Prong Setting Tutorial

Spring has arrived and with it comes the obligatory cleaning…sigh. Motivated by the warm weather, I decided to organize my workspace to make room for new projects. As I was cleaning, I stumbled across a pair of tiny white geodes. “These would be great earrings”, I thought to myself…and that, dear readers, was all it took for me to begin my latest project…all attempts to clean were swept aside in order to allow time to set these fair stones into prong settings:

This project assumes basic soldering knowledge as well as access to a soldering station.

What you’ll need:

  • A pair of stones of similar color, shape and size
  • 22g silver round wire cut into six (6) 20mm pieces*
  • Earring posts (without pads) & backs
  • Tiny drill bit or center punch
  • Ring clamp or vise

*The 20mm length is based on the geodes, which are 8mm x 10mm x 3.6mm high. Your length can be modified based on the size of your stones, keeping in mind that excess wire will be clipped off

Step 1: Making the setting

Each prong setting will use three pieces of the silver wire. Bend two into a U shape and place the bends facing one another. Place the third straight piece between the two U’s making sure they touch. Using hard solder, solder the pieces together.  Repeat this process with the remaining silver wire and pickle.

Step 2: Soldering the earring posts

Using a tiny drill bit or center punch, make a divot in the center of each piece where the three wires are soldered together. I lightly taper the soldering end of the post with a file so that it fits into the divot. Using a piece of soft solder, attach each earring post and pickle.

Step 3: Adding the stone

Place the earring post in a vise or a ring clamp. Gently push the prongs up, creating a basket shape large enough for your stone. Place your stone and gently bend one prong up at a time so that the prongs are vertical.

Before cutting the excess metal down, ensure you allow enough of the prong to bend over the stone to hold it in like a claw. Once the prongs are at the desired length, file the ends flat and push each prong over the stone, one at a time using a burnisher or other small steel tool. Hold the stone in place while you do this because it will move. Bending opposite prongs helps during this process.

Step 4: Finishing the prongs

To finish, use a grinding bur to flatten the bent prongs. I chose to oxidize these for contrast, but they are just as beautiful left un-oxidized. Tumble for a little shine or wear as is!


PS if you have the time we are taking a survey of our readers, it's a quick 10 minutes.

A Survey, You Say?! Calling All Blog Readers!

Spring is almost in the air. Almost! This week alone we've partied in parts of the World - In New Orleans, Louisiana, we call it "Mardi Gras," in countries like Brazil, it is called "Carnival"- before ushering in the Lenten season for Christians.  We're also celebrating Women's History Month in the United States, and on Saturday, March 8th, International Women's Day that has a theme designated by the United Nations, "Equality for Women is Progress for All."

All of this has to do with today's post in that it is all a sign of change. Change in how women are treated and viewed globally, albeit we have a long road to global equality, and in how we think and behave.  Lent is really a chance to shed old perceptions and habits and move into new enlightenment. Well, if you believe in the idea of enlightenment and the practice of shedding old perceptions and habits.

I am a huge believer in change. Sometimes I don't always like it, but I know that change is the only constant in life.  Half the battle of dealing with change is accepting that there is a part we can not control. Scary! Change rarely brings out the bad, it usually brings out the good.

We at the EtsyNewYork Blog are undergoing a bit of change. We're under new management and we're looking to get feedback to bring about change. Don't worry, we're not going to do anything drastic.  We'd just like to know a bit about our readers, YOU, and what you like, dislike, and would like to see more of in the future.

The survey below has only 10 questions and I promise it won't take you longer than five minutes. There are no prizes for completing the survey, just undying gratitude and the knowledge in the coming weeks, that you had part of the changes you see on the screen.

So please, won't you help our team usher in change?

Thank you!

Outright - Your small business simplified.

When I began running Fritz & Fräulein, I was the one-woman show for everything from the branding and marketing to the design and production of my pieces. The last thing I wanted to think about was accounting - and to echo the sentiments of so many fellow small biz owners: who really has time to?

Enter my number crunching savior: Outright.

Outright is a cloud-based accounting software that helps small business owners organize their finances and prepares them for tax time in an easy, smart way by pulling accounts into one, easy-to-navigate place.  It seamlessly syncs with all your online e-commerce sites, such as Etsy, Big Cartel, eBay, your own personal selling site and the like, along with PayPal and your bank accounts. You choose what accounts to to sync it with and it will download and automatically categorize transactions all the various transactions on a nightly basis, in a way the IRS expects, to keep your taxes organized and you up-to-speed on where your money is coming and going.  Needless to say, it makes keeping track of your business financials clear cut and easy-to-understand.

One of my favorite Outright features is the business tracking portion, which has fantastic charts and graphs to help you keep track of who's buying, how much money you're making and sales by state.  Oh yeah, and by-the-way, this part is free (and always will be).  Even the tax portion, which breaks everything down for your Schedule C / 1099-K, is free until the end of the year and is only $9.99/mo starting in January.  This, to me, is so worth avoiding the tax headache of trying to do it myself or pulling transactions into one of the more complex programs like Quickbooks. No, thank you.

Not only is Outright incredible for helping so many of us simplify our small business accounting (10,000+ Etsy sellers and counting!), but they're one of our sponsors for this weekend's Etsy New York Holiday Handmade Cavalcade!  Click here to set up your free account and let Outright do the rest.

See you at the Cavalcade!

-Stacy / Fritz & Fräulein

Etsy New York thanks Outright for sponsoring the Holiday Handmade Cavalcade!

What: Holiday Handmade Cavalcade

When: Saturday & Sunday, December 1st and 2nd

Time: 11am - 6pm

Where: The Space, 50 North 3rd Street (between Kent and Wythe), Williamsburg, Brooklyn

More information about our other sponsors, goodie bag contributions, our awesome food vendors, and other Cavalcade news is coming up, so stay tuned!

Jammin' Out on Governors Island

It's finally here...opening weekend at Governors Island! GI is my favorite "undiscovered" spot in New York and with Better Than Jam's shop opening this weekend, I couldn't be more excited!

As Simone mentioned last week, it is curated with some of the best handmade items from Etsy New York artists and is open from 10am to 6pm every weekend during the summer from Memorial Day Weekend to September 3rd. The shop is located this year in one of the island's historic apartment buildings named "The Governors Galleries."

Shop owner, Karin Persan spoke about the store's concept, “Ultimately, the goal of Better Than Jam’s collaboration with Governors Island is to offer visitors a handmade and local shopping experience, with craft demonstrations, all within the setting of a unique, peaceful and historically rich public space.” The selection includes items designed and crafted with the island in mind, and will allow every visitor to take home a tangible memento from their Governors Island visit.

Here's a sneak peak to how the shop is shaping up:

As an added bonus, every Saturday the shop is collaborating with the Etsy New York Team to share their wide range of artistic skills by hosting crafting workshops. For opening weekend, the Team is helping kick off our craft workshop series with a face painting booth at the Governors Island Family Festival this Saturday, May 26th from 12 to 4pm at Nolan Park.

The crafting workshop schedule thus far is as follows:
- May 26th: face painting (at Nolan Park)
- June 2nd: toy making
- June 9th: sun prints
- June 16th: TBA
- June 23rd: beaded ladder rings
- June 30th: card making
- July 7th: sachet making

Happy Spring and we're all very excited to see you on the Island!


How to Tell Your Story and Make the Sale

The warmer weather is finally here, which means many Etsy artists in the New York area will soon be selling their wares not just in their online shops, but also in the great outdoors—at street fairs, flea markets and crafts festivals.

Are you ready to interact with your public? Are you ready to tell your story in order to make that sale?

According to SpeakEtc.’s Robyn Hatcher, a communications and presentation expert based in New York, there are a few things creative people need to think about to communicate their message, and it doesn’t always involve your words.

Robyn Hatcher
In fact, when it comes to the elements that affect a listener’s tendency to believe or trust a particular speaker, a well-known study by communications expert Albert Mehrabian notes that what you actually say (the verbal element) counts for just 7%. The vocal element—how you say it—counts for 38%, and the visual element—what you look like—counts for a whopping 55%.

How do these numbers translate into how you present yourself?

Your work and your look should be consistent. “People believe what they see and hear before the words even come out of your mouth,” says Hatcher, “so dress in a way that’s consistent with what you’re selling.” If you dress conservatively, for example, and you’re selling soft paintings, people may not trust you as much as if you dressed in a softer style.

Conversely, if you’re an artist, that doesn’t give you license to look disheveled, either. “You want to look arty yet professional,” says Hatcher. “Make sure what you’re wearing is flattering to your body and figure. But most important, make sure that what you’re projecting is 100 percent consistent with your work.

“It may seem like a no-brainer,” she adds, “but I’ve met jewelry designers who don’t even wear their own pieces. Of course, you shouldn’t wear too much either, but wearing a touch of what you do is essential.”

Project confidence with your body language. There are things that we do naturally when we’re confident that can put our potential customers at ease, but these things can go out the window when we’re anxious about making a sale. Hatcher suggests remembering the following tips when nerves start to kick in.
  • Greet people with a slight eyebrow raise. It’s a warm, inviting silent welcome.
  • When possible, try a light appropriate touch, on safe places like the elbow, shoulder or hand. Touch creates a bond and makes people feel more positive about you.
  • Use eye contact (5 to 10 seconds at a time). People will feel engaged and connected.
  • Smile. 
  • Keep from covering your torso whenever possible. It’s easy to assume a posture like crossing your arms, but the torso is the most vulnerable part of the body; showing it makes you seem trustworthy and confident.

Don’t think it’s about selling. When making your sales pitch, remember to talk about why you do what you do, not just what you do or how you do it. “Think about why you create,” says Hatcher. “Of course we all need to make money, but the moment we focus on making money first, we project desperation and/or frustration, neither of which is very attractive or engaging. Instead of thinking about selling, think about sharing. Every person who experiences you and your work is one more person you’ve impacted. You never know who they know or how long it might take for them to call you or engage with you.”

When Hatcher coaches her clients, she looks for the relatable stories or aspects of their work that they can use in closing a sale. If you can touch upon an emotional need in your customer—be it a sense of nostalgia, or making someone feel more attractive—then you’re much more apt to not only make the sale, but also a connection that turns the sale into a returning customer.

“Whenever someone is listening to you,” says Hatcher, “there’s always this tape in their head that’s asking—what’s in this for me? That’s what you want to hook into.”

If you’re a jewelry designer, for example, think about what drove you to create a certain design, then share that story.

“You want your customer to say, ‘Oh, I’ve been there. I know this person better because she shared this info with me,’” says Hatcher. “You want the customer to be able to relate.”

Of course, you may not even be aware of why you created certain things, as so much of our creativity is subconscious. But Hatcher says it’s worth it to dig down into yourself and find an answer that’s deeper than saying you created something simply because you like it.

“Ask yourself why you’re doing the work you do,” she says, “then ask what it is you want your customer to feel when wearing or using your things.”

A happy outcome of doing such an exercise might be not just more sales, but a spurt of creativity as well, as you become more aware of where your work is coming from.

“Proudly and confidently talking about what you do is not the same as bragging,” says Hatcher. “Fully sharing what it is that you do and the value your art might bring to perspective buyers is providing a service.

“Art is healing, art is therapeutic, art can change people, and by not fully sharing what it is you do and by not allowing people to fully experience you and your art, you are doing them and your art a disservice.”

Looking for a professional video for your web site? Hatcher and videographer Judith George will be presenting a two-day seminar May 19 and 20 titled "Telling Your BizVid Story." Participants will leave the  workshop with elevated communication skills, a clear and concise business story, plus a professionally shot and edited, ready-to-post video. Contact Hatcher for details.

Until next time!
Mary Ann

A photo locket for your little secrets...

Spring Into Coral

Spring is in full swing and as I change out of winter mode, there's no other color I'd rather fill my wardrobe and home with than coral. Pantone set the trend naming "Tangerine Tango" its color of the year for 2012 and brought coral to the forefront in everything from fashion to home goods. From coral pinks to the deepest orange-hued coral tones I've scoured the web and came across my favorites featuring this gorgeous hue. Enjoy!

clockwise from top left: Coral Chevron Mugs from Jill Rosenwald; Miranda Corals framed prints by Miranda Baker; room from Shelter Interior Design; Coral Desk by Jelena

clockwise from top left: shirt and coral shorts by H&M, with clutch by Primark; Quartz Ring by Topshop; coral skirt by ASOS via Atlantic-Pacific; Coral Earrings by Etsy New York team member, Loella Medina

clockwise from top left: Draped Coral Trench by Tibi; Gold Sea Urchin Ring by Etsy New York team member Virginie Millefiore; skirt & ruffled top via Through the Looking Glass Style; Elsie Miniature Leather Shoulder Bag by Chloe

clockwise from top left: Coral Monochromatic Pleated Clutch by Etsy New York team member Jes Witaj; Working Girl Shorts and Top; Flamingo Coral Scarf by Forget Me Not; Vintage Levi's Coral Ombre Shorts by Kaleidoscope Eyes

And not to leave guys out of this, I've found some great choices with this hot color for men as well:
Clockwise from top left: Asics Onitsuka Mens Mini Cooper; Coral Chinos by J.Crew; Tangerine Tango iPhone case by Pantone; bow tie via Through the Looking Glass Style

Have fun shopping and Happy Spring!

-Stacy // Fritz & Fräulein