Archive for October, 2008

Some Fun Halloween Crafts For your Viewing Pleasure

Orchid by Sfbeads $35

Check out this darling handmade decoration, prefect for fall home decorating. Orchid stands about 8 inches high, and is sure to put a smile on the face of everyone this Halloween!

Click here to view the item for sale on

Fall Pumpkin Pincushion by Verybigjen $20

This handmade pincushion is custom made when you order it to be completely one-of-a-kind! Great for Halloween, fall, or just anytime you’re doing needlecrafts.

Click here to view the item for sale on

Halloween Lampwork Glass Beads – Pumpkins 4 Candy Corn by beadsnsuch $20

This bracelet looks good enough to eat! It’s 100% handmade of Moretti, Lausha and Czech glass. A great treat for any child or adult!

Click here the view the item for sale on

Autumn Handmade Fall greeting Card by Kards $2.5

This blank greeting card was specially made to encompass the feeling of fall. Send it to someone to wish them a Happy Halloween, Thanksgiving, or just to let them know you’re thinking of them.

Click here to view the item for sale on

Looking for more festive goodies? Check out our seasonal crafts section.

Thanks for reading, and have a Happy Halloween everyone!



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Three Tips to Running a Green Business

Managing a green crafts business can be good for both the planet and for your wallet. Listed below are 3 easy moves that will help turn your artisan business into an eco-friendly one without forcing you to change your working style.

Shut off your electric equipment when you’re not using it. Countless fax machines, copiers, and personal computers remain powered on overnight around the world. Turning off your electrics when you’re finished working can help cut your energy use by 50%.

Recycle your paper. Most businesses throw out old printer paper by the masses on a daily basis—don’t make the same mistake! While some papers hold sensitive material, most of the waste generated is just ordinary paper. Try tossing old documents into the recycling can rather than the trash can whenever you can. If recycling isn’t possible for your home business, try double siding documents to save what paper you can.

Buy paper made from recycled materials. It is just as good as ordinary copy paper, and it is more environmentally friendly. Sure, it may look a little different, but since most documents you print will be used for business filing, who cares what color that paper is?

I hope these tips have helped you to run your artisan business the green way! For more information on going green, be sure to check out Art Daily’s Green Wise section for updates on green living.

Happy crafting, and remember to buy handmade!


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Remember Safety First This Halloween

So you’ve added the finishing touches on your children’s handmade Halloween outfits, you’ve put out the healthy Halloween treats for visitors, so what else do you need to do to make sure your family has a happy Halloween this year? Most parents know better than to let their children treat-or-trick alone or eat unusual candy, but in the rush of the holiday, people usually overlook a few significant safety precautions. Listed below is some helpful advice for a fun and safe Halloween with your family this year.

1. You and the kids should eat a complete dinner before going out trick-or-treating. This way you and your children will be less likely to pig out on candy. You’ll also need your stamina for showing off your cute artistic costumes to the neighborhood, and a full meal can provide you with the energy you need.

2. Make sure you and your kids wear particular shoes. Trick-or-treating generally allows for a lot of as you parade from home to home. And while sneakers might not go with your specially made costume, you’ll thank yourself for choosing comfortable footwear as the night progresses. Save the six inch witches’ boots for the costume party, wear something reasonable on your feet.

3. If your pet is going out with you (perhaps even wearing his or her own handmade Halloween outfit), make sure that they are on their lease at all times. While your pet may be used to running freely about, on Halloween night there’s probably going to be lots of other animals and people out trick-or-treating that your pet is doesn’t know. This can result in your pet getting frightened and responding in uncontrollable ways (running away, getting aggressive with another pet). So please keep in mind that even if your animal is the nicest, kindest soul to ever grace the earth, for your pet’s own well-being and the well-being of others, use a lease!

4. Always walk with your kids from house to house—don’t let them run. Children can get overly excited on this sugar-filled holiday, causing them to run around carelessly. This can result in them bumping into objects, falling down, or getting involved in other accidents (especially when it’s dark out). Make sure they remain near you and always on the sidewalk. Don’t cut across lawns or driveways, which are often poorly lit at night.

I hope you found these tips to be useful! Thanks for reading, and remember to buy handmade this season to support local artists!

Click here to see the fun holiday crafts ArtFire members have made.


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Some Helpful Advice for Starting Your Own Internet Arts and Crafts Business

When you run your own internet crafts business, you get all the benefits of being your own boss while profiting from a hobby you enjoy. But naturally, this isn’t as easy as it sounds. Many artisans struggle for success in their home businesses, and listed below are a few helpful tips to aid you in running a profitable internet crafts business.

Where to List Your Handmade Crafts

There are several ways you can go about selling your crafts online. The most obvious is to purchase a URL and start your own website. However, there are some not so obvious drawbacks to this plan. For one, if you have no knowledge of graphic design or website design, setting up your own site can be extremely challenging. In addition, when you start your own website, your page rank on Google is at zero, meaning it’s rather difficult for internet shoppers to find your page. Lastly, you are completely unknown to shoppers, so they have no reason to trust the quality of your products and services. Why would they buy from you, when they could just as easily buy from a major internet corporation they trust and have experience with?

An alternative to making your own site is to register as a seller on an internet trading site, such as eBay or Esty. These sites have a high page rank and offer security to buyers. However, both of these sites charge a listing fee and take a percentage of your profits, so there’s some risk involved. Many crafters who are just getting started in internet sales have a hard time selling initially, and still have to pay site fees to both of these sites regardless of if their products sell. However, there are free listing sites which allow artisans to list their handmade goods completely free of charge. With, basic members are charged no fees to list their handmade goods, and receive 100% of the profits they make selling. This is probably the most risk free option to sell your craft items online.

Pricing Your Handmade Goods

Since you’re listing your own handcrafted work, the pricing of your items is completely up to you. As one would imagine, cheaper items sell faster, but you don’t want to price your items too low—they’re your handmade crafts, after all. Think about the time you spent on that item, the cost of the materials, and how the item would look to an average internet shopper. If you’re having difficulty deciding what would be a good price, try looking at similar items listed in the marketplace by browsing other listing sites, such as ones offered above. If you’re having trouble selling your crafts, lowering the price or putting your items on sale could help.

Promoting your Craft Shop

One of the most important elements to selling online is getting your handmade goods noticed by the internet community. There’s a lot of competition in the craft marketplace, and you want your products to stand out from the rest. Get the message out there; let people know you’re selling your handmade goods. Try listing your shop URL on any other sites or blogs you might manage as well in your email signature. There are dozens of places where you can add a link to your artisan shop, all you have to do is look!

Good luck artisans, and thank you for being a part of the Buy Handmade Movement!


Check out the ArtFire Artisan Marketplace and Support local Artisans!

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A Look Inside Jay Walker’s Library

Photo: Andrew Moore, Wired Magazine

Does your craft or hobby room look anything like this? Heck, maybe it should! The photo above is from Jay Walker’s personal library, designed to encourage creativity and imagination. The internet entrepreneur’s private library contains 3,600 sq. ft and three levels of the rare and unusual, according to Wired Magazine.

Rather than simply setting aside a room in his home for the library, Walker designed the house around his library.  This is his artistic center, his inspirational haven, his imagination port. Here, one is completely surrounded by collectables and informational materials which changed the ways people think.

On one wall, you’ll find a framed napkin from 1943, on which President Franklin D. Roosevelt sketched out his plan to win World War II.  On the table is a 300 million-year-old raptor skeleton, posed next to a field tool kit from the Civil War. Across the room sits a tree-bark Indonesian guide to basic cannibalism, with a Middle Eastern stone goddess figure from 5000 BC resting on top.  And let’s not forget Sputnik, which is hanging gracefully from the ceiling.

But Walker doesn’t collect rare and valuable items just for the sake of doing so. Many of the books in his library are reprints, and many of the strange items in his library are too unusual to be worth much to other collectors. Rather, Walker prefers to collect objects that changed how people think about the world around them. His philosophy is if so many advancements can be made in human thought within our existence on this earth, then anything is possible.

Walker made his fortune by founding Walker Digital, a company which turns out ideas and patents, best known for the popular  And while a three story craft studio might be a bit out of most artisans’ budget constraints, everyone can learn a thing or two from Walker’s library. Many crafters place their art space in a tiny corner of their house, pushed away from central living areas. What does this signal about their hobby? That it is just a hobby, rather than a way of life.  While people often balance crafting in with family, work, and a social life, generally it is craft projects that take the smallest priority. Take a few tips from Walker, don’t push your interests and passions off to the side. Give them the appreciation they deserve, and take your crafts seriously!

Click here to see what some of the crafters at ArtFire are creating in their studios!

Or click here to read the full article on Jay Walker’s library.


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The Free Flow of Ideas and Research in the Scientific Community

Research on glowing jellyfish proteins can lead to new developments in cancer research and treatment. It also earned Osamu Shimomura, Roger Tsien and Martin Chalfie the Nobel Prize in chemistry. Image from the Los Angeles Times.

Important contributions to society cannot be crafted by one individual. Rather, they are a group project, developed and created by a body of hard working individuals, rather than just the few that get the credit. This is true in the art world just as it is true in the science world. And no one knows this better than Douglas Prasher.

In 1988, Prasher was at the top of chemistry research society. His work on jellyfish proteins helped secure Roger Tsien and Martin Chalfie the 2008 Nobel Prize in chemistry, according to an article posted by the Cape Cod Times. But today, Prasher makes his living driving a courtesy shuttle.

But at age 56, Prasher regrets nothing. After his grant had ran out, Prasher willing gave his research and samples to his associates Chalfie and Tsien. The men continued his work, and were offered the Nobel Prize last week with their associate Osamu Shimomura after perfecting a technique to help isolate and track cancer cells in the human body using a glowing jellyfish protein.

Although he has helped gain his friends and fellow scientists wealth and fame, Prasher was happy to help. He thinks only of the larger impact his work will have on cancer research and treatment.

This kind of selflessness is something that everyone can aspire to. Whether you’re an artisan or a scientist, a craftsman or a researcher, you can understand the importance of the free sharing of ideas for the common good.

Click here to read the whole article.

Or click here to check out my Behind the Beta Blog.


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Surviving this Recession

This picture shows a woman in the great depression displaying one of her handmade quilts at a local fair. Many people do not think of the 1930s as being in color, since most pictures are in black and white. Those times were bleak, work was scarce, and life was difficult. All these things are expressed in this women’s hard expression. And now, nearly 80 years after this photo was taken, America is facing the possibility of yet another depression.

Let’s face it: the stock market is the toilet. Reporters this morning were throwing around the term “Black Friday” as the Dow Jones dipped below 9,000 points. Markets around the world are starting to go down, and many financial advisers say that this is only the beginning of a global recession, possibly even a global depression.

The truth is, as much as these experts and reporters claim, no one knows for sure what will happen. People begin to panic, and wonder what can be done to survive the recession.

To help our failing economy, Americans should invest in handmade goods from local sellers. When you make the choice to buy handmade, you’re helping another struggling average American citizen, rather than a wealthy CEO of an overseas manufacturing company. Your money is going to another person, who is facing the same kind of financial problems that you are.

And when you buy from local sellers, your money is going back into our economy, which aids in its recovery. Let’s be honest, our economy needs all the help it can get right now. Don’t send your money overseas to buy poorly made overpriced items. One of the reasons our economy is suffering stems from Americans are buying goods from China and India, instead of helping sellers here at home. Choose now to invest you money here, where it’s needed.

If you decide to buy handmade products over mass produced ones, you’re not just helping average citizens, you’re getting a finely made product at a lower price. Handmade items are proven to last longer and be more efficient than factory made items. When you buy handmade goods, you receive a unique specialized item for an affordable price.

And with free artisan listing sites like, you know that 100% of your money goes to support the artist. That’s because ArtFire allows members to list their items for completely free, no royalty fees, no final evacuation fees, no processing fees, no fees at all. The money you spend goes directly to help the artist.

Americans survived the great depression of the 1930s by investing in handmade goods. They knew the importance of aiding other Americans. They helped each other, and they helped local sellers. They supported other Americans, and with the financial boost from WWII, our country was able to come out of a bleak period in our economy. So learn from their example, buy handmade products and support local artists.


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