Category Archives: Jewelry Making

The Wagon

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Oh the wagon. It is so easy to fall off. And I did. Though, if you look at it a certain way, I didn’t really fall off. Maybe. I don’t know. Here’s what happened:

I was all set to participate in a show at the end of Aug. It was an outdoor show, which I have never done before. The people putting the show on had actually approached me about participating, which I thought was cool (and a little strange since I’m still pretty new to the area, but I’ll take it!) So I was excited. They asked me to participate about 4 weeks before the event was scheduled for. I didn’t think it would be a problem on that amount of notice. So I set about trying to find a tent to borrow. We don’t have one, and I wasn’t sure if I was ready to invest in one yet.

I also started looking online for tips on doing an outdoor event. I have a background thing that I used once, and liked, but it had some kinks that needed working out, especially on uneven ground. I found someone willing to lend me a tent, so that was awesome. Until my reading informed me that I needed sides and weights for the tent. *deep breath* Okay. More research. And money I didn’t really want to spend, especially on a tent that didn’t belong to us.

I should probably tell you that the event was scheduled for the weekend before school started, which meant meeting teachers, gathering supplies, and all the fun stuff that goes along with back-to-school the week before my event, which is prime time for running pre-event errands. (also, my oldest had a large amount of special circumstances to work out for the school year, AND she got braces the day before my event was supposed to be) *deeper breath*

Phone call. My inlaws are coming to visit! The week before school starts, and through the weekend. Hmm. Hey, they can help! Oh wait. I have to clean the house, which is something I tend to let go when a lot of other things are happening. Toilets become low-priority. But they CAN’T be low priority with my husband’s family coming in. Shoot. Okay. Well. Hmmmm.

(Oh, and let’s toss 3 birthdays in this time period… two of the kids and me, plus sports practices have begun)

Another phone call. This time it was my husband (who was scheduled to be out of town the week all this was going down). The poor guy just called to tell me he was on his way home, and gets me all stressed out, breaking down, primarily over the tent sides and the expense. And he calmly mentions that maybe I should back out of the event.

Wait… WHAAAAA?!? THIS from the most supportive, let’s-make-it-happen guy? And I knew he was right. I have NEVER backed out of something like this, and hope I never need to again. But as soon as I made the decision, I felt better, felt lighter. I was very disappointed, but mostly because it sounded like a fun event to be part of. And the final week and a half before the event was happening, while I was cleaning and running errands, I just kept thinking how glad I was that I wasn’t trying to get the vendor things in order too. So I know it was a good decision. But MAN was it a hard one to make.

So, now I’m scheduled to participate in an event at the beginning of Oct. I’m trying to stay really organized and on top of my to-do list so I’m not scrounging around at the last minute. I probably still will be, but hopefully it’ll be minimal. I’m also working on creating an inventory. And going through my eleventy-seven million pictures and sorting and cataloging them all. Yikes. But I’m getting there. And I’ve managed to work on orders (yay!) and get other random bits of things accomplished. So I’m feeling more ready for this show than I think I have for any others.

I’m sad I had to back out of an event, but I really think it was for the best. And now I’m feeling even more motivated to make things more organized and functional so I can STAY on top of things, and get my listings moving again. I haven’t listed anything in a while, though I have managed to get some photos taken. Etsy, unfortunately, had to take a temporary back seat through all of this chaos. But I think this week I should be able to start pushing that again, and all that jazz. Long story short, I’ve had some set-backs, but I think I am still moving in the right direction. And that’s what counts in the end.

Here’s a peek at some of the pieces I have managed to get made the last couple of weeks. I LOVE them! They make me happy.

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A Humble Request

I like to think I know my self fairly well. I know my strengths, and am pretty aware of my weaknesses. I don’t consider myself to be overly self-critical, just aware of the areas that need work. And I DO try to work on my weaknesses. I am a lazy, absent-minded, emotional, and messy person. But I’m not nearly as lazy, absent-minded, or messy as I used to be. Emotional is one thing that’s pretty hard to change… I really LIKE when things are neat-and-tidy, but I’m not very good at keeping them that way. I adore organization supplies, but don’t really follow through on actually USING them. Though again, I’m better than I used to be. The main part of our house stays in okay condition, but my workshop… THAT is a different story. Yikes.

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My workshop, located in the guest room’s closet… extra jumbled due to lots of recent guests.

Now that you know all that, you should know that I’m married to an engineer. Now, I know that there are plenty of engineers out there that are lazy and messy, but my husband is more the neat-and-tidy sort. He’s really good with things like setting up an organizational system, and then FOLLOWING the system. Crazy, right?

Now, I have a show coming up in a couple of weeks. (I promise this is all going to tie together…) So I have been thinking a lot about my displays and, more importantly, my inventory. A few years ago, I attempted to create an inventory list and labeled everything, etc. But it wasn’t a good system. I didn’t incorporate all of the elements that I should have, so it didn’t work and stressed me out, big time. And I haven’t done it since. Not that I haven’t thought about it, but I have a tendency (here’s another one of those weaknesses to work on) to avoid things that stress me out or make me feel unsure.

So the other day, I had a minor epiphany. I have a fabulous resource IN THE HOUSE with me. Someone that is good at organization, and happens to be very supportive of this whole jewelry business thing. So I asked him if he would help me figure things out for my inventory.

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Now, I’m sure some of you are wondering why it took me so long to come around to this conclusion. But honestly, it’s not the conclusion itself that is amazing. I actually Asked. For. Help. Which, as we all know, is a saying that you are not up to the challenge on your own. And that is HARD to do.

And then you know what I did? I told him that if he ever has any suggestions for general house organization, I would be willing to hear him out. Because you know what? I don’t LIKE being disorganized. I would love to feel more in control of everything. I just struggle with how to go about it, which leads to anxiety and avoidance. Sometimes I do it well, just not for long. Hopefully that will improve, and I will learn some things.

And just because… here are a few more recent pieces that are about to go up on Etsy and Facebook:

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Surprise!

This week contains that fabulous day (surprisingly not a national holiday… yet) known as my birthday. It’s not a milestone birthday or anything this year, so I wasn’t really expecting much more than a night of not cooking or cleaning up, and hopefully minimal fighting among my not-so-little ones. So imagine my surprise when…

Wearing our fancy hats to Tea Thyme.
Wearing our fancy hats to Tea Thyme.

…on Saturday, right around lunchtime, our doorbell rang. I caught a glimpse of two ladies wearing big, fancy, crazy hats, so I was a little cautious about opening the door. I didn’t have a lot of time to ponder who it could be (though I did wonder if the Jehovah’s Witnesses were coming to call since they are always dressed to the 9s) but I certainly did not expect two of my favorite people to be standing on our doorstep, wearing cheezy grins and awesomely-crazy fancy hats, and holding one out for me. I keep telling my kids that I’m going to run away from home, and this weekend I got to. It was so much fun. My girlfriends had the entire day planned out. There were pedicures, a fancy tea (aka: middle of the afternoon amazing desserts) at a fancy tea shop, and dinner out with some of my local girlfriends. AND I got to stay at the hotel with them. Ah-mazing. I’m kind of amazed that I have friends that will go to so much trouble just for my birthday. I got to know them when I lived in Omaha, and I’m so thankful that our friendship has stayed solid since I left the Big O.

Omaha girlfriends meet Fort Dodge girlfriends. And flowers that I didn't buy for myself!!!
Omaha girlfriends meet Fort Dodge girlfriends. And flowers that I didn’t buy for myself!!!

So… what on earth does this have to do with jewelry making? Well… it has less to do with the actual jewelry making than it does the mental state and dedication involved in jewelry making. Normally, I let this kind of thing interrupt my makering for too long, sometimes up to several weeks of minimal work happening. I tend to let things throw off my rhythm that really shouldn’t. (basically, I’m lazy…) But this time, I didn’t. I was right back at it on Sunday. I tend to fall off the wagon very easily when it comes to all of the promotional stuff, but I said I was going to really push myself, and that’s what I mean to do.

I have a show coming up in about 3 weeks, and I have a new idea for myself, so I need to bust a lot of that out in a short amount of time. And also, I’m trying to figure out how much I want to list on Etsy since I have the vendor event coming. I need to work some of those kinks out, but I’m making progress, and getting closer to where I think I will have the best chance of success.

Some work in progress:

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Yay tools! Punching out some discs.
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Always an “oops” *sigh*
Cut, textured, punched, dapped, fire-painted, and sealed by me. =D
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Ordered these bad-boys. I LOVE them. *

And remember, if you notice me slacking… let me have it! 😉

Peace, y’all.

*Ordered from the amazing Blue Mudd/Blu Bayou Soap Co.

Get the Party Started

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Is this song stuck in anyone else’s head now?

Yup. I’ve already been starting to push, push, push. Hopefully I won’t drive all my facebook friends crazy, but OH WELL if I do! Truthfully, I’m trying to ease into it, and I do try to minimize the postings to my personal FB. I had a few things to iron out before I could start posting more on Etsy (I switched banks (yay moving!), so I had to wait until all that mumbo-jumbo was 100% taken care of) but I’m going to try to list at least 1 each day, 5 days of the week. I know odds are that I won’t get it done the full 7, so I think 5 is a good starting place.

Also… I JUST figured out, about a month ago, how easy Etsy makes it to post to social media. *facepalm* I’m a little slow sometimes… But I have found the easy-share buttons (like Pinterest and Twitter… Give me a follow!) and have been making use of them. Annnnnd, I don’t know if you noticed or not, but this is the 3rd B.Accessorized blog post in as many weeks! BOOM.

I’ve managed to clear out quite a bit of old inventory via my clearance album on Facebook. Those pieces just weren’t selling, didn’t fit with the style I am focusing on now, and were just taking up space, so I’m glad to see them go. There are still some pieces over there, and the sale ends soon, so be sure to stop by!

Clearance $8
Clearance $8
Clearance $12
Clearance $12
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Clearance $15
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Clearance $8

Here’s hoping this motivation continues!

Going All In

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So. I have been making jewelry (and other things) for several years now. I have never really been successful at it. Every once in a while, it seems to pick up, and then it falls back down again. Things have gradually increased overall, though, which is great. But I’m really not where I feel I should, or at least COULD, be by now. I am set up in the most supportive way possible, with a husband that keeps pushing and helping me. He has never once questioned whether this was a good idea, even though I have soooo many times over the years. My friends and family are amazing supporters, too. So, really, it’s just me standing in my own way.

He bought me a jigsaw. Seriously.
He bought me a jigsaw. Seriously.

I just received an email inviting me to two upcoming events in my new “hometown.” One at the end of the summer, and one this fall. Initially, I was excited. And then I had the “Why bother?” moment. I rarely do well at these events. But… And this is a BIG but… My work has always been a mish-mash of pieces. I’ve never buckled down and focused on one style. And now, thanks in large part to Brenda’s B’SueBoutiques challenge class this winter, I feel like I am moving closer to where I want to be. My pieces still aren’t totally uniform, but they aren’t as all-over-the-place either.

And I’ve been working on removing the excess old pieces that don’t fit what I’m making now. (Have you checked out my clearance event on Facebook?) I really have too much inventory.

Okay, back to the email… I decided that I am going to push myself to list more on Facebook and Etsy (especially Etsy), be more consistent with promotion/social media, and give these events a try. If, after all that, things haven’t improved, I might be calling it quits. *deep breath* It’s not for sure. At the very least, I will re-evaluate what I have done, what worked, what didn’t, and then see where that leaves me. But I need to make big changes. I’m sure I’ll fall off the motivation wagon, as I always seem to, but I’m going to give it my best shot. (feel free to nudge me!)

I have some other projects that I have been neglecting (not to mention the kids and all that jazz) so it’s going to be interesting trying to juggle it all. I am pretty sure the extra stuff going on will be beneficial though. I am always more motivated and organized when I have more going at once. The less busy I am, the less productive.

So… Wish me luck!

Live and Learn

I participated in a vendor fair this weekend. I knew going in that it was almost all direct sales, so I really had pretty low expectations for the whole thing. I really had two goals, both of which I met. One, the hard one, was to sell enough to AT LEAST make back the vendor fee. And I did. Not by much, but I did. So that’s happy. The other one I knew I would meet, but in some ways was far more important. I was REALLY ambitious with my displays and setup. I made or altered just about everything I put on my table. I had a really great time doing it, but it was a lot of work, and I really wasn’t sure how it would all come together.

But let’s back up. This is where I started. My idea came last summer at our church’s rummage sale. This lattice was there, and some frames. So, for $10, they became mine. I painted them to make them awesome. And so it began…

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Then I had to figure out what to put IN the frames. I knew kind of what I wanted, but I needed to figure out how to make it happen. That’s usually the part where I run into to trouble. But it came together. I tried making something 100% from scratch, but it didn’t go well. And then it dawned on me that I HAD something that would work as a mold. *face palm* So I busted out some velvet displays, covered them with foil so I wouldn’t totally destroy the originals, and off I went.

So these:

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Became these:

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I decoupaged each of them differently, which was a pain and a lot of fun. I’m not totally satisfied with all of them, but they were close enough for the show.

Then it was just a matter of pulling it all together and making it actually WORK.

I put most of it up in the garage to just do a general “does everything stay where I put it?” kind of test. The most unexpected issue involved the frames. You know how no matter what you do, your pictures always hang just a little off? I was totally cool with that because I didn’t want these frames to hang square. Well… these frames did not want to sit all wonky like I wanted them to. They all hung totally straight. I had to tie them so they would be crooked. The ONE thing I was figuring wouldn’t need any extra thought/effort… Oh well. I got it figured out.

Here’s the beginnings of the setup:

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Some things just don’t come to light until you actually set up AT the event, in that specific space. And I have to say… overall it worked out how I wanted it. It felt really good to take an idea from beginning to end, and have it come out darn close to what you wanted it to be. There are definitely some kinks that need to be worked out, but they are pretty minor.

So, even though my inventory wasn’t exactly flying off the tables, I still count the event as an overall success. I learned a LOT, and hopefully I’m on the right track for getting my products out there for people to see (and hopefully buy).

PS: Keep an eye on Facebook for a sale coming up! Also… Mother’s Day is coming!

BALC: What Did I Learn?

 

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Now that the Build-A-Line Challenge is over, it’s back to life as usual, right? Yeah… No. I’m not sure I would go back even if I could. I feel so much better about the path I am on now. And it’s a path I had been meaning to take for a while. The challenge was really just that final push to really go for it.

So… what did I learn and take away from the whole thing?

The actual concept of what we were doing with this challenge made sense to me. I wasn’t surprised by the expectations or even what Brenda meant by creating a line. Don’t get me wrong… I still learned a lot about creating a line. I definitely am not saying I knew everything about it. I just understood the concept. This class really got down to the nitty and the gritty with it all. I had already decided before this challenge that I needed to narrow down the scope of what I make, and be more focused and consistent. This just gave me the push to actually DO it. I’ve really had to rein in pretty much everything I do, from buying supplies to how I photograph the final products.

What I DID learn about was the rest of it. The stuff I don’t want to have as part of my reality, but it’s really a bigger part than the actual jewelry making itself. It’s the marketing stuff. And really, I kinda knew about that, too, but I was in denial about how important it was. Right now, that part takes as much time as the making side. It drives me crazy. But it’s necessary. Really necessary. So we talked about SEO, photography, packaging, and about a million other topics.

I asked a LOT of questions in our private forums. I’m nosy. I can’t help it. I consider it one of my special gifts. 😉 I figure other people are probably wondering the same things. And I also figure it makes more sense to learn from other people’s mistakes/successes/experiences. Maybe that’s the lazy way? I don’t know, but it makes sense to me to ask. If no one answers, then you move on. If they do, you apply what they tell you, and determine how to use the info (or not, depending) for your own gig.

Probably the biggest thing I learned in the three months of really trying to focus more was that I need to be more intentional when it comes to jewelry making. I need to schedule times for making, photographing, promoting, listing, etc. It’s not easy to find time consistently as a stay-at-home mom. And I’m still at a stage that my kids, husband, and home are still my main focus. That’s just where I’m at in life. But I’m feeling more like I can make Jewelry Making come up a little higher on the list. Now that I’m more focused on what I make, sticking more to one style, it helps simplify the creative process, which makes me more productive. And a whole lot more confident in what I am making, and how likely it is to sell.

So really… I learned a lot in this challenge, but I still have a LONG way to go. One thing I know for sure is that I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world. Brenda, the BALC instructor and owner of B’Sue Boutiques, is so full of knowledge and experience, and it blows me away how generously she shared all of that with us.

B’Sue Boutiques Build-a-Line Challenge Blog Hop, Part 3

It’s here! The big reveal!!! I’m excited to show you all what I have been working on. It’s been a busy three months since the BALC began. Between snow days, stomach bugs, viruses, and just general “life” stuff, it has been interesting trying to find blocks of time to get everything put together. Boy am I glad I kept it simple…

So… without further ado… Here is my “line” (or the beginnings of it, anyway) for the challenge:

PicMonkey Collage Cuff

PicMonkey Collage E1

PicMonkey Collage E2

PicMonkey Collage E3

PicMonkey Collage E4

PicMonkey Collage N1

PicMonkey Collage N2

PicMonkey Collage R2

PicMonkey Collage Ring 1

If you continue through the hop (and I really hope you will!) you will see a huge variety of styles. The amazing thing is that we all got the bulk of our components from one place. B’Sue Boutiques offers an amazing selection of Made-in-the-USA brass, as well as just about everything else you could want. I spend a LOT of time drooling over her site and her YouTube videos. Seriously.

Please note: Prices are not set in stone… 😉

Thank you for stopping by.  Happy Hopping!

Brenda Sue Lansdowne, B’sue Boutiques

Jewelry Making Outside the Box

Marcia Tuzzolino

Aurora Designs

Jann Tague

Clever Designs by Jann

Judy King

Apt to Wander Studio

Linzi Alford

Magpie in the Sky, Spoil Heap Tales

Cynthia Wainscott

Exotic Peru

Carole Carlson

Beadsophisticate

Lynn Stinten

Dragonzwench

Marica Zammit

Bead Lovelies

Catherine Shattuck

VRBrose

Michaele Collie

The Vintage Gem

Mary Craig

Jewelry Alchemy

Lee Koopman

Strega Jewelry

Erin Whitacre

Shattered Time Jewelry

Monica Casady

MJCasady Copper Works

Leila West

Leila Nicole Designs

Cindy Peterson

Howling Dog Jewelry

Leila Belcher

Leila Bee Designs

Gloria Allen

Wings and Beads

Pamela Anger

Novegatti Designs

Tammy Adams

Paisley Lizard

Lynda O’Mara

LOmara Creative

Elizabeth Hildreth

MadScientistsDesigns

Dana Hickey

Wind Dancer Studios

Janet Calardo

Jan Lea Designs

Maria Clark

Sweet Willow Designs

Lori Beekman

B. Accessorized        <<<<<<<<<< You Are Here

Jennifer Kroeger

Relic Charm

Amy Jorgensen

Hoarder’s Corner

Robin Reed

Artistry: Handcrafted Bead Designs

Ingrid Anderson

Lilis Gems

Louise O’Shields

Desire Divine Jewels

Susan Killam

Killam Creative

Mary Katherine Deis

The Rose Sword: Artisan and Vintage Collectible Jewelry

Nike Bottalico

Nike Bottalico

Susan Bowerman

Woodside Wireworks

Kristy Le

Kristy Le Trendy Jewelry Designs

Jan Peters

Stylized Vintage

Mitzie Crider

Needful Luxuries Occasional Blog

Gina Hockett

Freestyle Elements

Linda Anderson

From the Bead Board

Alexandra Sefton

Imaginary Jewelry and Altered Art

Melida Boman

The Journey of Pens and Things

Teresa Shurter

TreeZ’s Treasurs

Melissa Latimer

Smithed Up

Renee Hong

Fine and Dandy Jewelry and Art

Nadine Edris

Moondance Jewelry

Lori Prull Meyer

Parisienne Girl

Jennifer Merrill Williams

Artists of All Stripes

Denise Lussier Poirier

Jewelry by Denise

Renee Allen

Small Stuff Design

Autumn Adams

Autumn Dawns

Elizabeth Owens

1996 Shabby Lane

Kat BarronMiller

Midnight Kat Productions Art Jewelry

Sandra Ballard

Mama San’s Mojo

Coral Law

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