Sunday, August 25, 2013

Garnish from Wu's Fine Chinese Restaurant

One of the most fun things about the coming holidays is setting a table that inspires your guests to eat!! When I was lunching with my son at Wu's Fine Chinese Restaurant in Fort Wayne these were the garnish adorning our meals, a "Rutabaga Peony" and "Carrot Orchid". What a beautiful way to dress up a plate.

I found this video which is part of a series on creating vegetable and fruit garnishes. I wouldn't want to make 100 of these but for a small dinner party it may be a fun table accent that will have your guests talking. Maybe Wu's would do carry out garnishes??

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Vintage Style Putting It All Together

So you've made the decision to  to liven up your digs but you don't want to throw it all out. By selecting one or two newer items and using a little color theory you can make that dull room sing a new song! The easiest tool you can invest in when you're making a change in your decor is a simple color wheel and a little knowledge of how it works.  Look at the colors you have now and consider a few accent pieces in a complimentary color scheme, (colors that lie across from each other on the color wheel), or a set of analogous colors, (colors that lie next to each other on the color wheel). In the photos above I'm using blue and orange dabbled with a little green and a the neutral color brown to work together. Blue and orange lie across from each other on the color wheel and the green apples and pops of green in the painting lie next to blue on the color wheel. The browns add warmth and brings together a truly natural set of hues. You can make your room sing again with just one or two new pieces, just check the color wheel and go shopping on Etsy. Whether your budget is big or small you'll be able to create a fresh new look in a snap.

The items pictured in this post are all available for sale on Etsy! Below is a list of the item and the shop they are in. Check them out. It may be just what you're looking for. Happy Shopping!!

Frank Koci Painting available for sale at Viva Estelle

Mahogany Wood Bowl available for purchase at Lunch Lady Vintage

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Thrifty Foil Art for your Home

We were at a thrift shop not long ago and I picked up an old copper foil embossed  piece done by a high school student in 1974. I only know that because his name and date were on the back side of the frame it was in. If you've never done foil embossing you'll find this little project to be fairly easy and inexpensive. You can substitute heavy duty aluminum foil for copper foil. This piece had a wash of India ink on top of it. This can also be replaced with watered down acrylic paint.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Naturalism The Emerging American Style

Edward Wormley
Every once in a while when I'm out thrfting I'll run across and old magazine filled with Mid-century Modern eye candy. This weeks find was by my husband who has also picked up the bug for old magazines, House Beautiful November 1950. It's always interesting to compare Mid-century American style to current trends in design.  In the 50s Americans began to embrace a new philosophy about the design of their homes and the furnishings within them.  In this issue there was a wonderful article about a then emerging furniture designer Edward Wormley.  His use of materials was meant to enhance his pieces own inherent nature. Wormley's focus on nature was evident in colors and patterns. The designs Wormley created during this time embodied a realistic approach to the living problems associated with the current times. American Modern became a vital design force in the 50s as people changed in values and attitudes of current lifestyles.

Social forms and habits change and so must we as designers. American taste has re-emerged as a movement focusing on naturalism once again. We want open spaces, lots of light, clean crisp design, a relaxed lifestyle at home, healthy foods and plenty of exercise. Our homes should and do reflect a retreat from our busy days at work. In that design Americans are seeking out to include pieces that reflect the past but work for today. Including a few vintage pieces in our homes brings brings us back full circle to the lifestyle we once embraced as Americans in the 1950s. A return to Naturalism.

 This great looking credenza by Edward Wormley is available on Etsy at Vintage Looks! Visit their shop to view all of their wonderful pieces!
Edward Wormley on Etsy by Vintage Looks

The Garage Sale Archeologist

Friday, August 16, 2013

Google SEO Changes That Affect Etsy Sellers

Matt Cutts of Google Webmaster Help announced changes last spring.

One of the most talked about topics on Etsy is the changes that Google implemented that have affected sellers and brought their sales to a near stand still. Sales are generally slower in the summer months but in an improving economy vintage sellers are scrambling to figure out how to get their products back into the top spots on Google search. I'm not sure that Google fully understood how many millions of people depend on these sales for an income when they implemented the changes. I'm fortunate that I don't depend on vintage sales as my primary source of income. But I do need the additional income and I love selling on Etsy. The goal was to target more spammy types of web pages that redirect viewers to lists of links instead of the actual sites your searching for and to place more emphasis on "Sophisticated Websites" or websites they deem as "Higher Quality". Although we all appreciate the big online sellers like Pottery Barn, Target and Bed Bath and Beyond individual vintage resellers are now being lost in the shuffle. Is there a common ground that we can reach with Google? I hope so. We have to face the fact that the days of being tops in Google searches may be gone for ecommerce sellers. So until we get this straightened out here are a few tips I've picked up for vintage sellers that may help you. And if your a shopper, like me, and were once use to searching and finding vintage products on Google you may have to adjust your search habits.

Here is a link to the Google video announcement made last spring by Matt Cutts explaining the changes coming from Google.

What changed that affected resellers the most?
  • Penguin and Panda Updates
  • Sophisticated Link  Analysis
  • Advertising Spam
  • Boosts in Algarithm
  • Link Spammers
For more information on how to survive in this new era of Penguin and Panda check out this POST. Kaila Strong gives us all some valuable survival tips.

What can you do until this all gets sorted out?

1.) Google Shopping is now the best way for both vintage sellers and shoppers to be seen and found. To make sure your items are showing up there do a search using your shop name with no spaces in between to see if your listings are showing up. If not you'll need to explore the reason why.

2.) Do not add the words "F- r- e -e  - S -h -i -p- p- i- n- g" to your listing title or your listing information.  Notice I don't even want to add those words to this post. Google does not recognize it as "sophisticated". If you still want to offer FS include an image in your listing or add the words to your first listing image. Google is not capable of reading words in a jpg. I'm including a free graphic for your use until Etsy gets this figured out.

3.) Etsy sellers continue to use Twitter, Facebook, tumlr and blogs to direct traffic to your site. Find a couple of other sellers that are willing to share your items on their social media sites and be sure to do the same for them. A group of 10 organized sellers can do a great deal of advertising for each other rather then a group of 2000 random sellers. Organize and go for it. Focus on creating traffic. We're all in this together.

4.) Use the tools Google provides to help you with your listings and tags. Google AdWords is essential. Book mark it and use it often.

5.) Sellers help each other out a little by viewing and favoriting other sellers items. Reciprocate when someone favorites an item in your shop. Believe it or not I have purchased items from my activity feed that a follower has hearted. I've also found items to feature in treasuries, and to share Pinterest and twitter using the activity feed.

*It's come to my attention that some sellers feel this to be a waste of time because it hasn't led to sales for them. I think you as a seller will have to determine what works best for your shop. If your time is better spent pursuing other avenues of marketing then do so. This list is by no means a guarantee to sales.  

6.) Optimize those listing titles for the best results. The first 3-4 words are the most important so make them count. Google will search all the words in your title but keep it simple and direct. The first 3-5 words are what the buyer reads first and what hopefully entices them to click. Keep your titles to a minimum and cut out punctuation and overly descriptive wording. Save that for your listing. Repeat the key words in your title in the first sentence of your listing but do not copy and paste the title as your first sentence. That's a big Google No No. In fact don't copy and paste anything into a listing. It's simply not going to pass the sophistication test.
 7.) Check your listings to see how they are indexed on Google. You can do this by typing: "site name of your shop" in the url box. Mine would look like "site gsarcheologist". What should come up is a variety of links to your shop, feedback, individual links. Check the wording in the definition below. Have you shared enough in the first sentence to entice a buyer to click on your link?

8.) If you haven't started developing a brand it's time to get cracking.  Selling is more then just listing a product, your customers are going to want to know "who, what, where, when and how". These are the basic fundamentals of telling an enticing story. Work on your "About" page and "Shop Description". Ask yourself "have I made the buyer feel welcome here" ?

9.) Work on your "back links" and "internal link" structures using only the ones that work.

Below is a great list of Fact and Fiction posted on Etsy for all of us trying to make it through the SEO jungle.

 SEO Myths

 Why is Matt Cutts wearing a Firefox T-shirt?

The Garage Sale Archelogist

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Libbey Starlyte Collection in Silver Leaf

Libbey Glass has been part of the American culture since it's doors in 1888 in Toledo, OH. This was an estate sale find over the summer that I just couldn't pass up. The pattern is known as Starlyte, also referred to as Silver Leaf or Silver Foliage, hit the market in 1958. These two Libbey glassware sets, each with a matching caddy, are in mint condition and sure to set off any table or bar.

They are available for sale in my Etsy shop The Garage Sale Archeologist HERE and HERE