Friday, December 31, 2010

Fairy Houses?

I really can get giddy thinking about what I have just started. So let me tell you this much it was not planned. I was working on some bird houses for my shop basically for the upcoming spring season. Thought they might be a good addition and it helps me stay connected to the outside world - the birdie world that is. I had just received a note from an old friend who worked with me when I was in the flower business. It brought back some great memories and I noticed how much I missed working with natural things. I had to leave the business because I developed a severe case of skin dermatitis that progressively worsened over the years. But I guess you never really walk away from your passions. I realized that although I love to create things in wood and paint I also have a passion to work with natural elements. To smell the moss or to tear apart pine cones or to scavenger around for the perfect tree limb and then to meld these elements together creating something wonderful or in this case dare I say magical. 

I have been working at being more open to my surroundings and my thoughts, what is the world trying to tell me kind of thing. As I work I usually find myself drifting along in thought about this and that and not truly paying attention to any of it. I think we miss a lot of information by shrugging our thoughts off as just daydreaming or your mind wondering. So I have been staying focused and trying to understand what I  or others might be telling me. So as I was putting together the birdhouses, as plain as can be, I started to see these little houses of sticks and moss and bark and pine cones with little stick furniture and fireplaces. Cabins and cottages, rustic and chic, big and small and the images just kept flooding into my conscientiousness. I had to get these ideas down. Sketches were made and that night all I could think of was how to put it all together. I constructed my first house the next morning. Everything has just fallen into place. I call it my Woodland Cottage and it has a twig bed and table and a big twig chair and it is adorned with bark and lichens and mosses which I found outside my house. Fallen branches,bark from trees and mosses were all around. Then I remembered my bag filled with all these wonderful things I have collected all taken from nature. Now I know why, it is all for these wonderful little houses, fairy houses. And it is for the Fairies, my wonderful new little friends, I am switching gears. I am creating a new line of fairy houses and furnishings under a new name. I would like to thank the fairies. I think it was their hand behind this recent inspiration.

Stay tuned for pictures and info about these cottages.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

New direction.


To purchase Click Here

I love doing my keepsake boxes with garden flowers and birds strewn across them but I wanted to also send a message. I started to work on boxes that portray animals that are on the verge of endangerment or they have arrived. Our world is full of wonderful majestic creatures and I hope I will touch a cord in you by painting them. Hopefully you will buy a Keepsake Box or maybe you will donate to a worthy cause to help our friends in need.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Help the Arts

Every time you purchase an item whether it is clothes, toys, home decor, furniture or whatever, you have a choice. You can buy from an individual who has put all their energy into making a well made product or a company that has outsourced most of the components to a country which probably pays workers very little or has no regard to the toxic components used or the environmental issues in producing the product. There are individuals all over the world who are making well made original works for all types of uses. They are artists of many creative means and all offering the best they can produce.
I guess it hit me while shopping and I noticed the mind set of the average shopper. People aimlessly buying things and I mean things with no thought to where it was made or whom it was being given to. I am a person who would spend weeks trying to discover what the perfect gift would be for a person and most of the time I would buy something that was different and handmade. Of course then I started to give things I made because I thought it meant more giving a part of yourself. Aren't we missing the point of the season? What happen to giving just one gift? Why is it so wrong to buy or make something that is handmade or homemade?
The next time you have a birthday or anniversary or holiday gift to buy check out an art fair or go online and find that fabulous handmade gift made with someones loving hands. Think of the person you will touch with that gift. Then the wonderful artist you have helped be able to go on and create again. It is a beautiful circle you become a part of and it is magical.
Come join the fun.....


Monday, December 6, 2010

Being Open

Last night Tucker my big goofy Standard Poodle was having a slight problem - as my dear old Mom would say he had a bit of the trots. The first time he got me out it was cold and I was not thrilled with him or the rude awakening and then there was the second time and I was starting to grumble. Now I know he did not mean to make this night rough on me and I know he wasn't feeling too great either. By the third time of pulling on the boots, sweat pants and jacket something changed. As we headed down the road at 5 am I noticed the sky and how brilliant the stars were and how crisp and clean the air was and I found myself just enjoying the walk. I felt like we were the only ones experiencing how grand the universe is and how insignificant it was for me to be upset with my furry companion.  It did not matter if the world was in chaos or the state of affairs or if business was improving or if I sold a house or.... What mattered in that moment was just being open. I believe the universe gives us these little hiccups in our lives to shake our worlds up. Sometimes I can get so full of myself and my problems I forget. Thanks for the wake up call upstairs friends I am grateful.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Is it a scam or a sale?

 

Recently I have had inquiries regarding items in my Etsy Shop. I am more than happy to answer your questions and requests. Unfortunately doing business online can leave any artist in jeopardy of scams resulting in the loss of product and cash. Many times you are a qualified customer and  everything works out great. Then comes that one individual that simply steals from you and that trusting artist learns that not everyone is honest. This is a business and artists are learning first hand how to be very astute business people. Maybe you truly are a legitimate customer and want the item but the artist opts  not to finalize the business transaction because they think the transaction may be another scam. For instance, I receive an email or on Etsy a convo and the language is broken or written very poorly, my gut will start to send me red flags of caution, but I usually will press on. Or I receive a request that they want me to set up an account for them with PayPal and they will definitely be good for the money. Remember you already have an account with PayPal.

If you are a customer try to present yourself with courtesy and  professionalism for this is a business, most of the time friendly. As for the later situation it is plain common sense not to follow through with any sale under these type of circumstances. Walk away from the deal and though you may feel you lost a sale just think how you would feel if it was all just a scam. Just because someone wants to purchase from you does not mean you have to sell it if your gut says "this is not right it doesn't make any sense". Me, I allow my gut to make the final ruling and it has been pretty right so far.

To all my fellow artists and online shop entrepreneurs I wish everyone a profitable holiday season and free of scams and thieves and to all our wonderful customers may you cherish that handmade one of a kind gift. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A glass of lemonade.

This past week or so hit me a little harder than usual with some heavy challenges to overcome. I realized that I had been holding inside some issues about my past and was getting myself stuck in a situation that would never allow me to keep moving forward. I guess it was there for some time, you know the elephant in the room thing. But now I am talking to the elephant and working through the fear of change, of the unknown, we all seem to have to deal with these days. I have been so focused on where I want to go I forgot about all the other aspects of living in the present. Yesterday has been finished with and tomorrow may never happen but today can be so spectacular if we just focus on what is around us now. This morning gave me the jolt I needed with a sunrise that was brilliant and colorful and I was the only one viewing it as Tuck and I made our way from our walk back to the house. No one on the road and the lights were just coming on in the neighborhood. I savored the image as long as I could and in a split second realized I had just been touched by something wonderful from the universe, a glass of lemonade.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I joined the fun at Zazzle's

You would think I was busy enough selling cottage furniture on line and in the studio, selling a house and my shop at Etsy. Nope. I have now added some of my images of my artwork to product at Zazzle. Looking for a different holiday card to send or a simple gift check out my shop HERE.

Friday, November 5, 2010

House For Sale

It has been a long muscle aching road but I have come to the end of this journey here in North Carolina and I am eager to start a new one in Vermont. Unfortunately a house now stands in the way between me and a beautiful home sitting on the hill in Brandon, VT. So I have posted photos of this house in FB here, have scheduled an appointment with a Realtor here in town and I am asking everyone out there to help me on my journey. 
It is a great house with oodles of charm, good for entertaining, wonderful neighborhood for a family just starting out. Maybe you are a retired couple who wants to escape the cold and enjoy the fabulous wines found throughout the Yadkin Valley region. Elkin was voted to be the best small town in the region. It offers a full bath on each floor, has 3 bedrooms, a large eat in kitchen, good storage, a large living/great room and dining room. Mature trees and beautiful shrubbery give you all the privacy you need as you enjoy the seasons on the covered porch with fan and skylights or the charming large screened porch. It even has a garage underneath. I have repainted many of the rooms using no VOC paint. There are hard wood floors throughout. Priced very affordable at just above $210,000 making this a great investment.

 

Friday, October 29, 2010

The making of a custom order.

I recently finished this custom ordered Keepsake Box for a gift to a new bride. It gives me a nice feeling to complete something for someone I have never met but I know my keepsake box and artwork will serve as a wonderful reminder to a beautiful day in ones life. Anyway the box started out looking like this. This is a pine crafted with a cove detail and is painted a soft creamy bone. I then added the brides bouquet to the top from an image I received via email and inscribed on the inside the bride and groom's name and date of wedding.

This is an image of the finished box and the photo a worked from. The main image of the bouquet I painted on the top of the box. The front side I showed white ribbon and loose petals cascading down the side. Each order I paint differently because the shape and follow of the bouquets can vary, so the boxes shapes can vary also. I think this is such a special gift to give a couple and I enjoy being able to bring it to my client.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fun cottage items added to Etsy Shop

 Round Wall Clock at Etsy $75+$15/shpg
I just added these stacking boxes to my Etsy shop along with another wall clock. I bought the boxes and the clock to paint and had some fun with them. Once they are sold they will not appear again because I would rather build and finish my own things and of course will keep refurbishing found pieces as my bit for the environment.   

Set of 3 Stacked Boxes $35 + $7shpg
With animals

With Birds

Monday, October 25, 2010

First time.

This is the first time in all the years I have voted - which are many - I am not going to vote. I have lived through many campaigns and not once have I ever been so disappointed in what our government is doing. Not once did I NOT vote. I have become so disgusted with our government and the broken promises from both sides of the aisle. I feel like I am watching children in a 1st grade class acting out. I really want to see everyone fired. Let us get some new innovative thinkers in Congress. So there I said it oh well maybe...
I can always hope.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Making the Move.


I am finishing up my little projects around the house and have picked out a Realtor. It has been a lot of work and very stressful at times deciding how much should be done or not. I have told a few neighbors. I am sure by now have informed everyone my plans to sell. Selling is all in the timing, you never want to show your hand or in my case house too soon. You have one shot for a quick sale, if you don't prepare it could turn out to be a long wait. I have found it is better to take the extra day or week to make everything shine.
I am still working marketing creating items for Laurie Rohner Studio and searching for the right house to move to in Vermont. I narrowed my search down to Brandon, a small town that caters to the arts. I have my eye on a home with a wonderful New England feel to it. I also contacted Brandon Chamber of Commerce website for information and a relocation packet. I received it in the mail within days and inside I found all sorts of fabulous brochures and maps pertinent for my business. The first thing I noticed was the hand written note wishing me success in my move and if there was anything the Chamber could assist in please feel free to contact... This is Vermont and this is why I feel very strongly that even in these tumultuous times I need to do everything I can to take the next step. I need to push through the fear and anxiety and follow my instincts. In order for Laurie Rohner Studio to grow I need to establish a shop base which will be the driving force for all my other endeavors. By relocating to Vermont I will be able to combine the internet, local and state guild organizations and the brick and mortar studio forming a comprehensive marketing strategy.
So why can I not do that here in North Carolina? I am not sure I will ever discover why but I have my own suspicions. What I can say is if it is to be all will work out. If this is my path to follow then no matter what , I will go. Sometimes you have to just believe in yourself and in the world around you. My grandma, Honey used to say 'Work faith and faith works'. This new direction I have chosen is exciting and scary and tiring but nothing in this world worth having is easy. This is what makes getting there all the sweeter.
Maybe you have a nagging feeling a gut churning tug that wont go away and it keeps telling you to go somewhere or do something? Listen to it and then figure out what it might be trying to tell you and then find whatever you need inside yourself to take the leap.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

New Items in Etsy

After a quick break from putting the house together so I can get it up on the market I have added a few things to my Etsy shop.The image above are of the pair of wooden candlesticks and Shaker style box just recently added and below is the door sign with the saying Be Thankful.


Hope you take a break and visit the shop...Laurie.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Why am I leaving the South for New England.

I saw this on a Vermont Realtor web site and realized how much I miss the life in New England. I have been working long and hard to get the house here ready for the market. I have actually found a great home on the outskirts of a wonderful Vermont town called Brandon. It has the essence and character I am searching for and I enjoy the town. I think it would be a nice fit for my studio and business but first I need to find a buyer for this adorable Cape Cod.
As friendly as the people seem in the South, a New Englander doesn't just wave they ask you your name and are interested in your story. Neighbors talk to each other and help each other without hesitation, not that North Carolinian' don't it is that I have never experienced it or seen it. Maybe it is because the winters are hard and nature is always present ready to Wow you or take your leg off, whatever it is that makes up the New Englander they are welcoming to all who live there.
This is what I discovered which by the way is written by a good ol' Southern boy but what truth - and a good laugh.

Forget Rednecks ......here is what Jeff Foxworthy has to say about New Englanders...

  • If your local Dairy Queen is closed from September through May, you live in New England .
  • If someone in a Home Depot store offers you assistance and they don't work there, you live in New England
  • If you've worn shorts and a parka at the same time, you live in New England .
  • If you've had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialed a wrong number, you live in New England
  • If "Vacation" means going anywhere south of New York City for the weekend, you live in New England
  • If you measure distance in hours, you live in New England .
  • If you know several people who have hit a deer more than once, you live in New England .
  • If you have switched from "heat" to "A/C" in the same day and back again, you live in New England
  • If you can drive 75 mph through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard without flinching, you live in New England .
  • If you install security lights on your house and garage, but leave both unlocked, you live in New England
  • If you carry jumpers in your car and your wife knows how to use them, you live in New England
  • If you design your kid's Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit, you live in New England
  • If the speed limit on the highway is 55 mph -- you're going 80 and everybody is passing you, you live in New England .
  • If driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow, you live in New England .
  • If you know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction, you live in New England .
  • If you have more miles on your snow blower than your car, you live in New England .
  • If you find 10 degrees "a little chilly", you live in New England .
  • If you actually understand these jokes, you live in ......... NEW ENGLAND!
In no means am I saying that the Southern people are not friendly just friendly in a different way than the North or more to the point the New Englander.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Contact Info.


If you need to contact me for info you can easily send me an email through the numerous sites I utilize contact page. This does not mean you are dealing with a fictional person just someone protecting their personal info on the internet. For some reason lately I have had a few cliches come up and just feel it is better for my own sanity to guard most of the contact info you would normally see. Most artist work from their studios which are linked to their homes and the line can be blurred between business and personal with too much information being released. This is why I have simplified and blocked or deleted most of my info. At this point of time most of us either text or email what we need to do so really why show all the rest. I answer all my inquiries promptly. I also make my studio available by appointments. So when browsing through an artists website and you think they are being elusive, they are just trying to keep themselves safe from prying eyes and unscrupulous people.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Something new in the shop.


I have been working on some new things for my Etsy Shop. The most recent are these fun wooden recycled bits of cedar shakes I cut into little rectangles and strung them with waxed leather cording. To finish them off I gave the ends wooden decorative beads. I just think they are so fresh and fun and very unique. Each necklace has a different hand painted nature inspired illustration making them a true original very mini piece of art you can hang around your neck. The cord is cut to a nice workable length of 36 inches. Great gift idea for the upcoming holidays or what a different hostess gift for those get together.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Joined Handmade Spark

I decided to try Handmade Spark which works with Etsy and helps to promote your Etsy shop. It is very easy to join and add your mini website which is your shop. You get quite a bit for a small fee of $6/month and if interested in more about Handmade Sparks just click on the avatar at the left. I have had gradual success with my shop and feel this only helps market it to more people and what better time to do so then with the holidays coming. Give it a try....

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Removing Personal Info.


Ok many of you have read this so many times before beware posting personal info on your sites. Many artist have this dilemma to post info so clients can reach them easily, but our business info and personal info sometimes meld together. Many creative people work out of there homes and this is very prevalent today. I have always taken the attitude people can find the info if they know how so why worry. To be very clear worry. I just had an incidence where someone found my number on my site and tried to convince me I knew this person from years back. He kept asking me questions about my personal history in the form of do you remember what's .......name and where was that? This is the 2nd scam I have had so now all info is being deleted. By the way don't answer questions on the phone either.

This is also why I have a very big dog who's main job is to protect me, which he does with extreme expertise. I have seen Tuck hold a 250lb man back at the door because I did not say it was OK for that man to be there yet. As a friend once told me many years ago who just happen to be a State Trooper a big dog is the best protection anyone can have. Now if I could get Tucker to guard my personal info I would be set.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Double Happiness.

Sometimes I wonder if past customers are able to find me. This week I finished a sap bucket for a wonderful customer, a couple from my beginning days in NJ. I am so happy and thrilled because they wanted me to do something special for their 10th Anniversary. They searched for me and found my website laurierohner.com.

When you move as much as I have in the past years you hope that somehow your clients find you especially since most of my clients are before Twitter or FB and a newsletter was just becoming the thing to do. Things online have changed at an incredible speed and I feel very much for the best. I think as long as you keep getting your name out there in any avenue you can your customers will search and find you. Be sure you keep it coherent and utilize the name they know you by. I have seen so many people with all sorts of avatars the search engines skip you right over. By the way Google your business or name and see what comes up I was amazed to find 5 pages for laurie rohner.

Back to my customers I ended up taking a sap bucket with the garden scene and adding the Chinese symbol for double happiness which had great significance for these wonderful people. Honestly it is not the money that gives me that wonderful feeling of joy and gratitude it is creating something that another individual(s) will cherish. In my small way I am making the world just a little brighter. This is why I do what I do. What do you do to be blessed with double happiness?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Stealing Is Not Nice.


I came across a blog post today and saw my Painted Sap Bucket shown in a part of this blog along with some words I had said. The funny thing is I never said those words to the author of this blog or authorized the use of my photo. Yes I did get some free publicity, maybe, but at what price? If you allow one to steal then where will it stop. This blog mentioned I had nothing else like this to offer which since I am a decorative artist and paint on many different surfaces it is a fraudulent statement. The link to my sap bucket did not work. I have requested that she remove my sap bucket from her blog but let's face it the damage is done.

To all you blog authors who feel you have the right to steal an artists work image of work or idea itself stop the urge. Go through the channels of requesting consent BEFORE you post your blog. I did not mention the authors blog or name because I did not want to give her the attention. It is her actions that have me understandably annoyed.

At Etsy people will often add your items to treasuries or their favorites list which makes the experience at Etsy all the more engaging and gives the artist a sense of community. I myself have passed on an artist blog post to people who may be interested in the artist's work. There is a fine line between stealing and just spreading the work of an artists and it is getting blurred more and more.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Could the economy be turning?


The past week has been very hectic and I am thrilled to say profitable. I am not sure why the change but here are some ideas I have to share:

1. the economy is improving
2.all my marketing and joining groups is showing in sales.
3.hard work does pay off.

Maybe it is a combination of all three and I am very grateful. I have been implementing some of the advise I have received on the Etsy sellers blog and have tried to be consistent with my marketing. I have really pushed in branding my style and I never gave up pushing myself forward.
I certainly am not writing this to brag by any means because during these times one successful week or so could end just as quickly. I wanted to share to cheer all of us on and not to give up.
As it has been written so many times on so many other blogs most successes never happen because you give up too soon. Everything can change for you in just a moment. Keep creating, pushing yourself a little further because don't you owe it to yourself to be the person you want to be.

Friday, July 23, 2010

An Update on Tucker's Lesson.


When I last wrote about Tucker's little lesson I never thought I would find out so much about thyroids and especially mine. I am not sure why I always feel that the care for another little soul is more valuable than my own but slowly I am changing. It was very simple for me to go the course of holistic natural treatment for Tuck but when I had mine tested I just did what the doctor said and went with taking his prescribed synthetic hormone your thyroid needs to work properly. I have to be honest I did not take the little pill regularly. Did you know women are the primary group with low working thyroids due to the influx of hormones during that time in a woman's life, and we know what that is don't we? A hypothyroid has symptoms that mimic many other conditions so please check out the symptoms online and if you think you have a problem get your blood tested.

I have started Tuck on a vitamin mineral herbal thyroid pill with a mineral that is the natural version of the synthetic hormone that he could use. The same I had briefly taken. Within a couple of days I have seen an improvement in his mannerisms and health. His ears which had given him problems has cleared completely and his coat has started to feel different (an oily feel and slight smell to the coat). Even in this horrible heat he is jumping around as he had not too long ago. Another symptom of hypothyroidism is sore joints which in my case was diagnosed as early arthritis. Since I have started using natural herbal supplements and dietary changes my joints have stopped aching and I don't have the swishing sound in my shoulders. Tuck hasn't told me if that is the case so I can only guess.

I am a lover of observing the world around me but why is it when life keeps sending you signals we seem to miss the message? I think the universe was gently nudging me and finally had to smack me over the head to wake up. So I am asking all of you out there to now wake up and pay attention because I can bet there are signs you are missing that will help you on this journey we are all taking. I know I am paying closer attention.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

What my dog taught me this week.



It started with the regular check up with a new vet I had discovered here. Tucker has always had a mild reaction to the vaccines or monthly meds. So I went with questions about certain booster shots. This wonderful new vet went through his motions and gave Tuck a thorough exam and then turned to say I know you are here for the boosters but I think they are not wise choices. He had backed what I suspected and then said but a blood test would be good to do. I agreed and the next day he called with the results Tucker was in good health but his thyroid was slightly low in the normal range. Strangely enough my thyroid had shown the same results several years back. In the past year I have been very busy working and I have not been taking the best care of me.

I do not take medication and only when all else has been tried. I am a strong believer of alternative medicine and energy healing. I started to research what some of the more holistic ways there were to treat thyroid in dogs and discovered that we could treat each other in the same manner. It may be more work and a few more herbs of this and that but taking a synthetic hormone wasn't the answer for me and it certainly isn't for Tuck. Interesting enough my wonderful vet concurred. Tuck has once again taught me to take care of me and there are always alternatives to every challenge in life. The simple fix, the immediate cure are symptoms of our society. For now Tuck and I are sitting back and taking life in and healing each other.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Gearing up for the Holidays.

In between all the summertime activities and the hot and humid weather who thinks of the Holidays. I am for one. While operating a floral shop this was the perfect time to start collecting the pine cones and ribbons and creating wonderful creations for the shop. This still is very much the truth today. I was side tracked last year and it cost me. I allowed the news of doom and gloom to effect the way I thought about my business. I promised myself I wouldn't allow this to happen again so out comes all the things I have been thinking of since last year and I am devoting half my time to the holidays and half my time to the present. Gradually I am adding to my Etsy shop so that early buyers can get a jump on their purchases. I hope you will use this time to do the same.

There are so many wonderful handcrafted handmade gifts to find and I urge everyone to support the artisan, the creative spirits, the very hard working entrepreneurs you find throughout Etsy and beyond. Check out the local Crafters Guild or the Art Gallery in your area and buy handmade. I know I would be grateful.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

New Nursery Artwork

Teddy Bear with Smile
10" square

I have expanded my etsy shop and I am adding decorative canvas panels for a baby's nursery. These are affordable little stretched canvases that are painted on all sides so you don't have to worry about framing. All you have to do is put a nail in the wall to start your wee one on the road of collecting art.

Bunny with Carrot
8" square

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A little shop cleaning on Etsy.





I decided to try something a little different and photographed these small panels on an easel set up as you would see them in an actual shop. I want to give the viewer a sense of being in a shop. You can still see up close versions of the panels but sometimes this distorts the paintings and leaves a potential customer very detached. Etsy has a very different theory in photographing items and I am trying to implement what they find works the best which is giving the photo a story and making it a little more believable. This is not how painters are taught to show their work but I think after getting these shots together they just might have something good to share. I may be 50 something but I am never to young to try a better way of displaying artwork and furniture. That's what makes selling fun. Exploring and discovering new ways to promote and market what you love to do.

Take another look at what you are selling and is your story being told in the photos? If not try some summertime cleaning and dust off old viewpoints, you just never know where it may lead you.

Monday, June 28, 2010

When the alarms go off in your head, listen.


Yesterday I received an email from a potential customer on Etsy, but as I read the request to buy my box my stomach started to churn. No it wasn't the coffee or the bagel I had eaten. First there was a request to verify if I was trustworthy, then I needed to supply complete name personal info (which all pertinent info can be found on my site and shop), and my final price for the box which I was running on a special. This customer was not finished though. I now had to send all my info to another email. I also was to use their shipper? with the additional money they would send (certified transfer) but I would have to set it all up. I guess they would determine the cost of shipping? Mind you this is for a sale for under $100 on Etsy with $1 shipping to anyone in the US. Again the stomach churned but I thought it is a sale and this is all part of working online. Wrong.

When you take the emotional aspect away and look at the facts you can see there were many problems with this order. My greatest concern is the security issues of releasing info to an unknown buyer. Simply put do not give anyone information above and beyond what is necessary for your business. Think about the information you would find if shopping at a favorite brick and mortar storefront. You have location, the shop name, telephone and that is about it. Because you have a virtual shop don't fall into the trap of overcompensating for a brick and mortar location because there is one, your studio. You can still accept credit/debit cards, checks and money orders and people can come and visit your studio. The plus side of an online shop/site is you can also check the customer out. On Etsy you join to either buy or sell or both and you register to do so. When you receive an email it is referred to as a convo (conversation) and you can click on the person to see their profile. I found this person was not found within Etsy. I decided to send an email explaining how I do business through a convo and also to the other email address and found that address would not go through. Was this a scam? I do not know. Or was it an order from outside the US which for now I do not ship outside the US.

This experience has opened up many issues but they are for another time.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Things happen.


Over the weekend I received a sale for my Vintage Picnic Basket which is in my Etsy shop. I was very grateful for the order but when preparing to get the packaging and shipping labels together I noticed it was being shipped to Canada. I also did not have a valid telephone number which is very important for an International shipment. Yes shipping to Canada is now an International confusing with paperwork and tripled in pricing shipment. I have discovered that in Jan 2010 the shipping guidelines for Canada had changed. The charges for a 6lb package from NC to Alberta Canada was now $28.00 + customs charges bringing it to the sum of $41.00. I was shocked and now I had to decide to keep the sale or tell the customer that I would have to issue a surcharge. I opted to tell the customer what had happened and offered to cancel the order. The order was canceled.

I believe things always turn out the way they were meant to so what I discovered is to keep things simple for now and ship to only my neighbors here in the US. I would not have come to this conclusion if it wasn't for the listing error in my Etsy shop that allowed shipping to Canada (now corrected). Secondly my customer was in hot water with her hubby for spending money on the basket and she was grateful I offered her a way out. All in all we basically got what we wanted from the experience and although I lost the sale I gained a little more knowledge about my business. You just have to look for the good in all situations and most of the time it isn't the bottom line,or money.

So anyone shipping to areas outside your country be careful because the shipping charges might drastically eat into your profit. Please be cautious and offer to who you can.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What is new at Laurie Rohner Studio


Today I have spent much of the day researching an assortment of marketing options and have found some very creative ideas to promote your art business. Etsy has a number of handmade links where you can feature your shop such as Handmade Sparks (http://www.handmadespark.com/blog/newsletter/). I also discovered that maybe a web site isn't the absolute answer and that utilizing a blog, such TypePad or WordPress to name a few might actually work better for people who have an online shop such as Etsy. These are questions I am in the process of figuring out and will get back to later.

What is new is we at LRStudio.etsy.com or Laurie Rohner Studio are now offering $1 shipping on almost everything in the shop to our neighbors in the States only. The exception to this are the original fine art paintings and the vintage glassware. I hope you will take advantage of this change.

Also on this blog you may have noticed the sidebar has changed and we are adding some new features that link you easily to some other sites. Please take the time to discover not only what we offer but some amazing artists.

More to come....

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Buy it at Etsy


After much consideration and the advise from a few knowledgeable people I have decided to streamline how you purchase my things. It was getting to the point that every time I made a change in shipping (certain items now ship for $1) I would go through hours of updating my main site and then matching the information to the other venues. Too much wasted time on trivial mind numbing computer work which meant less time being creative. I chose to emphasize my Etsy Shop which is at www.LRStudio.etsy.com to be the best way to purchase my Painted Cottage Art and whatever else I have created along the way.

Why I went with my Etsy shop simply came down to common sense. It is where I have the most traffic. Traffic is important but combine it with the very helpful and friendly community at Etsy is a winning combo. I have had my things featured in Treasury showcases which are put together by other sellers on Etsy. On my Facebook wall there is a tab that connects you directly to my Shop and it is on my Facebook Fan Page www.facebook.com/pages/Laurie-Rohner-Studio/314782958056?ref=mf. Yes I haven't forgotten about my main site at www.laurierohner.com. I prominently added links to my Etsy Shop through a separate links page and also explained how to purchase on my home page.

For me I took what was working well and made it the center of the hub. Think of it as an octopus with many legs all working in conjunction to feed the body your work in this case. Etsy the body and all the venues feeding back to the body. In this new changing art business world I feel you have to keep thinking outside the box and hopefully I have made some smart choices.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Something changed...


I have expanded my Etsy shop to include antiques and vintage pieces. It all came about from my recent downtime. I was finding myself feeling heavy and stagnant and instinctively knew I better step back and renew myself. So I packed up Tuck and off we went to visit with nature and a friend who always has a special way of getting me back on track. We all need to step back and look at our lives to see what direction we need to go or to see if we are even heading down the right path. What I found for myself was a new perspective and saw life with a fresh set of eyes.

What I am doing now is simply this...life is exactly what you put into it so don't sit on the sidelines and complain why things aren't going your way. If you do, life is going to give you what you are giving, nothing. So stop and start doing. I found that my life had become weighted down with things from a past that no longer suited me. So I am giving away, donating, selling or recycling everything that doesn't enhance my life. By doing this I have found I am releasing my strangle hold on my past and feel lighter and more open to my present. Plus by getting rid of the baggage and organizing my life allows my self to start focusing on what I need to accomplish here and now. And finally when I put all this together I have discovered that the old self, the genuine person that I thought had long ago disappeared is starting to show up and I am looking pretty good.

So that is why I have expanded my Etsy shop and if you have the time I think you might find something to enhance your life in the shop. Hum I guess my clutter becomes your clutter then....oh well.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Staying Focused

Have you ever had one of those weeks where you start to wonder if the universe has it out for you? This past week was my week but I think I figured out something that just might help you and me the next time you find yourself battling the universe. First off stop thinking there is a conspiracy. Now take a breath and observe what you are doing and why did whatever happen. My week started with me tripping over the top step and slamming both knees down on the floor. Amazingly enough I had a full cup of coffee in hand and managed to keep the cup upright spilling very little. Later in the week I spilled a full glass of water all over the bed and floor as I was getting ready for bed. Next I went food shopping and as I was unloading my groceries a bee stung me several times on my thumb (which is still puffy). In between there were a bunch of little annoying mishaps but not worth adding. I think you get my point - challenging week.

The two lessons I think I have figured out is things happen for a reason. If I had stayed aware of the steps I was taking I would not have tripped or knocked over the water or not seen the bee. All week I have been scurrying about getting what I needed done thinking about everything but the task at hand. Guess what I wasn't nearly as productive as I could have been if I just stayed focused. The other lesson learned is the lessons keep coming until you finally stop breath observe and focus.

Also since I always try to see a positive side to every lesson, I had damaged my one knee several months ago and when I fell on it I thought more damage, glad to say it is back to normal. My spilled water glass cleaned my floor and the bee sting got me to slow down so I could see the lesson to learn.

The next time your world gets a little wonky I hope you will stop breath and focus otherwise the universe will continue to send the message for a very frustrating week.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Customer service is very important.


Today started very early because I had spent the previous day working with a very nice gentleman in NY. He was a set designer and was working on the new Smurf Movie. He had found some of our things at our Etsy shop and wanted to know if I could get them shipped - well yesterday. We went back and forth pretty much the whole day and by 8pm I sent my last email with my latest information. At this point I had still not received an order. I signed off my computer. It was St. Patty's Day and my Irish dinner was calling. Now you can see why my day started very early. I was anxious to see what had transpired during the night if anything. As I opened my emails I was thrilled to see the order had come through and a request to ship a certain way. Pick ups were issued, additional billing taken care of, confirmations handled, emails to notify customer, signing releases and of course making sure the package was packed and labeled properly. I am a firm believer that the customer should always get what they want and it is my job to provide it.
You may be asking why am I writing about this? It would have been very easy to do the minimal amount required of me and my company but would I have received the order? Maybe not. It is important to remember that service should never be minimal but instead the highest standard you can provide, no matter what the outcome may end up being.

Recently I experienced customer service at its worst and it served as a reminder how important it is to show your potential customers quality, kindness, hard work and respect. These days you can not afford to forget this.

Friday, February 26, 2010

So you think you are in control?

Today I thought I would take advantage of the time I have been given and jot down some thoughts. No matter how much we think we are in control of our lives the universe or the divine lets us know the cold hard truth. The reason why I have the extra time is this morning I got up turned up my heat and nothing. I thought I could push what my oil I had left and not fill my tank till next year. Although I had 25 gallons in the tank life said nope you need to order oil. So I am waiting in a very cool house for my delivery. My furnace and heat pump are old and I think I might switch over to natural gas so I wanted to empty my tank. Ah this is life stepping in and saying not now with your furnace, maybe just the heat pump. Whenever I am in a quandary over something in my life I ask to be given some guidance or answers. You need to stay aware of the signs because they are usually subtle and gentle nudges although sometimes I need a swift kick in the pants. So today I am reminded again how little control I have over the events in my life. I am simply grateful that the oil has now been delivered and the heat is coming up once again and that I have the money to pay for the oil that has been delivered. I guess I should look into some heat pumps.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Recycling Found Furniture

This is a dresser that found its way to my shop. It was in such disrepair but I could still see the potential in this dresser. I started by sanding and removing the brown paint and discovered the top was in good condition but the body of the dresser would have to be painted. I removed the hardware and replaced the knobs with new stained shaker style knobs. The feet were structurally sound so I opted to paint them the same as the body and drawers of the dresser. The top was stained a honey brown color (my own mixture) and the rest painted blueberry blue with alkyd paint. The total of three times with a light sanding in between each time gave this dresser a durable base finish.
I was ready to add some decorative finishes. I used acrylic paints to create the garland design on each of the drawers and after the paint dried I add line work to detail my design. Once I am satisfied with the look I have achieved I then add two coats of varnish again lightly sanding between each time. When the piece is completely dry and that will vary due to humidity in the air, I then finish with beeswax.
The finished piece is quite different from when it first came to the shop. It was on its way to clutter another landfill. Now this little dresser was unique in design and would last for many years if not generations.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Oops I changed the name again.

I am stream lining my branding name so I have changed my blog heading to follow with my business name Laurie Rohner Studio. Since I have taken a new direction with my business it is important to keep everything as coherent as possible. This gives your customers and yourself an easier way of connecting with you and your work.
I find it has become imperative to the growth of my business and my own creativity to draw on a multitude of talents. This will not only improve the quality of the work but I will grow as an individual. There are many fine artists in this world all waiting to be the next discovery which when you are married or wealthy or retired or working full time at a job and your art is secondary I guess you can wait. But I am none of those and I am terrible at waiting so I am doing what I do best. I enjoy taking wood and sawing it down to create a functional useful work of art. My style has been cultivated and honed and when I work in my wood shop and smell the wood it is comfortable and I am at home. It is the same when I smell the paint as I work the canvas or paper or walls or wood. I love the entire process.
That is why it annoys me and saddens me when other artist (many women) make judgements and critique how another artist makes a living. You read volumes of how to be successful artists yet they have never had to survive on their own. There are scores of people declaring their success only to disappear by the end of the year. Then there are a number of us who work at their craft, honing their style and skill, because they discovered a purpose. An artist is someone who experiences all that can be created making no judgement and finding joy after it is finished. If you are an artist that has to keep an eye on the bottom line and is what I think is a professional artist please join in and criticize.
I recently added a fan page to facebook and was surprised when friends didn't become a fan. Maybe a glitch in the facebook system and maybe not but it is a nonverbal way of alienating another. I personally will become a fan to anyone who sends me an invite. Just good for karma.
My hope is to make people aware that a professional artist life is very challenging and when you are a single artist it can be daunting. Funny thing I wouldn't have my life any other way.

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Small Discovery.

I had decided to start the year ready for new and exciting changes. I organized myself and my living /work space. I donated to worthy causes and discarded items to be recycled or put a sign out offering them for free and as I worked I discovered how freeing the experience had become. There has been a lot of change in my life with the passing of some key people and the numerous moves I had made over the past several years. I found that I had held onto the ghosts and memories of an old outdated life that no longer represented who and how I wanted my life to be lived. People who brought back painful memories and who are not in my life anymore yet I packed photos carefully and moved them with me each time. Why do we cling to these painful memories and people so tightly? I feel sometimes we stay so connected to things in the past we get stuck and can’t move forward. Growth becomes stagnant and our lives are lived out in a void of indifference and without passion. So this past week I had a clearing away party and burned the photos of all the people and events that didn’t support my life (maybe they never had). As the fire claimed the memories I would say a positive affirmation. The final step to claiming my life back and saying good bye to the ghosts of the past and discovering a new life of possibilities is waiting. I experienced a jolt of renewed energy, of optimism and passion showing me where I wanted to go in life. I see my path with clarity and excitement.
One thing did strike me; the world has become too complacent with corporations doing whatever they want and people feeling as if they will never see the light again. Maybe it is time for each of us to clear out the things, memories and people who are weighing us down. Take a stance and take responsibility for your actions and life. We fill our lives with nothingness and are shocked when we still have nothing. Cut up the credit card or throw away the cell phone you can’t afford. Instead learn how to cook a healthy meal for your family and friends or take a hike in the woods with your dog and kids and learn more about the world that you share with an entire planet. Fill your life with things of meaning not just things. Be an individual and do it because it is right for you. Better yet venture out of your comfortable little box and experience something challenging. You may just discover someone new and it may even be you.

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