Sunday, March 30, 2008

Under 55

New section on my website~ everything under 55 dollars. To see what is available, Click Here.

One sort of email I get quite a few of I read with mixed emotions. These are from people who take the trouble to write, who express real enthusiasm for my work, who often say how much they like this or that, and who also say they wish they could afford it. I know the feeling!

It really makes me feel good that these people write, even though they can't buy. But I feel sorry that they can't enjoy one of my works.

That got me thinking. I used to make a fair number of less expensive items, but overtime, with the increase in the cost of materials (copper!), and also the growth of my skill level, it seemed not to make sense to spend all that time taking pictures and wrapping and shipping for a few dollars. So I stopped.

But these emails have got me going again. I figure if I stick to things that are not too complex to make, and that are not too tough to ship, I can do it. And if I sell them strictly on my website (no eBay etc. fees).

I hope some of these people will appreciate having things that perhaps they can afford without skipping meals.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

GardenWeb | A Great Website

Cedar, Cobalt Glass, Copper, and... I do love Rust! To see all my rusty creations, Click Here.

I do love rust. And I see that I am not alone. The GardenWeb website even has a forum with some postings dedicated to rust. That forum is under the heading Garden Junk. I am not sure I am exactly thrilled to have my work mentioned, however favorably, under that heading!

About two years ago, I ran across the GardenWeb, and was very impressed. If you are the least bit interested in gardening, using the word in its widest possible sense, you really should check out this site.

The forums are lively. When some nice person posted about my website, the traffic to my site increased by ten times! If you have questions (or answers!) about gardening, garden design, garden art, check out the GardenWeb.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

More Copper Earrings

Aged copper earrings. Just listed on eBay.

I used to make small beach glass inspired earrings, and give a set for free for those with larger orders. But I did not much enjoy using the epoxy to glue the glass onto the caps, and so I looked for something better. I came up with copper earrings, which was ideal since my work always has a surplus of small snippets of copper. I can use some of that for these!

Now I include a complimentary set for all orders, no matter how small the order is. People really seem to appreciate the gift. I get a lot of thank you notes!

Actually I sell quite a few pairs, as well, on eBay.

Today as I worked on finishing up around my new workshop, I found quite a lot of weathered copper wire. It's all old penny color, and I thought what a waste to throw it out. Then I got the idea of making earrings with aged copper. I really like these. I will soon know if anyone else likes aged copper, as I just put a set on eBay.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

New Workshop ~ Yippee!

Before and...


My renovated workshop. A treat!

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately!) you can not see much in the picture at the top of how this shack looked before my renovation. But you can see the roof broken and rotting off. Imagine just two small windows, and you can see why we always referred to this shack as the haunted house.

It was full of cobwebs, bats (two jumped out at me as I was ripping out the inside walls), mice, dirt and just plain ugly and unpleasant.

My old greenhouse workshop was an eyesore too, though, with a failing plastic roof. Dripping water, and the wind blowing through. Suddenly it made sense during this particularly cold and wet winter to renovate the shack (with plenty of insulation included, of course!).

Four large salvaged windows and a sliding glass door, a major clean up, built in tables and shelves and, presto, a wonderful workshop. One of the biggest pleasures was recycling materials~ all free, and all saved from the landfill. Good stuff.

There is still some tidying up and table building to do, and I believe my wife is thinking of staining the exterior, and maybe painting the trim some bright color.

Yesterday, I did my first chime work in the new shop, and it was really nice!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Driftwood Wind Chimes

I've added a new section to my website~ just driftwood! If you would like to see it, Click Here.

I see a surprising number of people searching for driftwood, and even driftwood wind chimes. Who would have thought there would be so many other fans of this high-character, low maintenance wood? Well, I love it, so I guess it should not be too surprising that some others do, too.

For this new section of my website, I used a different way of showing the items~ a carousel image gallery. I'm not sure which is better, the other way, from thumbnail pictures to larger pictures with details toa full size image, or this way. There is one less level to navigate here, so I am thinking this may be better. I'll see how it goes, and maybe change the whole site to this method. Decisions, decisions...

In the meantime, I got the old workshop / greenhouse torn down (hard job! It was well built.) and the site cleaned up, and the new, renovated shop now has built in tables and shelves, the outside trim is almost finished, and today I made the first items inside the shop~ it's going to be much, much better! Pictures soon.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Snow! More Snow! Sunshine Coast

Snow sticking to the skylight. Blah!

I guess I deserve this. After doing my little dance, singing my little song, clapping my... well, you get the idea ~ in celebration of an early spring on the Pacific West Coast, look! Snow!

I thought it was cold this morning on my hike. It was the first time in weeks I wore a hat. And I thought it was cold, as I worked finishing up my new workshop. But never, ever, did I think it would snow.

Well, at least the new shop seemed all that nicer, in this cold weather. It's going to be great! Even the dog came in. I guess he has had enough of the cold and snow this year, too.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Glass and Copper Wind Chime, That's it!

wind chime, cobalt blue, glass, copperGlass, copper, a beach stone clapper. That's it. For me, this is the chime. For more details, or to buy this wind chime, Click Here.

My most popular wind chime is not my favorite. Oh, it's a super nice wind chime~ don't get me wrong! But it is not my personal favorite.

It's a puzzle to me why the style pictured above does not sell more frequently. Oh, I know, it's expensive. But not that expensive! Maybe the equivalent of four tanks of gas, and while the gas might last a month, this wind chime will last for many, many years.

See, it is all glass and copper. Nothing to wear out. Nothing to need refinishing. It's just going to hang there, and look better and better as time goes by.

This is the first style I made, when I started making wind chimes. When I listed my first one for sale, people went wild! At least a few people. Well, I think those people were right. This is a winner.

I have three of this type hanging on my deck. For seven years they have been out there year round, through winter snow storms and fall wind storms, and I can vouch that they only look even better than the day I hung them up.

Now that's a sweet wind chime!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Savary Island, Cottage Website Launch

It was a pleasure putting together this new website for my friend, master woodworker Andrew Van Wersch. He is building such a neat cottage on Savary Island (also known as paradise!), a Gulf Island off the Sunshine Coast. To see a lot of neat pictures, including a mini-portfolio of the amazing cabinetry and furniture Andrew has made, Click Here.

I really enjoy making websites. It's very different from my usual work, working with my hands. Website design calls for such intense concentration. But maybe that's just me. I love to see how even a minor change in color can so dramatically change the look of a site.

This Savary Island website was really nice to put together. Working with such beautiful pictures, both of the fabulous cottage Andrew is building, and his portfolio of high-end furniture and cabinetry work, meant that things would look great almost despite what I did in site design.

It still took many hours to put it all together. Plus I have been renovating the shack behind our house, turning it into a snazzy workshop (more on this later). So it's time to get back to work and make some neat wind chimes, before the next fistful of bills comes. It's so much fun to work on these other things, it's easy to forget about business! Tomorrow, cutting copper chimes.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Driftwood Wind Chimes

Teredo Driftwood Copper Wind Chime. Tung Nut Oiled. Beach Stone Clapper.

Aside from this blog, I run my own website. Through Google Analytics, I can see a snapshot of what people search to find my site. I'm intrigued that there are quite a few people who search for driftwood, and driftwood wind chimes. I thought it was just me!

You know, my first memory of being enchanted by the natural world has to do with driftwood. Back when I was a very young boy, my parents took us to a Northern Wisconsin lake. I recall how I found a treasure: A most beautiful piece of driftwood. I still remember exactly how it looked~ long, smooth, and polished by the waves. I took it home, and for a long time it was one of my dearest possessions.

How odd (or perhaps not) that forty five years later I should still be looking for more great driftwood.

Pacific Driftwood, Tung Nut Oiled, Copper Chimes, Beach Stone Clapper

Monday, March 03, 2008

Beach Glass Inspired Suncatcher Evolves

New from old~ it's started life as a freestanding window suncatcher, and now, completely redone, is a mixed media window suncatcher hanging. To read more about this suncatcher, you may visit my website by Clicking Here.

I could count the number of returns I have had on half the fingers of one hand. Not too bad, considering the several thousand items I have shipped. One or two damaged items, and one or two where the customer changed their mind, or whatever. Offering a 100% satisfaction guarantee, I'm pleased not to have had more returns. Generally, I just get a very enthusiastic thank you email.

That said, a few weeks ago I heard from a customer who was upset. She had bought a freestanding suncatcher, and did not like what she received, and even doubted it was the same item as had been pictured. Never before had anything like this happened, so I was puzzled.

I paid for her postage to mail it back, and also completely refunded all her money. When it arrived back, the puzzle was solved. The sides of this large suncatcher had come a bit loose, resulting in a lopsidedness, and also the glass morsels inside must not have been cleaned as well as they should have been, as the inner glass plates looked all dusty. So I fully understood why this customer had been unhappy. I felt very bad for all her trouble and disappointment.

But, when something like that happens, there is nothing to do except to learn and move on. I took the whole thing apart, cut much thicker and stronger sides and bottoms, used much longer brad nails, and put it all back together as a hanging suncatcher. It's strong, it's clean, and it's cool.