Monday, January 31, 2011

Just not very interesting.....

“Just because you start with one idea doesn't mean you need to stick with it.”  - Michelle Mach

I planned to rework this Necklace (shown below), but as I worked, I realized that I just don’t like this design.  It’s not anything that I would wear and based on the number views I got while it was listed on Etsy, my shoppers didn’t like it either.

I tried to think back on why I was inspired to make this necklace in the first place. At the time I was selling a lot of multi strand necklaces and bracelets.  I liked the color but the design just isn’t working; basically it’s just boring.
I want to revamp this piece and make it more interesting….any ideas?  I need a push to get going……

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Logging My Favorites......

This is the fifth installment of a ongoing log of my favorite things. Once a month I will post a favorite. It might be a person, or a place, or even a event. Hopefully it will help you get to know me a little better. I'd love your comments and I hope to make some connections through our mutual enjoyment of these treasures.

Highlands, North Carolina

When my life sometimes becomes hectic in the urban lowlands of Georgia, a few days in Highlands, NC can work wonders to refresh and renew my mind, body, and soul.

From the moment we turn off the main highway and start gaining altitude I feel my body and mind start to relax. We must slow down. I pay attention to the road as it narrows and winds upward. The air feels cooler. The light changes. Peeking through the trees, I take in the views: the pastures, the pines and towering tulip poplars of the Nantahala National Forest, the dramatic drop-off into the Cullasaja River Gorge. The views are breath taking, the pristine mountain air and panoramic beauty melts away my cares and fills me with an inexplicable serenity.

Highlands is a charming small mountain town at the second highest point (4118 feet) in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. The town has exquisite restaurants, fabulous shopping, and a great cultural arts scene. The "postcard" downtown offers plenty of art galleries, antique stores and upscale boutiques. In the middle of downtown Highlands is the Old Edwards Inn, one of my favorite spots for a glass of wine and a delicious meat and cheese sampler. I love this little town and hope to visit soon!

Remarkable Update: Just as I was finishing this blog post, my Husband called to let me know he was making reservations in Highlands for the weekend. He did not know I was writing about Highlands and I did not know he was thinking about a road trip this weekend. It is just another example of how much we are in tune with each other. I’m so excited about the trip!

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Bead Soup Blog Party - 2011

Soups On!  I’ve joined the Bead Soup Blog Party sponsored by Lori Anderson of Pretty Things.  This is an annual event to help bead jewelry artists work on a project that is outside of their normal comfort zone. 

Studio Time!  Each participant was assigned a partner for the event.  My partner is Ingrid McCue of Wrapped in Silver.  Ingrid selected and shipped me a package of lovely beads that she would use in one of her designs; I will use the beads she selected to create a piece of my own.  I did the same for Ingrid; I shipped a package of beads that I would be comfortable using.  The objective for each designer is to work with materials that they wouldn’t normally select.   I’m excited to get started on the project using the gorgeous beads I received.

(Pictured below are the beads I received from Ingrid….)

 Party Day! On February 26 finished designs will be displayed on each participant’s blog.  That’s when the party begins!  Everyone hops around to as many Party Blogs as possible to see the wonderful results.  I can’t wait to see what Ingrid has designed using my beads.

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Drama, Drama, Drama......

There comes a time in life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh, forget the bad, and focus on the good. So...Love the people who treat you right, and pray for the ones who don't. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is part of LIFE. Getting back up is LIVING.
I'm doing a little relationship Spring cleaning. I need to focus on my positive relationships.  I have so many great friends; I need to surround myself with the people who lift me up and let go of the people who bring me down. It's time for a change!
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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Just in time for Valentine's Day

Take a peek at my latest designs for Valentine's Day.  One of my goals for this year was to add some holiday themed items to my Etsy shop.  It has already paid off...I just sold one of the heart necklaces. Yippee!

I plan to add several more items before the end of the week.  Right after the Holiday I will shop for discounted red and white beads and charms for next year.  I love the little cherubs on the bracelets, I hope I can find some more cherubs or cupid charms.

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Upcycled Crystal Beads

Up cycling brings hope as a solid concept and solution for the many environmental dilemmas the earth currently faces. The idea of taking would-be garbage and reimagining, reusing and reinventing it is really quite a novel idea: the materials are free and in frightening abundance, there are (hypothetically) no unhealthy aftereffects for the earth, and consumers gain the satisfaction of reusing something potentially wasteful in a new and exciting context again.

In the photo above are two examples of necklaces that have up cycled beads.  The round clear crystal beads where originally part of a salvaged crystal chandelier.  They made a striking addition to my designs.

I'm anxiously waiting for a box of old broken jewelry from a friends plantation house attic.  Who knows what treasures can be up cycled from the discarded items.  I'll keep you posted!

UPDATE: the necklace on the left was just sold from my Etsy shop.  Yippeee!

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Afternoon Tea

Today I'm suffering the Flu and found a spot of tea very soothing to my sore throat.  Tea time was enjoyed by my English ancestors, and the tradition was passed down by my Grandmother.  The collage above displays some of my favorite 'Tea Time' Esty finds.  Below is the definition of English Afternoon Tea.......Ahhhh.........

Afternoon tea is a light meal typically eaten between 3pm and 5pm. The custom of drinking tea originated in England when Catherine of Bragan├ža married Charles II in 1661 and brought the practice of drinking tea in the afternoon with her from Portugal. Various places that belonged to the former British Empire also have such a meal.
Traditionally, loose tea is brewed in a teapot and served in teacups with milk and sugar. This is accompanied by sandwiches (customarily cucumber, egg and cress, fish paste, ham, and smoked salmon), scones (with clotted cream and jam) and usually cakes and pastries (such as Battenberg, fruit cake or Victoria sponge). The food is often served on a tiered stand; there may be no sandwiches, but bread or scones with butter or margarine and optional jam or other spread.

Click on featured item below to go to the Etsy Shop:
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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Cluster Jewelry

What's hot right now? Cluster Jewelry....!  Every item that I've posted with a cluster of dangles has been a HOT seller in my Etsy shop.  I can't keep them in stock.  As soon as one is posted it's sold.  The cluster jewelry pieces are very labor intensive.  Each little drop is hand wire wrapped and attached to the piece individually.  I'm thinking that I may not be charging enough for my labor when I create these designs.  Question: how much do you charge an hour for your time spent on an item?  I need some advise please...
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Thursday, January 6, 2011

In 2011....

To all my creative friends:
I love this idea! I saw it on another friends Blog....Pay it Forward in 2011: I promise to send something handmade to the first 5 people who leave a comment here. They must in turn post this on their Blog and send something they make to the first 5 people who comment on their status. The rules are that it must be handmade by you and it must be sent to your ...5... people sometime in 2011.

Lets Pay it forward with creativity!!!
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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My top selling item this Holiday Season.

Now that the dust has settled from the Holidays, it’s time to reflect on my Etsy shop sales and my small business goals for the New Year. I had great sales the two weeks leading up to Christmas, I even received three custom orders. My big sellers were cluster earrings and bookmarks. One particular turquoise and pearl earring design sold very well (pictured above). The average price for all items sold between October and December was $32. Several buyers asked for expedited shipping to assure the packages would arrive by Christmas.

Based on the sales trend information above, I have set the following goals for the year. I know this is a bit ambitious, but I want my small business to become my only business in 2011:

First Quarter work on replenishing my shop so I have at least 125 items listed.
  1. new cluster earrings – various colors
  2. new cluster charm bracelets – Spring and fall colors
  3. new bookmarks – spring and Easter theme
  4. Valentine’s day themed items - Complete
  5. Find source for Lampwork beads until I can re-open/move my studio
  6. Add expedited shipping option to shop
  7. Re-order packaging materials
  8. Schedule regular blogging and marketing

 Second Quarter show at one craft event
  1. Look for indoor venue
  2. Revamp display fixtures
  3. Work on stock levels for show
  4. Find source for Halloween materials
  5. Stock-up on findings and bookmarks

 Third Quarter work on Fall/Halloween and Christmas designs
  1. Studio time at least three times a week
  2. Build gift collection in the $25 - $35 range
  3. Research possible Fall craft show – indoor

 Fourth Quarter sell, sell, sell
  1. Market shop everyday
  2. Renew 3 items everyday
  3. Clear workbench and set-up shipping station
  4. Have shipping materials pre-assembled for quick turn around
  5. Work custom orders and adjust stock as needed

Have you set your Etsy or Small Business goals for the New year? Drop me a line and let me know how you plan to stay on track this year. I need all the help and advice I can get. Thanks!

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Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year 2011!

Hello my friends, we made it!  We've made it through another year.  I for one am really glad to put 2010 behind me. The year was filled with ups and downs and many curves in the road.
I am excited about the year ahead, I want to make  a major change in my career,  I also want to be more health conscious, experience the pure joy of life with my husband and live like the future is ours for the taking.
Live Love and Laugh often.
Thank you for staying with me on this journey, I plan to document more frequently my achievements and my lessons learned, every step along the way.  I’m wishing for you a year of  happiness and the realization of every single dream!

Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.  ~Oprah Winfrey

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