Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Tangled Web

Before I launch into what I wanted to post about, I will tell you about my trip to the dentist. Apparently I broke part of the cusp. So they gave me an option, I could try something called a buckle patch, or I could have a crown. I went with the buckle patch since I really didn't want another crown. It has a 50/50 shot of staying, so I am in a holding pattern for the moment. He said if it wasn't going to hold we should know within the week. Keep your fingers crossed. I know a crown is inevitable eventually, but I would prefer it later rather than sooner.

I spent my evening with a stack of prominent decorating and craft magazines, the computer and a cup of coffee. I decided since I can't make up my mind what I want to do for this most recent layout, that I would go have a look to see what other people have done on their websites. I went through the ads and any that caught my eye merited a trip to their site.

I must say I was quite surprised by what I saw. While a few were truly engaging and delightful and held my attention...sadly many didn't.

So approaching this from a customer standpoint I will tell you a few things I didn't care for. Maybe that will give someone reading this some feedback. I don't want to hurt any one's feelings by any means, but I think feedback helps us all and I always welcome feedback about my site and how to improve it.

First of all some of them led directly to a blog that people were selling their wares from. Now I know a few of you do that, and I suppose there is nothing wrong with it really. But websites are extremely easy and inexpensive to create what with the software available these days. While I do know how to code, you really don't need to know any more.

From my perspective if you are taking an expensive ad out in a major publication, you should be selling from a site. It just seems more professional.

Another thing I came across were several sites that were one page with a picture or two and a link to their Etsy shop. I didn't click the links because I thought why did you bother doing a site if all you are going to do is send me to Etsy? And quite frankly I don't want to have to track you all over the Internet to find your stuff.

For the sites that I did go to that were actually sites, I noticed a few other things. Some people seem to put so much text on their front pages that I wasn't sure if I was at their site or at their blog. I don't want to read 15 paragraphs on the front page. I want to see your stuff...and maybe a nice little welcome note. IF your stuff interests me then I want to read more about you and your techniques, but to me that should be on another page where it's up to the guest if they want to take time to read that or not. If I am still intrigued then I will pay a visit to your blog. But the first thing you need to grab my attention is a couple pictures of your work that will draw me further into your site and inspire me to click the links so I can see more.

I also don't want to see tons of personal pictures and stories about your family or pets on your front page. Save that for your artist page or better yet, your blog which is like your house, not your place of business.

Which brings up another point. Some of the front pages I saw had tiny pictures in random sizes. That's fine if you're going for a specific puzzle-esque sort of look. But if it's unintentional then you might want to consider making things a little more uniform so it doesn't look haphazardly thrown together. Also many of the pictures were terribly dim. Tiny dim pictures don't tell me what I am even looking at. Thumbnails are fine if they can be clicked and lead to a bigger image of that item. But make sure what is in the thumbnail is discernable on an average computer screen.

Now for the tricky part. The graphics that support your stuff. I am going to say the same thing I have always said to people about their work when I have taught classes. CONTINUITY!

Chances are people who appreciate art or other artists themselves are going to be the bulk of who visits your site. Those types of people are visually stimulated. Make your site visually appealing. But make sure it is has something in common with what you sell. For instance, you wouldn't put graphics that look like they belong on the Facebook page of a 16 year old girl on a site that sells high end victorian antiques. (That was just an example I didn't see that specific thing. But I did see a few things that didn't make any sense.)

Since what I make has a vintage vibe to it, usually my layouts also have some type of vintage vibe to them. It has to make sense. That's not to say you can't make a theme and run with it.

Something else I found truly annoying was sold items. If you have A LOT of items that have sold take them off of your site please. I went to one site that had nothing but page after page after page of sold items. I finally gave up looking for something that was still for sale because even on my fast computer it was taking ages to load. If you want people to see your past work, do a nice gallery of past works, but please don't leave it all up there after it's sold. I would prefer a note on that page that says more items will be arriving soon and maybe a small montage or a group photo of what types of items that page would have, if everything is sold rather than waiting for it all to load and finding nothing available for the effort.

I came across one site that was so nicely done that I stared at their enter page for a full 15 seconds before I moved on. Their site was similar to mine in many ways, but honestly they did it better than I did. I bookmarked that site. I will be returning to it.

Now I realize you may not agree with my assessments of what I saw. But this is just my opinion. I feel that creative people need to express their creativity on their website as well as in their work. It's all an extension of ourselves as artists. That's the goal I keep working towards with my own site. Mine isn't perfect by far, but I keep trying to improve it so that you will enjoy your visit to my world.

I want it to be a fun experience and hopefully something unique that you will think about after you leave and want to return...although that is no easy task. Which is why I keep making new layouts and not using them. I will get there.

For me the perfect site is something attractive, with graphics that enhance but not overpower the work shown, and tells a little bit of a story about what's being sold and the artist who makes it.

Ultimately I think if you are going to spend a lot of time and money on advertising, then make sure you have something that makes the person happy they set their magazine down and went to the computer to have a look. I know it can be time consuming and difficult at times, but your guest deserves it and so does your work.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Things That Go Crack In The Night

About 3:30 this morning I broke a piece out of my tooth. It was a molar and I have no idea how it happened. Of course it feels HUGE. R looked at it when he got up with his trusty LED flashlight. He said it wasn't that bad, but I have a space between where my teeth used to meet up. It doesn't go all the way to the gum, but it goes pretty high up.

I have really strong teeth. I brush and floss religiously, and even use my waterpik sometimes, so I am not sure what happened. When I get up I am going to call the dentist. It's a tad sore, but it doesn't seem to be sensitive to hot or cold so the nerve isn't exposed which is good. I am not sure what the dentist does for that. But I am hoping he can do something. It has me a bit freaked out.

In the mean time if any of you have any information on what they do, it would probably set my mind at ease a bit. I have one crown and I don't relish the thought of another one. I can't stand the one I have. I have issues with anything fake being part of my body.

I had something else I had planned on posting about this morning, but I guess it will keep til my little crisis is over.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Think Think Think

I feel like Winnie The Pooh tapping his temple and saying think think think. I think sometimes I drive myself crazy on purpose. Maybe it makes life more interesting? I don't know. Maybe I don't do it on purpose, maybe I just can't help it.

Over the past two months I have made about 6 new layouts for my website. There is nothing wrong with any of them. In fact some of them are really quite nice. I just don't want to use any of them. They aren't what I want. Maybe it's because I have been staring at them too long. I am not sure what I want to be honest. I have too many ideas. That's part of the trouble.

So I am curious, what do you like to see when you go to a shopping site? Do you just want to click on thumbnails and get right down to business or do you like it to be a bit more adventurous? (Adventurous does not mean hard to navigate!) I need some feedback.

Thanks all!

Hugs, Kelly

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Sampler Platter

I don't know what it's doing in your part of the world, but it seems as if Colorado is trying to cram all 4 seasons into two days. We have had a veritable sampler platter of weather.

Yesterday we had warm sunshine and when I ran errands I wore a tank top and sandals. Later that afternoon there were Tornado warnings and I believe one actually sat down East of us, out in the country. Last night we had thunder, lightning, rain and hail so bad I thought it was going to break the window. We had to shut down all the electronics and appliances. There were so many downed leaves afterward that it looked like Fall.

This afternoon there was so much snow they had to close the freeway between Denver and Monument. I saw pictures on the news, it looked like Christmas. R had a hard time getting home. He had to take the back roads.

I sincerely hope Spring returns soon.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mentally In-vest-ed

Sometimes I write posts because I need to get something off my chest, or work through something that is eating away at me. But on other rare occasions I feel extremely prompted to write posts without being really sure why I want to write that particular thing. It's almost as if I have a feeling someone out there in the world needs to know something. It doesn't happen often, but when it does I can't rest until I write whatever is burning a hole in my brain. This is one of those posts, it's been bugging me for three days, so here I am writing it. Maybe one of you needed to get this message? I don't know. Anyway on to my post:

Have you ever noticed that there are people in the world who have the ability to make statements that sound insightful, sometimes profound even. But when you really stop to think about what they have said, it's meaningless. Those people often hold positions of authority, power or celebrity.

A while back I had been watching something I had recorded on my DVR. When I shut it off one of those daytime talk shows was on. I came into it just as a psychiatrist was saying that women who like to shop do it to fill a gap in their lives. The audience was of course appropriately impressed by his declaration. I listened to him spew his rhetoric for a few more minutes, then shut it off. Of course women shop to fill a gap. But then that's why anyone does anything.

We eat to fill a gap of hunger, we sleep to fill a gap of exhaustion, we watch TV, read books and climb mountains to fill gaps of what would otherwise be inactivity.

Despite not being impressed that he had dropped an epiphany on the audience, it still made me wonder...what gap is filled by shopping? I love to shop. But I was suddenly certain there was more to it than consumerism.

My answer arrived just a couple weeks ago. I had gone into a clothing shop and found a rack full of vests discounted to 80% off. Now I don't normally buy vests because they don't look that good on women with large chests. They really aren't designed for that body shape. As a result I only have one and I have it because it has tabs strategically placed that nip in the waist, thus conforming to my figure better than most.

The rack of vests really drew my attention however. It was brown velvet with antiqued brass studs all along the edge and a little bit of a bead work design in the center of each side on the front. It wasn't the classic menswear/English style vest, but more of a rounded bolero cut. I tried one on in front of the mirror. As I put it on a sales girl walked by and said that I was the only person she had ever seen the vest look good on. Now I am going to assume she was being sincere and not just giving me sales girl talk since they had so many of the vests left and they were discounted so much.

Even if it was just sales girl talk, it didn't matter I already knew I was going to buy the vest. On my way home I thought about my purchase. It wasn't the sort of thing I normally why did I like it? What motivated me to buy it?

I knew the answer, in fact I knew the answer to why I liked to shop in that moment. Aside from the dopamine rush you get from buying something, it fills my gap for adventure.

No, not the adventurous aspect of getting a bargain. But when I looked at the vest I saw Morocco. I saw exotic spices, flying carpets, Aladdin, and Ali Baba...maybe even a genie in a lamp. It filled that yearning I have to see those far off places that probably are nothing like my overactive imagination (and Hollywood) has painted them.

Apparently I was the only one who saw the vest that way, considering how many were left. But maybe that's also why it looked good on me? Perhaps my romantic nature shined through as I put it on.

I realized that's why I buy lots of things. It's expensive and difficult to travel these days. So maybe buying a little trinket here and there fills that gap for me. It mentally takes me away from everyday life to those places I dream about because I can see those places in these items. It's not as the TV psychiatrist suggested; that I do it because I am neglected by my loved ones or have too much idle time on my hands, because neither of those things is true.

I think that psychiatry is over rated unless you have a true mental disorder. Years ago I had something rather bad happen to me and my doctor sent me to see one because of my stress level. I had never been to one before. (Keeping in mind this doctor was a complete quack who nearly killed me twice through misdiagnosis, and said I had a brain tumor when I actually had a bone spur in my shoulder. I have a different doctor now.)

At any rate, the psychiatrist wanted to delve through my past history and have me come to terms with things. After two visits he realized I was pretty well at terms with everything already and that my brain didn't function like most people. After eight visits and a battery of tests that seemed to be more for his amusement and study than anything else, I stopped going to him because I didn't feel like paying to be his Rubik's Cube. But I digress.

I don't know what gap others fill with shopping or anything else they do, but I am pretty sure whatever it is...most of us are doing ok, and we can't be shoved into little boxes by TV psychiatrists who tell us things we already know. I think in the long run we would do better to indulge our own minds in their little escapes and live our lives without worrying overmuch what needs to be fixed. The answer is probably nothing. We don't need to dig up our pasts or cast aspersions on the people in our lives for what we have been told they might not be doing when in fact they are doing just fine. We just need to recognize that we are doing fine too and no one's life is perfect or what they would ultimately like it to be. But that's ok, if our lives were perfect and everything we wanted them to be, we wouldn't have our lovely imaginations or even anything to strive for...and we would probably have to shop more! =}

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Perfect Life

Today I want to make a post dedicated to one of my blogging friends who is having some troubles. I was going to tell my story in a comment on her blog, but then I thought perhaps it's something others might find useful to think about too.

I think each of us has at some point looked at another person and wished for their life. But I wonder...would we really want it? Some years ago I had a friend who had "the perfect life."

She had that storybook childhood with wonderful parents, a great brother, a sweet dog and yes even a picket fence. As an adult she had the perfect job she wanted, a husband that took care of her every need, and she always got what she wanted with barely a finger lifted.

Everything always seemed to go her way. I must confess I was a bit envious...who wouldn't be right?

My friend and I decided to take a road trip to California for a bear show. When you spend hours in a car with someone, you get to know them in a way that you never knew them before even if you thought you knew them well. You have so much time to talk.

I discovered something interesting about my friend. She had more psychological issues than anyone else I knew. I thought about that for a long time after. I still think about it. The road trip didn't change our friendship, but it did change how I viewed her and her life.

I wasn't envious of her anymore. I realized that by having such a perfect life she hadn't developed many of the skills most of us need to get through day to day living. She had never had to overcome adversity, she had never had to deal with a crisis and she didn't really understand the joy of working for something and really earning it without it being handed to you.

People often say life isn't fair. I believe it is. I think at some point or another we all have these trials and tests we have to go through. We have tough times and things in our past we wish were better or different. But life is made of balance because we all have these things happen to us in one way or another. Those things really do make us stronger people. They define our character and teach us what we are really made of in how we deal with them. If we don't deal with them in the best way then we learn from our mistakes. And that's makes us gloriously human and flawed and interesting. It also makes us appreciate other things that are good whether we make that connection at the time or not.

As for my friend with the perfect life...someday her tests will come as well, and Heaven help her when she has to deal with them. I hope she will know how.

To my blogging friend with the troubles...perhaps your family wasn't perfect. But neither were theirs, just remember they had troubles too. They may not have been what you would have liked, but they were what you needed in order to get through something as an adult. You learned something you needed from that experience. It was all part of your fate. Be happy that you didn't have the perfect life or family. Your life is probably better than you think! This rough patch will pass...I promise!

Hugs, Kelly

Monday, April 12, 2010

A True Identity Revealed!

As it turns out, Lavender the mild mannered gardening bunny shown below was in disguise. She is in fact none other than Cordelia Candytuft, (no relation to the Virginia Candytuft's) the infamous star of the silver screen. Who would have imagined! Maybe she was just trying to avoid the paparazzi? You can see Cordelia on the Animals Page of my website.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

~*~ Lavender Bunny ~*~

Here is a pic of my custom bunny as promised!

Edit: Unfortunately Lavender is not going to the person who ordered him, so he will be available on my website later today.

Custom Orders

I seem to get a lot of custom orders. While I like to try my best to make people happy, I am always nervous about it. Every time I do it, I always swear I am going to stop doing customs. But I like to give people what they want...or try, so I do it every time.

I only make one of a kind pieces and when someone orders a custom one of two things has happened. Either they have a brand new vision of something they would like me to create, or they want me to re-create a piece that has already sold. Sometimes with changes and sometimes as closely as I can.

When someone asks me to make something new that they have envisioned that's hard because I can't see inside their head and truly know what they are picturing. I do my best and usually people say they are happy with it, but I never know for sure. If I were to custom order something I would take it since I ordered it and not hurt the artist's feelings unless there was something truly, desperately wrong with it.

In the second instance I think it's even harder. When you create things with a face, no two are alike. They tend to turn out how they want despite the fact that I do the faces the same way every time. I also know what it's like to be on the other side of the fence and love an artist's work but have that one face speak to you more than all the rest. On this side of the fence, recreating a face is nearly impossible. There are so many tiny details that can change the look of the piece.

I just finished my second custom piece in a row this morning. My customer ordered a rabbit. They had seen one that I had done and sold a while back and wanted one like it. The first problem was that I had no idea what mohair I used for it. I don't know which company it came from, or which color it was. I think it was a piece I picked up at a show long ago. I am not even sure they still make it.

So I offered them a choice, close to the color or close to the finish. We went with close to the color. Now the piece I had that was close was off, and I had to over dye it a bit to match it up. That isn't a problem because I have a weird uncanny knack for mixing colors.

However my bunny looks NOTHING like the other one. In my opinion this one is much better and has a great deal more character. I really love it, I love it more than the first one. It's not my opinion that matters though. It's whether my customer likes it that concerns me. They had expectations and what I have produced isn't going to meet them. Maybe I will get lucky and they will like it better? Or maybe this bunny is meant to live elsewhere. We will soon find out. I will take pictures of it later and you will be able to see him then.

In the mean time I am going to bed!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Monolith

If you have seen 2001: A Space Odyssey, then you know that the monolith represented the tree of knowledge with it's forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. By touching it, the ape men gained knowledge and furthered society and technology. Whether it was towards a better end is open to speculation.

As of yesterday I have the big black monolith in my kitchen. Now it may not represent forbidden fruit, but it is holding fruit.

This past weekend we went and bought a new refrigerator. It came in black or stark white. I don't really care for stark white appliances. In fact I am sure in an alternative universe I do custom paint jobs on appliances and electronics. Wouldn't that be great if you could get appliances painted the same way they do cars. They need to make this stuff in a larger variety of colors.

Anyway, we picked out the black one. Now in the store I thought it was a tad larger than the one we had. R said it was, but only a little. He has this idea that bigger is better. It probably stems from being in the construction field.

But as all furniture that we buy seems to do, when we got it home it had grown considerably in size. (Or maybe it's just that my rooms are smaller than the showrooms so things seem smaller when we buy them?)

At any rate as I was stretching to put all the stuff back on top, which I now not only cannot reach I can't even see it...I realized that Stanley Kubrick's Monolith is in my kitchen. I wonder if they will find another one like it buried on the moon?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Easter! It's been an insanely crazy week, and I haven't had time for much of anything, let alone posting. But today I can relax. We are going out to dinner shortly.

I hope you all have a wonderful and blessed day!

Hugs, K. <3
Related Posts with Thumbnails
Current copyright laws allow for all work to be automatically protected when it is created. All original artwork, photos, text, logo, descriptions, and derivative works from Blondheart are not to be copied, imitated or distributed in any way. All rights reserved solely by the artist, Kelly Dauterman.

FEEDJIT Live Traffic Map