Thursday, December 8, 2011

Unusual Jewelry Tool Organizers

I just recently purchased Mixed Metal Mania: Solder, rivet, hammer, and wire exceptional jewelry by Kim St. Jean to add to my instructional book collection. I have only skimped the book so far, so I cannot comment much on the literature at the moment, but I was fascinated by her vast collection of tools and organizer that are unusual to me. Two of them that caught my attention are a slide top chicken feeder for organizing pliers and Ice Tube Tray for needle files and other hand tools.

I hunt them down and bought a 24 inch slide top chicken feeder from Amazon and a couple of ice tube trays were cheaper on eBay if you wanna buy more than one.

What I found as funny is that Ice Tube Tray got bad reviews on Amazon if used as intended, to make ice cubes, but it got rave reviews from artists who use this ice tray as tool organizers such as artist's brushes! Suggestion for the maker of Ice Tube Tray, sell it as a tool/brush holders! :D

I can see why so many artists clamored the use of it as a tool/brush holders. The construction is solid plastic with solid snapped on bottom, the tubes are big and 3.5 inch tall, perfect for holding brushes and other hand tools. It's also make a good holder for pencils and pens.

My chicken feeder is quickly filled up with my pliers and cutters collection. I can even fit my scrapbooking punches with scissor mechanism. Looks like I may need another chicken feeder soon! I can fit up to two pliers in one hole.

Shows that you can be creative and use everyday, unthinkable items to your advantage if you look hard enough :) Thank you Kim St. Jean for showing us that.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tips on Selling Online Tutorials and E-books

I've had an interview with Greg Holden, a writer for Ecommerce Bytes, about selling digital merchandise online such as jewelry making tutorials, that I wrote and sell through my supply shop in ArtFire, PopnicuteSupplies. A part of the interview (combined with other artisans interviews) is published in his recently published article, Digital Content: Selling Merchandise You Can't Touch or Feel. After obtained his and EcommerceBytes' permission I publish the rest of interview in my blog as it might benefit others as well.

Q and A with Greg Holden 

Greg: How long have your tutorials been online? 
Me: My tutorials have been online for a couple of years now.

Greg: What kinds of challenges do you face when trying to sell a digital, non-tangible product on your storefront along with your tangible products? Do people ask, do I get a printed book, or *can* I get a printed book? 
Me: There are several challenges on selling digital tutorials. 
  1. Sometimes customers skimmed the description and assumed that they'd get physical books and expected the tutorial to be delivered to their mail box instead of their email inbox. Some did ask prior purchasing if I could send the books in physical form. 
  2. Spam Filters. Since I send the tutorials from my personal email address, high spam filter settings might filter my email to their Spam folders if my email hadn't been added to their contact list. 
  3. People expected it to be an instant download even though it's written in the description that I will email it personally within 24 hours of payment.

Greg: How do you figure out how to price digital goods? 
Me: I compare my tutorials to other digital tutorials of the same field in the market. The exclusiveness of the design plays the part too. Simple designs would be priced lower than the more elaborate ones. I also factor the originality of the designs when pricing my tutorials.

Greg: What kinds of copyright issues do you run into with selling an e-tutorial? 
Me: I can't control what people would do with my tutorials. Although I believe that most people would respect the Terms and Conditions stated in the tutorials, there's always someone who would break the rules so it's something to be expected. I put this terms of use inside the listing descriptions and inside the tutorials too.
Here's a sample of my Terms of Use:
You may sell any jewelry/crafts you make out of this tutorial.

© 2009 - 2011 by Popnicute.
All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of Kharisma R. Sommers of Popnicute. You may NOT use the digital and printed tutorial as teaching material. This tutorial is an intellectual property of Kharisma R. Sommers. 

It would be nice if you give credit to me and/or my tutorial if you make something out of it.

Greg: How have sales been?
Me: Sales have been good. Especially the first few months after the tutorial release. No doubt sales would decline after people get more familiar with the techniques but there is always someone who needs one. If I wanted the sales to be better, I'd create new tutorials to keep things fresh. 

Greg: Do you talk about selling only on ArtFire or on the Internet in general? 
Me: I have several other websites where I sell my tutorials. A couple of them are dedicated to jewelry making.  I believe having several venues to sell my tutorials help with sales.

Greg: What kinds of advice would you have for people considering selling their knowledge or expertise in digital form? 
Me: I'd suggest them to provide high quality pictures and/or illustrations of the steps along with clear text instructions. Also I think it's important to state the level of skills needed upfront if the tutorial is intended for beginner, intermediate, or advanced users. And don't forget to include terms and conditions inside the digital copies, whether the tutorials are intended for personal use or if you're allowing people to sell their creations based on your tutorials. 

So that's the end of my interview with Greg. I hope it helps :)

© Copyright 2011 Steiner Associates LLC and Greg Holden, reprinted with permission.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Refurbished Old Wooden Bench

A new house, a new venture. Since I moved to the USA and bought a house, I've done a lot of things I wouldn't have dreamed of doing if I stayed in Indonesia. Fixing crumbling plaster, replacing moldings, reupholstering furniture, not something I would have done myself in Indonesia. Labor is cheap there, hiring people would be the way to go. Besides there are no home improvement stores there. DIY fixer upper is not common there, hiring contractors and/or handymen is.

We all watch HGTV, all the DIY fixes look so easy to do and fun over there. What HGTV didn't tell you is that painting cabinet has very little excitement to it and they didn't warn you about brush marks. Although I feel like I did a good job at it, I wish I'd just varnish those unfinished cabinets. Three coats of primer on each sides and repeat on 20 doors and drawers and I'm not even painting the colors yet. What a monotonous chore. So to take a break from priming my kitchen cabinets (a very boring thing to do, btw, if you didn't catch my drift), I reupholstered the bench I got at thrift store.

Again, something that HGTV didn't tell me. Decades old staples are very hard to take off. I had my work gloves on and used the staple remover tool. 10 minutes into working, I decided it would be easier if I just cut the fabric along the perimeter and work from there. I think in average it took me about 5 minutes to remove ONE staple! Got most of the staples off after almost 2 hours of struggling. Working on the floor killed my back too. I'm getting old :P

Since it was just a layer of fabric, I didn't bother to take off all the staples. I left some and just continued on reupholster the bench. Equipped with a staple gun borrowed from FIL, I stapled the poly sheets as padding and diamond patterned vinyl leather on top of it. I admit I'm a little bit of a perfectionist, So I made sure everything is aligned and fabric is evenly pulled. Took me a while to figure out how to round the edges nicely. But I'm proud of the outcome. Goodbye "grandma" fabric and hello sophisticated :)

I had problems with the bench made creaking noise when someone sat down on it. I did a little experiment to reduce the creaking noise. I added a piece of foam sheet, about 2 mm thick, sandwiched between the bench leg and then tighten the screws properly. I think it worked pretty well actually! :D Now this bench is sitting nicely inside my bathroom.

Notice "party on the bottom" non woven fabric. LOL. Maybe someday I'll change that to solid brown. I don't know.. Maybe..

I hope you enjoyed reading my little adventure with this old piece of furniture.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Make A Mother's Day

A collection of Mother's Day handmade gift ideas from
Popnicute Artisan Jewelry
Your mother deserves the best :)

Mother's Love
Her love is like
an island in life's ocean,
vast and wide
A peaceful, quiet shelter
From the wind, the rain, the tide.
'Tis bound on the north by Hope,
By Patience on the West,
By tender Counsel on the South
And on the East by Rest.
Above it like a beacon light
Shine Faith, and Truth, and Prayer;
And thro' the changing scenes of life
I find a haven there. 
 ~Author Unknown 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Naturalizer Midlake Size US 5 Wedges Comfortable Women Sandals


View listing here

Product Information

Brand: Naturalizer. 

Style: Midlake. 

Size: US 5 (hard to find size). 

Heel height: 2 inch.

Platform height: 1 inch.

Type: Wedges.

Color: Coffee Bean (dark and medium brown combination), genuine leather/nubuck upper, manmade sole.

Width: M (B).

Fit: True to size, comfortable soles, moderate arch support.

Have been used only ONCE for an hour or two. Like new condition!

Retail price: $75. (this particular style got great reviews)
Can be yours for $39, come in Original box, original condition.


Reason to sell: One word, bunions. These sandals are very comfortable but the front straps hit right where my bunion is. Comfortable for my feet, I can imagine strolling on them for hours without having my feet hurting but my bunions say no :( I've worn them so I can't return them to the store. Anyone with normal feet would love these sandals! They are adorable, comfortable, and made of real leather. The bottom of the soles are really cute too with floral cut outs. If my bunions didn't get in the way, I'd so keep these sandals! They are casual enough but can also be worn for dressier events.

I'm a huge fan of comfortable shoes so you can take my word that these shoes are comfy. Footbed is soft and supportive. Footbed is using N5 technology (see last picture for explanation)

No refund/returns.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Popnicute is 2011 About dot com Readers Choice Awards Winner

March 15, 2011, Popnicute is selected as the Winner of Readers Choice Awards in Handmade Jewelry Artisan category. I'm truly honored by this and would like to thank everyone who voted for Popnicute. Handmade jewelry is such a saturated market and I would never be in this place without you all. I hope to keep it up and will never stop doing this. Keep learning and keep creating.

Read the article.

Virtual ice cream and cookies for everyone! *nomnomnom*

The list of Winners:

1. Best Handmade Marketplace

2. Favorite Fashion Blog
The Fashion Insider

3. Favorite Handmade Artisan: Jewelry Design

4. Favorite Crafty Blog
Dollar Store Crafts

5. Favorite Handmade Artisan: Crochet Designs
The Crochet Dude

6. Favorite Handmade Artisan: Original Clothing Design    
Togs 4 Tots

7. Favorite Handmade Artisan: Geek Craft
Debby Arem Designs

8. Best DIY Fashion Book of 2010
Twinkie Chan's Crochet Goodies for Fashion Foodies

9. Favorite Handmade Artisan: Knit Designs
Made for Me by Oaklie

Congrats to all Winners and Finalists of 2011 Readers Choice Award.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Popnicute is 2011 About dot com Readers Choice Awards DIY Fashion Finalist

I think this needs a celebration! I feel truly honored that POPNICUTE is nominated as one of the 2011 Readers' Choice Awards DIY Fashion Finalists! Especially since handmade jewelry is a very saturated market! Thank you for my friends and clients who nominated Popnicute!

Now the voting is open to determine who the winners are. Voting closes at 11:59 P.M. EST on Tuesday, March 8, 2011. The winners will be announced on Tuesday, March 15, 2011, on the DIY Fashion GuideSite.

 Vote for Popnicute as your Favorite Handmade Artisan: Jewelry Design


PLEASE VOTE FOR POPNICUTE TO BE THE WINNER OF Favorite Handmade Artisan: Jewelry Design! THANKS!!


PS: I voted for as Best Online Handmade Marketplace!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Handmade Soap Dish Out of Polymer Clay

Winter is so harsh on the skin so I've been trying handmade soaps as they're supposedly contain more moisturizer than commercial detergent soaps. The problem was my bathroom had no soap dish (we used liquid soaps). So there, I handmade one for myself out of polymer clay! :D

Polymer clay is so versatile and strong material if baked correctly. Last night I made my first handmade soap dish out of polymer clay. I used Kato polymer clay. Why I chose Kato? Because according to many polymer clay experts, Kato is one of top polymer clay brands out there. I was just taking their advice. I like the fact that Kato clay colors stay true after baked. Not darkened like other brands. I'm still green in polymer clay, so don't take my word, try for yourself :)

This soap dish is a blend of 4 colors, red, turquoise, white, and magenta. This blend created a muted yet somewhat vibrant maroon-ish purple. I ran it through pasta machine probably 50 times if not more. One of the downside of Kato clay is that they sometimes really hard to condition although I did ran across a few that were quite "soft" out of the wrapper. But the end result is well worth it. So after the clay is well conditioned, supple, and pliable, I cut it into shape and starts adding designs to it. You can see one of my little birdies is standing next to a couple of flowers.

The center of this polymer clay soap dish has holes for drainage. I made a mistake by not giving it a little lift underneath the drainage while baking. The heat from the oven made it changed shape a bit and the middle touched the ground, which means it wouldn't drain well. Luckily Kato clay is still quite flexible when warm. Carefully, I put a stack of paper underneath the drainage and yay! It had a little raise after it cooled down and hard like intended. Glad it was quite forgiving!

I'm quite satisfied by the end result! One tiny annoyance though, It had a tiny ball stuck underneath. That sneaky little bugger! Oh yeah, I dusted mica powders to antiqued it prior baking. It looks tons better!

Click the picture to expand.

PS: I dropped this soap dish by accident off my sink and it's still in one piece :) w00t!

Talent Show Off 1/25/2011

These are the collections made this week by the members of the AJDJSS Guild, Starving Jewelry Artists Guild, and Artisan Jeweler Guild of