Monday, March 30, 2009

I'm not dead!

I haven't been posting anything lately because I've been busy reevaluating my etsy store and moving to a new place. I have lots to say, though, and will do so soon enough. Until then, I hope everyone is having a fabulous week! :)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Arelel Designs - Interview

'jumbo skull' bag available here

'how many licks' bag available here

Arelel Designs can be found on Etsy with a fascinating shop featuring everything from purses to bags to pouches and wallets, all with varying and exciting looks! I was lucky enough to land an interview with her this morning! Here it is. :)

Haru-Dori: What is and who is "Arelel Designs"?

Arelel: About a year ago, my now 21 year old daughter came home with yet another new purse. I looked at it and thought, "I could make that." I mentioned to my older daughter that I was thinking maybe I should start a business making and selling purses. She was immediately convinced I could do this and suggested I set up a shop on Etsy. I had not even heard of Etsy at this point, but Megan knew all about it. She gave me time to get some stock built up, and then on April 10th, 2008, she went ahead and got my shop set up for me.

Haru-Dori: Wow, it sounds like you had some great support to start out with. It's not easy to get started selling online.

Arelel: She [Megan] is way more computer savy than I am, although I must say that in this last year, I have learned a lot of new things. I have had so much support from my husband and kids. My hubby used to sit and do all my listings for me because I had no clue how to do it. I now do it all myself, and love having all this new knowledge. I have since ventured into setting up a blog without any help. My kids and their friends and even my nieces hand out business cards for me and promote my shop to their friends and co- workers. It has been an exhilarating experience.

Haru-Dori: Your shop "Arelel Designs" has a very interesting name, and I can't help but wonder what it means...

Arelel: Once again, my eldest daughter, came up with the idea for my shop name. My full name is Ronna Lorraine Lund, so my initials are RLL. Megan decided to spell the RLL out..hence Arelel and she added designs to the name and I loved it. I have since added a second shop that I decided to call "ArelelDesigns2" to keep things simple.

Haru-Dori: Haha, so Arelel is "R-L-L"! That's very clever. Your designs, as I mentioned earlier, are quite varying in style. What inspires you?

Arelel: My kids keep me informed about what they think will sell and what the current styles are. For instance, Megan is the one who ordered the Alexander Henry "Inked" tattoo fabric and had me make her a purse. She got so many compliments on it and a few of her friends ordered bags out of the same fabric. I made some other items out of this fabric and was amazed at how fast they sold. I figured out very quickly that tattoo and skull bags sold very well. Ideas are always popping into my head and then I am off to my studio to see if it can be created.

Haru-Dori: The tattoo design is definitely hot on the market right now, and yours are exquisite. I also noticed some very cute styles and bags geared at a younger market.

Arelel: I really enjoy making various children's bags as well and have had a lot of fun making some of my designs like the frog and owl purses as well as the monkey and butterfly purses. I have often recycled various tee shirts into the front of some of my bags. I really love to recycle items into cool bags.

Haru-Dori: It sounds like we can expect to see a style for anyone in your shop. Is there anything in the works right now that we should look out for?

Arelel: You never know what I will come up with next....wherever my creative juices take me I guess. I have been very interested in the material that is made from fusing plastic bags together. It is an awesome way of upcycling and helping the environment. I finally experimented the other day and came up with my first design using this material. I am pleased with the result, so I would expect that I will be creating other designs from this material.

Haru-Dori: That sounds exciting. I can't wait to see what you come up with! Out of your current creations, do you have a favorite?

Arelel: I really like so many of my creations that it is hard to pick a favorite. I love the pink jumbo skull bag alot though [note: pictured above] and I would say that is my favorite at the moment.

Haru-Dori: The pink jumbo skull bag is VERY cool. Have you ever been guilty of making something and then falling in love with it and keeping it for yourself? (I know I have)

Arelel: I actually just made a bag and kept it for myself 2 weeks ago. Sometimes it is hard to list the things I really like, but it is very fullfilling to see others buy and enjoy the things I make.

Haru-Dori: For any potential customers out there, are you offering any current promotions or sales we should be aware of?

Arelel: I am running a sale of 20% off all the wallets in my shop through March 23rd. I am doing this in correlation with the "Big Bag of Luck Giveaway", that the CABTeam is sponsoring. I am a team member and do have a shamrock hidden in one of my listings, so I thought I would run a promortion during this giveaway. I had to move the shamrock because the bag listing it was hidden in sold. What a nice problem to have. :o)

Haru-Dori: Great promotion, and that is a LOVELY problem to have :). Well, thank you for a great interview, Arelel. To finish off, a completely random question: If you could imagine one celebrity toting your totes, who would it be and why?

Arelel: Drew Barrymore seems to me to be a fun, quirky individual, who I can picture carrying some of my designs.

Haru-Dori: Interesting choice. I can definitely see that! Thank you again, and good luck! :D

'what a hoot' owl purse available here

'alex henry' tattoo bag available here

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Etsy Treasury

I made my very first Etsy Treasury just now. What that is (for those who may not be familiar with it) is a personal version of the front page mosaic that the Etsy administration chooses to showcase their favorite work. For my first treasury, I didn't choose anyone I knew, because I wasn't sure about what I was doing, but I'm quite happy with the result. Please have a look! Robin's Etsy Treasury


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Second Chance Thread

I found this topic in the forums on etsy where sellers are participating in a sort of support effort that is rewarded by publicity, sales and making friends. I joined tonight (a couple of hours ago) and you can find me on the 'list' as missmanatee. I strongly recommend this to sellers especially as a way to boost sales and get your name out there. Here's the link, where it goes into more detail so you'll know what I'm talking about:

I'll update soon to let you know how it goes! I'm keeping my fingers crossed for now...

Also, if you have done this before in the past, please let me know if it worked for you. :D

Monday, March 9, 2009

I Got Spotted!

So, this actually happened 2 days ago, but I am only posting it now. I submitted an item from my shop to Indie Spotting (that's the link in case you have a store and would like to try for the same thing, but my item is already on the 4th page because I'm posting this days later) and I got an email a few days later letting me know I'd been featured. It was really exciting and just a great way to cap off my week.

Also, to those who commented on my last entry about what I should do with that Lotus Blossom, I turned it into a hairclip, based on your suggestions and I am really happy with the results.

yellow and orange lotus blossom hairclip available in my shop

I have also been hard at work with some Chilean Bellflowers (origami) that I've turned into a necklace and earring set. I am going to take pictures of the set before I post them in my shop, to get your feedback! :D

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Kreativ Blog Award!!! Woot.

I logged on today feeling a little blue, but when I found out that had awarded me the Kreativ Blog Award, I was very uplifted and the rest of my day went quite well.

So, Apparently, this is how this award works:

List 7 things you love and then pass the award on to 7 people..tagging them and letting them know they won! You can also copy the picture of the award and put it on your sidebar, letting the whole wide world know you are KREATIV!

Well, 7 things I love are:
1) family and friends
2) my cat, merlin (and my ferret, candy)
3) chocolate
4) really good movies/songs
5) the smell of lilac flowers
6) pictures/figures of birds (and some birds in person, hehe)

Okay, so my 7 chosen blogs to give the award to are:
1. Rabbit Whiskers
2. Lily Shay Style
3. Hanami Gallery
4. Ela Steel
5. Jeannie Wray
6. MK Designer
7. Creations by Lisa K

I have some more good news and updates, but it will have to wait until next time because it's Saturday night, and I am heading out to have some fun. :)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Mini Studio - After Pictures

Well, it's finally done. I ran to the dollar store near my house and bought the tissue and poster paper and then came back here to fuss with the box for the LONGEST TIME.

A few hints to anyone trying this:

*if you only have scissors be prepared to struggle and struggle trying to cut out the windows from a cardboard box - some kind of craft knife would have been sooo much better
*the part where you tape the tissue to the windows would be a lot easier if someone was around to hold the tissue taut (that was an activity resulting in many a flustered curse, let me tell you!!!)
*i taped the poster board to the box but i did bend it a little bit too much, resulting in a shadow, and had to take it apart and fuss with it for a while, so maybe try not to bend it at all

Alright, so the result? Well, I am happy that I at least have a method of taking pictures that will now result in the same lighting every time, but I am a little disappointed. I couldn't figure out how to hang the earrings inside the box, and they looked funny lying on the poster board, so I used a little cardboard stand to keep them up. That kind of takes the purpose out of making a seamless background...but it will be good for brooches and other non-hangy objects. Also, the white background came out pinkish in my pictures, so I still had to play with the colors in my photo-editing program.

Ok, so enough blabbing - here are some results. Please leave a comment if you have any tips or critiques (the before pics are in my last post).

Not to happy with this, because the silver got whited out a little when I was adjusting the color balance to take the pink out of the background

i'm happy with this picture, but I wish my camera lens wasn't visible in the bead. Perhaps that will be my next hurdle...

Because the earrings don't allow me to do seamless backgrounds, I wanted to post a picture of something that does: My lily flower. This isn't for sale in my store yet because I'm still deciding on whether I should make it into a brooch or a hair clip. Any advice?

Mini Macro Studio Attempt

The pictures I've been taking of my jewelry have been causing me quite a bit of frustration. They really aren't doing the pieces justice, and I'm tired of telling people "Well, they look better in person..."

Here is an example of a dark image taken recently:

(this pair is available in my store if you are interested)

It's so hard to get that perfect sharp macro picture using lamps and pieces of paper, and it ends up taking me hours just to get a few shots done. The pictures are often taking longer to do than the items I'm shooting! So, I found a tutorial on how to make my own mini-macro studio using some UBER cheap supplies. I will be putting this together this evening and posting up pictures to show you what it has done for me. Check back for the 'after' pictures!

Here's the video I'm following (found all of this on the strobist blog:

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Short Bio

(picture features 'sweet pink crane earrings' from my store)

Just a short little history on why I do what I do :)
To begin, the reason I chose the pseudonym 'Haru-Dori' (which means "spring bird" in Japanese) was to pay homage to the dominant Japanese element of my art. I am not Japanese by heritage, but I do appreciate and respect the fact that I wouldn't be creating these designs if it weren't for that influence in my life.

I have been folding Origami since a trip I took to Japan (Chiba Prefecture) about 12 years ago. It was in a workshop there that I discovered how much I enjoyed folding paper.

For years and years, I collected books with many different diagrams, and found great reward in mastering everything from the traditional crane to the great stellated dodecahedron. However, with no lasting way to share my finished pieces, I ended up throwing most creations away, despite all my effort.

Recently, I was flipping through my collection of origami books, and the idea finally sparked that I could turn my hobby into something lasting to share with others.

So, that is what brings me here. :)

Amigurumi Olympics?

Amigurumi - what is it? It's another form of Japanese style/craft which has made its way into Non-Japanese society. Amigurumi involves knitting or crocheting small stuffed animals. They tend to have the typical 'kawaii' features, such as small spaced apart eyes, big heads, and features lower on the face. Details are also amplified using a minimalistic approach to the whole object.

This newish Japanese influence in the craft world comes as no surprise to me, as anime, manga and Japanese style has all but exploded in western culture over the last few years. The Vancouver mascots for the 2010 Olympics are no exception to this phenomena.

It is UNQUESTIONABLE that the inspiration for our mascots did not only come from the Amigurumi look, but downright embraced it.

Candlelight GLOW

With spring around the corner, nights will be warmer and gardens/patios will begin to return as a place for late night relaxation and entertainment. I wanted to feature some candle ideas, and these just struck me as ideal for a romantic/relaxing garden glow.

Water balloon luminaries just like these are super-easy to make and the result is professional and gorgeous. All you need is some wax and a balloon!

For the full photographic tutorial, click here! tutorial

If you get into the luminary mood, there are a lot of really interesting ideas floating around out there. One of them is the 'tin can luminary' which can project a really breathtaking design onto your walls. The possibilities are endless, because the project is extremely simple, and could be catered to suit all sorts of special events or interior themes.

For instructions on how to make a tin can luminary like these click here! tutorial


I just wanted to begin with a short introduction, including the purpose of this blog and what you can expect to find here in the future.

The main purposes of this blog will be:

*to promote the jewellery and craft items i create

*to provide other crafters with publicity, and to showcase great handmade items

*to report on the latest craft trends and news

*to find interesting craft ideas, and how-tos

*to give inspiration and tips to other crafters

So that's my spiel. I hope you'll subscribe and keep in touch! :)