchasing on Etsy were confusing because I got two emails with each purchase, one from Etsy saying I’d bought something and one from PayPal saying I’d bought something. I now understand that Etsy provides a store front and acts as a shopping cart. Basically, you “reserve” your items on Etsy so they can’t be purchased by anyone else. The Etsy shopping cart allows you to tell the seller that you plan to purchase the item, how you plan to pay, and where the seller should ship it. If you have chosen to pay via PayPal or credit card, you can do that right away or do it later. I suspect most of us just proceed directly to pay online, following the prompts. But you don’t HAVE to, and often sellers will allow additional forms of payment, such as money order or cheque. Bumbershoot Designs accepts all forms of payment (see our Policies page for more details). If you choose to pay using a credit card, PayPal generates an email receipt.

You don’t have to have an Etsy account to window shop, but you do have to have one to buy. The seller needs to know who you are, your email address for any communications about the order and where you want the order shipped. Etsy does not require or ask for any financial information.

You do not have to have a PayPal account to pay via credit card. If you don’t have and don’t want to have a PayPal account, here is what to do: At the end of the Etsy order, when you say how you are going to pay, click on PayPal. After you submit your order to Etsy, this choice takes you to the PayPal window. There, look for the option to continue to pay without creating an account. On my monitor, these instructions are in very small print. PayPal wants you to create an account - it’s their business, and that’s OK, but you certainly don’t have to. Under this option, PayPal is the processor of the credit card payment, but you have not set up a PayPal account.

You can find more information on how to make Etsy purchases on Etsy’s site, here. If you have any questions about purchasing from Bumbershoot Designs, feel free to contact Sharon (contact information is here).

Friday, March 6, 2009

Spring serendipity

We use tins of beads to prop up the cards we use to display our necklaces and earrings in the shop. Very high tech! Emma saw and took these pictures during the process...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A good week so far

It has been an exciting and full week so far, a flurry of activity associated with getting our designs listed on Etsy, doing inventory in preparation for the supplies store, processing purchases for customers (yay!) and continuing to create new lovelies for the shop.

As part of my inventory process, I finally opened up a package of vintage pearls I'd purchased a while ago. Whoa! I had to STOP EVERYTHING and play with these beauties. These are the kind of treasures that make you gasp when you open them up. All the way from the 1940's, vintage Japanese, in a lustrous, creamy champagne color. Perfectly preserved, even after all these years. They are a larger size, 12 mm, and seem to really suit this dramatic presentation. Emma thought they looked like opera-going earrings, so we named them Wagner, after the Seattle Opera's production of Wagner's The Ring, which will occur again this August. The Ring is one of opera's rarest and biggest events, and "rare" and "big" seemed to describe these vintage pearls quite well.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Shop update

A short post today, just to touch base and show off some of the new items that have arrived and what we have done with them.

We got some vintage rhinestones on the weekend, in their original packaging.

There is this great anticipation as you open the crinkly, somewhat brittle paper, and unfold the tissue and sometimes the cotton that is inside. Like being the first person to open a treasure chest that has been sealed for a very long time... So exciting! Here is what we found in this treasure packet:

And here is what they turned into:

We have 24 jewelry designs uploaded to Etsy currently, with dozens more to go! Keep watching!