My challenge as a jewelry maker is remembering that sometimes my materials can speak for themselves.  I can get so caught up in the challenge of folding something fabulous or winding wire into interesting shapes that sometimes I forget that just showing the paper is all that’s really necessary.

I finally remembered that this week, and decided to try a few simple styles with my most beautiful chiyogami in simple basic frames.

The frames came from Fusion Beads, my favorite source for collage and resin blanks.  I tried antiqued silver and brass for this project, because I think the aged look sets off the organic, exotic feel of the Japanese paper beautifully.

The paper is my best and favorite–in glorious shades of teal and turquoise, orange and yellow, and iridescent silver and gold (a one of a kind paper that i’ve never seen outside the shop in Asakusabashi where i found it last summer).

The biggest challenge is, for me, always the resin.  I know there are loads of crafters out there making all kinds of gorgeous things with resin, but for me, it’s torture.  I make 4 things before 1 works.  It’s a nightmare.  But then, when it works, it’s gorgeous!  What to do?  it’s a conundrum.

Well, at least til I found Magic Glos, a UV-curing resin.  One part, so no mixing, and a 30 minute cure under a UV light (or sunlight) instead of 3 miserable days with resin.  For ADHD jewelry makers like me, this is a godsend.  Here it is on brass.  What do you think?

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My kanji stamps finally arrived from Japan, so I can start personalizing my tiny Note to Self Journals.  Personalized jewelry makes such a great holiday gift.  I am happy to have found a way to make personalized, customized origami jewelry with a Paper Demon touch. Right now I have stamps for:

eternity

believe

light

gratitude

demon

life

beauty

pretty

ki (energy)

Also tiny birds, butterflies, and Japanese and English alphabets.

Ki, Eternity, Inspire

I love these little journals.  They’re folded from a single 6″ sheet of Japanese washi paper.

They aren’t the most sophisticated tiny bound book in the world,  but they have a sweet simplicity that speaks volumes.

1 1/4" high

Find them at Paper Demon Jewelry:  http://paperdemonjewelry.etsy.com.

It’s Game Day!  Etsy Team Game Day, that is.  The day each week that I will devote to sharing the fabulous artists on my Etsy Teams:  Queer Etsy Street Team and the Etsy Crafting in Color Team.

I said it before, and I’ll say it again:  I love my teams.  They are unbelievably supportive and enthusiastic and generous and motivational.   I am so grateful for the different angles on creativity they’ve opened my eyes to, whether it’s a love of glorious, vibrant color, or a fierce and fabulous belief in expressing yourself no matter what.  They’ve inspired me, and they’ve made giant, impersonal Etsy feel a little bit more like home.

I’ll be alternating teams:  last week it was Queer Etsy Street Team.  This week it’s Crafting in Color Team.  So suit up, Crafting in Color Team, and let’s go!

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There are different kinds of shops on Etsy.  There are those that are totally focused, have a single item or type of item, create that one thing perfectly, and sell it steadily.

And then there are shops that are a little crazier, that reveal the presence of a curious and restless creative spirit, someone who’s willing to experiment with new materials and different ideas.

You probably can guess that I am partial to the latter.  If you didn’t know that, you haven’t visited my PaperDemon Jewelry shop yet.

And that’s why I love Glamasaurus

This is a shop that I appreciate on a human as well as an artistic level.  The artist, Andreanna Kostantas, is an American expat living in Switzerland, and she’s clearly someone with a sense of humor.  From her motto– “so sweet it will give you cavities” –to her unpretentious list of preferred materials –“polymer clay, plastic, glue, pixie dust” — she’s a person who just doesn’t take herself and her art too seriously.  And on Etsy, which definitely has a  lot of the “artiste” attitude going on, that is refreshing indeed.

Whether it’s her Lego earrings, her polymer clay donut, cookie, and cupcake jewelry, or her mysterious and charming shrubbery, Andreanna  makes things that make you smile.

Surely you need a set of yarn shrubs that have been, in Andreanna’s words, “carefully shaped using my keen shrubber’s sense.”

And for those of you looking for Hello Kitty gauged studs, her shop is certainly the place to go.

I appreciate artists who are willing to be goofy and willing to admit mistakes.  I like seeing that she still listed the goofy Domokun Cupcake necklace above, even though she “iced it kind of lopsided” (so it’s on sale!).

And it goes without saying that I like her Japanese-inspired aesthetic!  As her shop description reads, “Kawaii Harajuku Sweets Deco Kitsch Jewelry Accessories”  From Domokun, to her Hello Kitty studs, to her recent “kamikaze guitar pick bracelet,”  she definitely has a thing for Japan.

And, I also appreciate artists who help other artists out.   Andreanna does major work on behalf of the Crafting in Color Team.  She’s one of the main CIC Team Leaders, and definitely keeps the trains running on time.

For someone as utterly disorganized and random as me, this kind of contribution is astounding.   How does she do it?  I don’t know.  But  I am so grateful.

Check out Glamasaurus over the web:

http://blog.glamasaurus.com
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mommysaurus
http://www.twitter.com/glamasaurus
http://www.myspace.com/glamasaurus
http://www.facebook.com/Glamasaurusshop

Did you know that all across East Asia, little children grow up believing they can see two rabbits in the moon?  It’s true. 

In Japan they believe that the two rabbits are pounding mochi.  If you can find a Japanese person to show you, you’ll be able to see it too!

The two rabbits are as reasonable an option as the Man in the Moon.  And much, much cuter.

Actually, Japan has another moon-rabbit thing going on.  In Autumn, they have the festival of Moon-Viewing.  This falls during the full moon known as “Ju-go-ya,” which actually means 10th month moon, but in the modern day calendar falls in September.

And the Japanese believe that rabbits like to come out and hop to the light of the Ju-go-ya moon, and play amidst the miscanthus grass.

Hiroshige does Moon-rabbits

There’s even a folk song about it.  It’s called “Usagi,” or “The Rabbit Song.”   It’s a sweet, slightly melancholy song, and one of my favorite Japanese folk songs.  I used to sing it to my kids all the time when they were babies.  Listen to it on Youtube here!

I did a piece of washi paper artwork for Ju-go-ya Moon-viewing for my kids’ Japanese immersion school.  It has all the elements: full moon, hopping rabbits, wispy clouds, and miscanthus grass.

Mounted on a straw mat with bamboo accent,  it looked like this:

As you may or may not know, I love rabbits.  We have our own, named Penelope.

"The Rabbit"

Come to think of it, she does seem a little more feisty than usual since the weather turned to Fall!

In honor of Jugoya, the Paper Demon MoonRabbits!

The Paper Demon is working on an ebook on tips for Etsy Success!

I’ll be sharing one tip a week for the next few weeks, as I get ready to launch the book.

This week’s tip is:  price your items right!

Pricing is a bit of an art form!  Price too high and your customers will run away.  Price too low and your potential customers won’t take you seriously.

In general, sellers on Etsy tend to price too low.    Remember that your work is handmade and only you can set its true value!

When in doubt, raise your prices!

A higher price gives a stronger impression of value for your product.   Of course this has to be backed up with superb photos and compelling and exciting (and thorough) product description.

And of course your customers have to be able to find you, which means working hard on keywords, tags, and advertising and promotion.

But in the end, you want to communicate that your products are valuable.   Pricing is one important way to do that.  Look at your competitors, and get a general idea of the price range in your craft area.  Then lean toward the higher end!

Here’s the key to Etsy success:  Want to sell more?  Raise your prices!

I don’t need to tell you that Halloween is coming up.  In honor of the best holiday of the year, here are some owls that you will find at Paper Demon Jewelry.

It’s Game Day!  Etsy Team Game Day, that is.  The day each week that I will devote to sharing the fabulous artists on my Etsy Teams:  Queer Etsy Street Team and the Etsy Crafting in Color Team.

I said it before, and I’ll say it again:  I love my teams.  They are unbelievably supportive and enthusiastic and generous and motivational.   I am so grateful for the different angles on creativity they’ve opened my eyes to, whether it’s a love of glorious, vibrant color, or a fierce and fabulous belief in expressing yourself no matter what.  They’ve inspired me, and they’ve made giant, impersonal Etsy feel a little bit more like home.

I’ll be alternating teams: last week it was Crafting in Color. This weeks it’s  Queer Etsy Street Team.  So suit up, Queer Etsy Street Team, and let’s go!

Thomas Saylor, of ThomasSaylorDesigns, has been a friend as well as a teammate to Paper Demon Jewelry since I started my shop on Etsy this past June.  He sent me a kind welcome to the Queer Etsy Street Team, and was the first to suggest that I make a business Fan Page!  [*pause here to click and become a fan if you haven’t yet!*]  I’m forever grateful to him for that!

Thomas makes mouth-wateringly gorgeous  fabric creations—pillows, draperies, bedding, quilts, placemats, baby gifts, wedding accessories, kitchen and bath decor, and cell phone cozies, to name a few. 

What I love most about Thomas’ designs are his spectacular sense of color and pattern.  He’s very selective about the fabrics he uses!  To make the grade they have to be bold, modern, vibrant, and geometrically-inspired.

He has a terrific sense of the most current color combos, like the one above—grey and crimson.  Or the one below:  lime green and turquoise.    Come to think of it, he really ought to be a member of Crafting in Color Team too!

My personal favorite is this pillow cover in one of the hottest current color combinations:  grey and yellow.  I am crazy about grey and yellow, but kind of intimidated by it!  But Thomas does it absolutely beautifully, with his inimitable sense of style!


If I had a house that was stylish and hip instead of random and demoralizing, I would totally have these pillows on my hypothetical white Danish modern sofa.  As it is, this will be the go-to pillow cover for the next housewarming gift I buy for hip friends.

Or, one can skip the sofa entirely and just carry ThomasSaylor style along as a cel phone/ipod cozy!

And how about this:  never be without a cocktail napkin again with these ultra-clever wrap-around coasters!  Form and function in one fabulous item!

The perfect Christmas gift for the wine-lover in your life!

Thomas describes himself like this:

I am a student, a writer, a housewife, and a self-proclaimed crafter extraordinaire. In the past, I spent several years working in the banking industry before ultimately quitting my day job to pursue my dream of starting my own business at home. I’ve recently married my soul mate, Christopher, and we live in Richmond, Virginia with our impossibly annoying yet undeniably adorable “children”, RileyBoots, Salem and Louis. The anarchy in our apartment is matched only by pet fur.

And did I mention he’s as cute as a button?

Thomas is always out and about the internet supporting the Queer Etsy Street Team, promoting his splendid creations, and being his fabulous queer self.   Check out all of his fun sites:

on Etsy:  http://thomassaylordesigns.etsy.com

on his website:  http://thomassaylordesigns.com

on his business blog:  http://thomassaylordesigns.blogspot.com

and on his personal blog:  http://yourdailythomas.com

and on Facebook:  http://facebook.com/thomassaylordesigns