Add tutorials to drive traffic to your indie biz


Lately I’ve been using the free trial of SoloSEO to work on search engine optimization for my store. One of the possible links I stumbled across today is called Free Pattern Site, and I wanted to share it here because it’s general enough that it may appeal to a lot of indie business folks out there, and also ties in well with a cool post I recently read over at Online Marketing Blog, which reminds us good content is as necessary as links, and vice versa.

If you provide good, interesting, valuable content on your site in addition to your products, people will be more likely to link to your site – which is both word of mouth advertising and something that will improve your search ranking. If you offer free patterns on your site (beading patterns, sewing tutorials, tips on reconstructing clothes, etc) you can likely get your site listed at freepatternsite.com, as well as other places. Near the top of the page is reads “If you know of or have a content rich craft website for one of our free pattern categories, let us know.” The moral of the story? Take the time to work towards having a content-rich website, and it will draw more visitors to your site!

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Organizing beads

What crafter doesn’t go crazy trying to keep all their “toys” in order, ready to use when you want them? Though I’m not an organized person by nature, I love sorting things and when I find a system that works for me, I’m just in heaven. As the owner of an indie jewelry store (and some one who just loves making accessories) I have a ton of beads to keep track of. Some beads I have so many of that I keep them sorted in large clear plastic bins. But for beads that I only have a small amount of, I love my drawer cabinet.
Plastic drawers full of colorful beads
It’s just wonderful for seeing all my beads at a glance. I often buy beads in mixed bins or bags of kids’ kits from the craft store, and then sort them by shape.
Colorful beads sorted by shape
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Adorable heart pins at Pavoreal

Heart shaped brooches made of colorful felt and trimmed with beads and sequins - from Pavoreal on etsy While exploring the Top Favorite Craft Designs at DesignsToLove (which I recently found through Mashable!) the gorgeous photo to the left caught my eye. “Ooh, colors!” said my brain, so I investigated further.

What I love about these is how they appeal to my love of collage, not just to my love of vibrant colors. Each one is unique, with the embellishments varying from one to another. Just looking at these happy little guys you can tell that the artist, Pavoreal, loves making them! In her words, “I have a great time making these hearts and sewing vintage buttons, beads, pompoms, sequins and plastic rhinestones on them with colorful thread.”

Purple heart-shaped felt brooch

You can really see the care and detail put into each pin, thanks to the wonderful photos. I wish I could get shots like that for my own work! Each pin is a bargain at only $8.00, and you can specify what color you prefer. Get your own Little Heart Pin today!

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Colored chain shopping guide

A recent post on craftster.org asked where to buy plastic chain for jewelry making. I was flattered to have my plastic chain necklaces mentioned at the first reply. I replied to the post with another suggestion, but I thought I’d expand on the topic, and make a guide for anyone looking to buy colorful chain for jewelry projects.

Plastic chain in a rainbow of colorsAs mentioned in the craftster post, colorful plastic chain can be found through sites that offer plastic parts to be used in making bird toys. A lot of times it’s hard to find a size small enough to make jewelry with, but if you’re persistant there are places that offer chains with links that are only half an inch or a quarter inch long. ChopperToys.com offers both half-inch and quarter-inch sizes in a great rainbow of colors, either by the yard or by the foot. Another store that offers both of these sizes is Bird Supply NH, which even has two-tone plastic chain – half inch chain in red and white or black and yellow.

Green metal chainAnother way to infuse your jewelry projects with more color is with brightly colored metal chain. I’ve had a hard time tracking down many sources, but it got easier when I learned the correct term was “anodized chain,” because the way the metal is made colorful is called anodizing. The eBay store chainsncords carries an ever-changing selection of chain in different styles and colors, usually sold by the yard. If you need a lot, try Inland Products for anodized chain by the spool – most are 100 feet, but a few styles are 150 feet to a spool.

Bright yellow enamel-coated jewelry chainA third option for colorful jewelry chain is enameled chain. In my opinion, this is harder to find than either plastic or anodized, but the best looking. I’ve yet to find enameled chain still in production – I usually find it from sellers who get it as vintage unsold stock. There are two eBay sellers I know of that typically carry it, Laramie Studios and Bonkers for Beads, both of whom typically sell it in sections of several feet. For smaller projects, check out Chelsea’s Beads for enameled chain by the foot.

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Independent. Colorful. Indie Color.

I love shopping indie, exploring new frontiers of crafting, creative fashion, supporting small businesses, and selling my own handmade designs. There are quite a few blogs that post on these subjects (Indie Shopping and Miss Malaprop to name a few). However, I’ve yet to find a blog that incorporates another major love of mine; color. In fact, the only other themed indie blog I can think of is Independent Luxe, which focuses (unsurprisingly) on more luxurious goods.

Perhaps it’s indulgent of me to think there are other pro-indie shoppers out there who have the same passionate love affair with color that I do. But considering how many indie designers I see that sell as many colorful goodies as I do, perhaps not. So if you swoon for vibrant colors, if neon makes you drool, and if rainbows are like candy to you, I hope you’ll join me as I blog about crafts, fashion, indie business, and more.

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