Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I've Left Etsy!

My Dear Friends,

I'm sorry to say that due to a series of very unpleasant experiences with Etsy Corp, I have chosen to close my Etsy shop for good, and I have re-opened on Artfire !  I have the same name - JoanHunterHandmade, and can be searched out in a flash!

I used the Artfire Import tool to import all of my remaining listings to my new home.  It was fast, and easy!  Artfire has a lot of great, functional tools to help you sell!  I'm seeing a lot of familiar faces over there and I'm very excited about my new home!

Hope to see you there!


Friday, October 22, 2010


I just gained a whole new level of respect for my fellow Etsy sellers.  We are having a grand old time celebrating the end of an era...  Feel free to join the party!  That indomitable art spirit is with us as we transition from Etsy bringing Handmade to the mainstream, and ruining it with a corporate takeover...  http://etsyrefugeesociety.blogspot.com/


This is the end, my only friend, the end...

All I can say right now is CORALGATE.  A more detailed explanation to come... for now, google Etsy + Coralgate and hold on to your panties, because this is a shocker.

I've closed up my shop (for good this time) and left a parting message in my shop announcement.

Oh. My. Word.  #Coralgate #etsyfail #fail #scandal #catastrophe

Monday, October 18, 2010

Tourism In St. Michaels: Too Much Of A Good Thing?

        I wrote a post a few days back about the tourism situation here in St. Michaels, and wound up getting completely shredded in the Etsy forums.  Lets try this over again, because it needs to be written about, if only for my own sake.  It's on my mind a lot.

       St. Michaels has been a tourist destination for years and years now.  A great deal of its appeal comes from our tiny little town full of historic buildings and cute little shops.  We're located on a narrow strip of land poking out into the Chesapeake Bay,  situated much the way Cape Cod is.  We only have one 2-lane street running in and out of town.  Our normal population is 1100 people.  Over 100,000 people visit the town in a single weekend in the summer months.  Can you imagine?  Our little tiny town can not support that kind of onslaught.  It used to be fine and dandy to have a bunch of tourists here when the weather is nice.  All it meant was more business for the local shops, and a bit more hustle and bustle around town.  In fact, I used to miss tourist season when it was over, because the town felt lonely and empty without them.  But now it has gotten completely out of control.  As St. Michaels has become increasingly popular, more and more people have begun to migrate here for a bit of R&R, and not only does that cause basic logistical problems for us locals, but it is also transforming the town into just another sleazy tourist trap, destroying the main thing that attracted people here in the first place.

       When tourist season is going on, I can't get to the bank or the post office - its just too clogged up with traffic and people milling around.  Its only a 4 mile drive from my house to our main street, but it can take 45 minutes for a task that should take maybe 15 minutes on a normal day.  Merely a bit of an inconvenience at first, but as it has only gotten worse over the years, it is a cause for concern.  In the last 3 years, the whole vibe of this town has changed.  It is starting to feel more like Disneyland than a quiet, historic village near the water.  One of the most charming things about St. Michaels, as a local, or as a tourist, is its authenticity.  Our local laws and codes prevent much development, and as most of the buildings are classified as historic, the town has remained much the same through the centuries and decades that have passed since it was just a ship-building town in the 19th century.  Now we have a bright blue "trolley" car which runs up and down the main street like this is some kind of tacky theme park.  Is it really too much trouble to walk the sidewalk through town when the town proper is less than 1 mile in length?

        It is often said that everything is good in moderation, and the same goes for the amount of tourists we host here.  Imagine going to a restaurant that can only seat 50 people, and finding that 5,000 people have all showed up to dine there at the same time.  The town can't require that you place a reservation in advance, and since people can pull up into our marinas, and some of our more notable restaurants in their boats, we are host to more people than we could ever possibly house, even with our large, multi-story waterfront hotels.  Think "Black Friday" at the mall 24/7 for four or five months out of the year!

       Aside from the irritations and inconveniences experienced by the locals as a result of the sudden boom in tourism, my greater fear is that St. Michaels is losing its very heart and soul, and all of the things that make it special.  This is a tale told around the world in places where tourism has eaten areas alive and reduced them to tacky, miserable tourist traps that look and feel like all the other tacky, miserable tourist traps.  You would think that since there are so many precedents to point to, that St. Michaels would tread more carefully in order to avoid the same thing happening here, but let's face it - it's hard to resist those dollar signs.  Not that businesses were doing poorly when we had an acceptable level of tourism!

       Now from my perspective as a local, something I really want to express to you, my reader, is the sense of joy and relief I feel when the weather turns cold and gray, and the heavy tourist season finally ends, and sanity is restored on the streets of St. Michaels.  St. Michaels usually becomes utterly deserted in the winter months, and though I used to be sad to see the empty streets and the shops closed up for the season, I now live for it!  I literally despise having to leave the house and go into town during tourist season.  Not only do I hate the feeling that I've somehow gotten lost and wound up in Disneyland, or on some motion picture lot, but I don't like the way our visitors treat the town during their stay.  Since they have no roots here, and are only passing through, people tend to behave in rude and inconsiderate ways.  Everything is temporary and disposable to them, including the other people.     Of course there are exceptions to this rule, but for the most part the tourists, frankly, suck.

     St. Michaels is probably never going to go back to an economy in which tourism doesn't play a leading role, but this town needs to find a balance, or lose the very things that make this place a wonderful escape for so many people, and a nice place to live and work.  In my opinion, we are getting far too much of a good thing.  

     Some people complained that my previous rant about tourism was just too mean.  But if you reached the point of overload and frustration that I have, you wouldn't feel very kind, welcoming, or patient, either.  And you might have some nasty things on the tip of your tongue after having to wait on over half a million tourists who seem to have left their brains and their manners at home when they came on vacation.  I'm just using this opportunity to express my perspective and my feelings on the subject.  I hope I did a better job this time, than the first time around.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

By The Fireplace

     After the aforementioned rains, the weather cooled off delightfully.  I decided it was time to gather the firewood and kick off my favorite time of the year... fireplace season!

I also made a trip to the free book exchange in the local pharmacy, where I collected a mountain of FREE books to read by the fire.  My cat Driftwood found a place to curl up and enjoy the fire - right at my feet on a soft, warm afghan.  These days have been so wonderful and healing.  Staring into the fire sends me immediately into a meditative, trance-like state.  It is such an ancient connection that we share with fire.


This incredible Print is my favorite artistic representation of a nice quiet evening by the fire with a book and a cup of tea. It was created by Etsy Seller PomFreitag , who hails from Minneapolis, MN.  I'll bet they know all about the comfort of a warm fire in the cold weather up there!!  You can find her awesome shop HERE.  It is definitely one of my new favorites.

     Unfortunately for me, the weather has taken a turn yet again and the entire week is back up to 80 degrees again!  The only time it is cold enough for a fire is just before dawn, and by the time I get it started, it is heating up outside again.  Every day we have nice, summer-ish weather, I feel that I'm being robbed of another wonderful evening by the fire!  But soon enough I will be complaining about the cold, as it tends to dip below freezing often here in the winter months.  Honestly, I really can't wait!!

  I will throw open the comments section for any and all book recommendations to share.  What will YOU be reading by the fire this year?
click the picture to check out PomFreitag's AMAZING Etsy Shop!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

When It Rains... It Pours

When it rains, it pours.  This is true literally and figuratively right now for Yours Truly.  After a terrible drought over the summer, the skies have opened up and a week-long monsoon has begun.  And doesn't it always seem in life that when you're busy you're VERY VERY busy, and when you're not busy you're VERY VERY not busy?  That's the way it is for me anyway.

I'm still pretty new at this whole "living on planet earth and being human" thing.  I'm constantly trying to identify patterns in the rhythm and the flow of life that might help me navigate through it.  Unfortunately, I'm working on a very complex set of variables with a very limited evaluative tool - my brain.

How much of life is just a projection or a loosely strung together set of assumptions about cause and effect?  This is a matter for scientists, psychologists, theologians, mathematicians and sophomoric lyricists, and I don't feel I have the internal resources to fully commit to an objective test evaluating my "truths" about reality.  So, like most of us, I basically have to just muddle through it and occasionally catch snatches of order in the chaos and HOPE that they are "true".  Being fairly clueless in that regard can lead me into the gnarled, dusty road of common superstition and other unscientific methods I use to try to game the system.  But if I look at it objectively - the fact is that there are too many variables that are totally out of my realm of control in order for anything I do to make much of a difference.  This is especially true when it comes to selling my wares on Etsy.

Therefore, I will stick to a truism that SEEMS to be true for me today.

When it rains, it pours!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Chat With Abunchofscrap!

Abunchofscrap was kind enough to take part in my seller interview series, and share her experiences with us!  She is a paper-crafter with skills AND style!

1) How long have you been selling on Etsy, and what products did you start out with? Have those products changed over time? 

Started a year and one month ago but Etsy changed it for some reason last month my anniversary date. Always scrapbooking products. I have had to change my fav. thing to do, which was layouts to things that sell, now i sell lots of tags.

2) What made you to decide to sell what you sell? 

I started selling scrapbooking layouts around 11 years ago when my first son was born. I was home and bord to death. I started out at Ebay. I did that until I went back to the working field. Years past but I didn't post much on Ebay but, had a few regualar clients that I did albums for (still have them). A year ago I decided that I needed to make the most of all the products I had and the really start to let my creative juices flow. I wanted to share more than my talents but to create for others life time memories by selling my scrapbooking layouts. Thus, Etsy became my main store and now I have found the best people and shops ever.

3) You've had a great deal of success selling on Etsy, what's your number one hint or bit of advice you'd give a newbie?

create create create. Don't let slow times make you stop creating what you want. When you have something special, others will notice with a bit of marketing you will make it happen.

4) What do you like most about selling on Etsy?

The thing I love the most is to see all the creative talented people out there sharing and trying to become noticed. Expression is so powerful and when we do it through art it is the most wonderful thing.

5) What do you like least about selling on Etsy?

The least thing I like about Etsy is those who make comments about others in a negitive way. This is usually only done in forums or chat but is sometimes reflected in feedback section. Negitive energy is not good for buisness.

6) Do you market your Etsy shop elsewhere online? If so, where, and why?

I want to be sucessful and make more money. I would love to help support our household income. So, I have recently started to utilize the internet by creating a blog, twitter, and joining some clubs like TSU (treasure seekers unit), spottedcanary, and splitcoaststampers. In the future I will probably open my own web site but for now I need to focus on getting more traffic into my Etsy shop.

7) How do you come up with ideas for your creations?

Nature, Friends, Family, Life basically sums up my inspiration

8) What is your favorite item (in your shop)?

I don't really have a fav item in my shop. I love them all. I don't list things that I don't love. If I create something that is OK then I don't post it. I either throw it out or use it for something else.

9) What is your take on "relisting"?

You have to do it you can't just sit on items and hope that people will go to page 500 to see your items.

Zebra print purse GIFT CARD HOLDER!