A while back, I wrote about a piece I was just starting. I believe I even claimed it would be really cool. (read that post here) Well, it’s finished. Finally. It’s been on my bench for about 6 months. Part of the reason it took so long was that I ended up needing to alter my plan. So it definitely does NOT look the way I had originally envisioned.
The jury is still out on whether this design is actually better than the original. Though, really, it doesn’t matter since the way it started couldn’t work. Want to know WHY it wouldn’t work? (you’re desperate to know, aren’t you?) Fine. You twisted my arm. I’ll tell you.
So. In my head, when I began planning this piece, I had intended for the two floral pieces to be touching in the middle, and to just finish the piece with some large chain and a clasp.
Spider Web Thingy
But… the spider web piece had other things in mind. With the way the web holes are, combined with the pattern on the floral pieces (which determined hole placement in those pieces) things didn’t line up the way I wanted. They were either going to be overlapping in the middle, or spaced farther apart. For what I hope are obvious reasons, I went with farther apart. Unfortunately, that spacing made the piece less stable, so it needed more base structure.
This is where I stopped for a few months. It’s really hard, when you have a solid plan in your head, that you think is going to turn out really well, it can be hard to switch gears. So, I put it down on my bench. I would pick it up from time to time, thinking how it still looked really cool, and was going to be an awesome piece when it was done. But then I would put it back down and do something else.
I’ve been in a funk for a while, struggling to create. That’s usually when I reach for my startedbutnotfinished pile. (anyone else have eleventy-seven unfinished projects to choose from?) So, a few weeks ago, I decided IT. WAS. TIME. I narrowed down my options to two. Either black leather, or a copper cuff. So I took some pictures. Posted them on Instagram. Got good reactions to both.
And then I didn’t finish it.
I know, I know!!! Pathetic, right?
Since then, my funk got a little bit funky. I would walk into my “workshop” (it’s a closet, remember?) and basically walk back out again. But yesterday, I had the day off work, and I went down and just got to work on the cuff. I had to improvise a little on drilling the copper cuff.
Thankfully it worked really well, and before I knew it, the whole thing was finished.
Hello Friends! I’m sure you have been anxiously waiting for me to blog again. Right? (If not, just lie to me and say you were.)
I haven’t posted in a while (SHOCKER!) so why don’t I give you a quick run-down on what I’ve been up to since I posted last.
The main thing that has kept me busy the last 4 months *cringe* is that I got a job. Like the for-real, comes-with-a-paycheck kind. I’m just a substitute paraeducator, so I have a bit of freedom with when I want to work, but honestly, I have worked a lot more than I had expected to. Which is so great on so many levels, but it has also made the transition a bit harder. I haven’t had a job in 13 years. Boy, let me tell you, that interview was SCARY. Plus, you know, the sad little resume that I had to compile. And then there’s that whole “when do I do laundry?” thing, and all those other little things that I used to be able to do during the day. Well, I had the option of doing them, anyway. I can’t honestly say I kept up on housework THAT much better. I’m lazy. It’s one of my special gifts. But anyway, that’s the basic gist of what my biggest time-sucker has been. I must say, though, that I really enjoy hanging out with those kids, even with the behavior obstacles. It’s been a lot of fun.
We also had a couple rounds of company come through, plus a couple of ho-hum fall events. Then a family trip for Thanksgiving. THAT is always a blast. My whole family gets together, the cousins play, the adults adult, and we just have a wonderful time. I tend to unplug as much as I possibly can during those days. There’s just not really anything that important that I need to keep up with that trumps family time.
But. The day we got back. Things got real.
You see… my youngest child’s school hadn’t had a book fair in 4 years. We’ve been here for 2, and it took about a year of me waiting and waiting for the book fair to come before I asked when it usually is. Which is how I found out we hadn’t had one in a while. And let me tell you… that bothered me. A bunch. Which also says that it was my job to make one happen. I’m a firm believer that if you don’t like something, and have the ability to change it, then it is YOUR job to do so. I don’t agree with sitting on the sides and grumbling about how much you don’t like something. Nope. That doesn’t sit well with me. So, this fall, I started the process of putting together a book fair. It was set for Parent/Teacher conference week, which just happened to be the week after Thanksgiving. Yippee!!! (please read that with plenty of sarcasm)
There are so many things I learned, and even though it went far better than I thought it would, I have a lot of things to adjust and do differently. It definitely consumed an entire week, plus all the prep, so it was a lot of work, but it was so completely worth it to see how excited those kids were. Most of them had never seen a book fair. So even if it hadn’t been a huge success, it still would have been worth it.
But once that was done, I had what was supposed to be my biggest vendor event of the year. Last year it was my best event to date, so while I tried to not get my hopes up too high, I figured it would be a decent event. Well, it didn’t work out that way. In fact, it was really pretty lousy. But I had several custom orders come in, so sad, pathetic event aside, the holiday season went very well for me. And the orders keep coming in! I feel so so blessed. There have been so many times that I have wondered if it’s just time to sell the bulk of my supplies, and shut B.Accessorized down. But then I have a stretch like I have had the last 6 weeks or so, and it gives me a lot of hope.
Now, toss in a giant amount of running all of my kids to their various events/games/church/friend’s houses plus having friends over here, and Christmas, and all the other family type things, it’s been a busy few months. My days run from 6am until 8:30pm most days. It has made it hard to build much inventory. But I’m making it work.
Now, what are my plans for the near future?
Well, my main goal right now is to give Etsy another big push, and see if I can find more success there. We’ll see if I can really buckle down and get a lot of things up and on the site. I need to re-photograph pretty much everything, organize everything, and then there’s the dreaded description of everything. I’m hoping I can get into a good groove with it, and it’ll start to feel easier.
Here are a few of the pieces I have made recently…
Thanks for sticking with me! As always, follow me here, there, and everywhere!
Is anyone else out there their own worst enemy? At least part of the time? I know I am.
Remember how I told you last time that we had company for two weeks recently? Well, being a total glutton for punishment, just before they were scheduled to arrive, I decided it would be a fine time to place an order from my favorite supplier. I had a purpose for part of my order, but the timing couldn’t have been much worse.
Do you have a website you love to shop at? One that once you start looking, you can’t stop? Yeah? Well, that’s B’Sue Boutiques for me. I made myself keep my order small, but I also needed to order from her back room at Etsy. (double torture…) I ordered the couple of things I actually had intended to buy, plus a few other small add-ons. Because shopping.
So on day 2 of my in-laws’ visit, my package showed up. Day 2 of 14. *sigh* I made myself wait until they left to open it, as the consequence of my stupidity. The timing of the order was terrible. If you read my last post, and some of my others, you know that it’s not the fact that I had visitors. They would have been totally fine with me taking time to work. But since my workshop is in the guest room closet, it was all packed up, and I had no access to it. Please feel free to roll your eyes at my decision on ordering when I did.
But, the day did come when I could open my package and admire my purchases. I was completely giddy, no joke. I have yet to receive something from B’Sue that I don’t absolutely love. Everything they sell is wonderful.
Hello hello! I’ve been gone for a while (again…) but I’m hoping to be back in action regularly for a while to come. The last 6 months or so have been a little on the crazy side. But I THINK most of the crazy is over.
I’m sure you are all on the edge of your seats, wondering what on earth has kept me away. Well, you can sit back and relax, and I’ll tell you. I’ll try to keep it short though.
After the holiday madness, including my best show to date, we had a couple of weeks off. Then, insanity began. We took a 9 day trip to Disney, which included getting snowed in on our way home. About a week after we got back, I had knee surgery. I had fully intended to keep up on blogging, etc., while I recovered. But I didn’t. I binge watched NCIS instead. And napped. There was a lot of napping. It was amazing.
For week 3 of my recovery, my better half had to go out of town for the week, so my Mom came to hang out with me. THAT was amazing. We had so much fun, even doing basically nothing. We played with polymer clay a bit, and might have had a few cups of hot chocolate… I don’t get to hang with my mom very often, so I really enjoyed having her here.
A few weeks later, we had company for Easter.
Then 2 weeks after that, we had more company.
I had a vendor event in there somewhere.
And my in-laws just came for two weeks.
I love having company. I really really do.
However… My workshop is in the guest room closet.
So, as you can imagine, my things have spent a LOT of time packed away over the last several months. I did manage to make some newer pieces, and I also took some time to purge a LOT of stuff. When we moved from Ohio to Iowa, I did an initial purge, but it wasn’t enough. I went from a huge, for-real workshop to a closet. I really needed to scale back. I still have more I could probably get rid of, but for now, I’m just happy to have removed a significant amount of extra stuff I wasn’t using.
This is my pile of sorted stuff that I’m going to sell. BOOM!
This is Frank. He’s “helping”
Now we just have baseball, the summer musical and all the rehearsals that go with it, swimming (at 6:45am. Super fun!!!), athletics camps, a mission trip for one of the kiddos, a family trip to Montana to see my folks (YAY!), and a trip to MSP to babysit my niece and nephews for a week. You know, a nice relaxing summer. There will be as many afternoons at the pool, friends staying over, and fire pit nights as we can manage. Most of the busy stuff is for the soon-to-be 13 year old. The boys have it pretty easy.
So, now I am hoping to get into a bit of a groove, and carve out some dedicated time for working.
I have an event coming up this fall that I have some ideas for. I will be making some fairly specialized pieces that I hope will really go over well. However, it’s my first outdoor event. I’m a bit nervous about it. If any of you out there in cyberspace have any tips for me, or recommendations for a canopy, I am all ears (or is it eyes?)
I’m really sorry I have been missing in action lately. I hope each and every one of you is doing well, and enjoying life. I know I am.
And feel free to nudge me if I’m not keeping up! And tell me what plans you have for the summer. =D
It just so happens that I have the best dad ever. Well, the best dad for ME anyway. He’s a mechanic, so he knows all the ins and outs of tools. And considering my love and use of tools, this comes in handy.
This summer, my tumbler bit the dust. I use my tumbler a LOT, so I was really bummed. I hadn’t had it very long either, but it was past the warranty date, so I was out of luck. I had just started to hit my groove with a new style of jewelry, and, unfortunately, that style was much more easily made with the use of a tumbler. I make these discs that I have shown you before:
Well, I’m sure you can imagine how much fun it is to file the edges of each and every one of those suckers. Yup, that’s right. It’s not. fun. at. all. So I had a handy-dandy tumbler to do it for me (it saves me a lot of time, and therefore saves $ for the buyers!) Until it pooped out.
So of course I talked to my dad about it the next time I spoke with him. I just like to discuss tools with him. I was certainly not expecting anything from him when I mentioned it. But he just happens to casually mention that he has a spare tumbler that he doesn’t use anymore. Well, shoot. Of course he does. Who doesn’t have a spare tumbler, or anvil, or vise, or wire-twister, or… (a large portion of my tools have come to me courtesy of my father) At some point who knows how many years ago, he needed a bigger one. He tumbles rocks and such all the time. (Eastern Montana is an amazing place to find cool stuff. Moss Agates, petrified wood, etc) So, he said I could have his smaller one.
I had to wait until Thanksgiving to get it, but it was so very worth the wait! I have already tumbled a set of discs, and turned them into pretty things. I was practically giddy the first time I used it. And the creative juices were just flowing. What an amazing gift!
It’s not pretty, but I’m of the opinion that if your tools look pretty, you haven’t used them enough. At least with some tools.
Also, I noticed something when I picked up one of the barrels. There was some stuff rolling around inside. So I open it up and what do I find but a bunch of chips, with a few larger bits of rock, all polished up. I’m thinking some of them are destined for a resin piece. But we’ll see.
Every month, at the B’SueBoutiques Creative Group on Facebook, we have a themed challenge. It really gets the creative juices flowing. This month, Ms. Brenda added an extra challenge, a prerequisite of participating in this blog hop. In addition to the “Vintage Flair” monthly challenge theme, we were asked to Change It Up. She chose 4 popular large pieces from her site, and we had to choose one (or more) of those pieces, then use it in a unique way.
Well, I have had one of the pieces for a few months, a necktie. I knew it was a super cool piece (that’s why I bought it!), but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to DO with it, so it just sat there. Every so often I would get it out, start to lay out some bits to go with it, and then put it away again because I wasn’t satisfied with what I was coming up with. Well, when this challenge was announced, and I took a peek at the 4 options and saw the tie, I figured it was time to use that amazing piece.
But I couldn’t just decoupage it, add a few things, and call it a day, which is a fairly typical use of this piece (with amazing results!). I had to CHANGE it. And that’s where things get a little scary. I had an idea. (even more scary…) But convincing myself to follow through was kind of tough. If there hadn’t been a deadline, I probably wouldn’t have made myself do it.
I was about to start my project, when I remembered that it wasn’t just “Change it up” but Vintage Flair, too. Shoot. The vintage concept baffles me a bit. So, as most people would, I Googled “vintage flair” and “vintage jewelry” and “vintage flair jewelry” And while those images were kind of helpful, I realized the word “vintage” is used to describe just about everything these days, so it makes it hard to weed through the things that are obviously NOT vintage, and try to find examples that I THINK fit the theme. Another realization I came to, though, is that in a way, everything goes under this kind of heading. There has been SO much variety in styles that nearly everything is encompassed. But, things like crystals, pearls, and filigree seem to be pretty standard. So that kind of gave me a jumping-off point.
Not only was I thinking outside the box as I used this piece, I was stepping pretty far outside my comfort zone in jewelry making in general. I tend to shoot for fairly simple looks. And this necklace does NOT fit into that category… And that’s what made it so fun to create.
So, here we go. I decided to cut up the necktie. *gulp* Yes. Cut it into pieces. Like I said, I almost talked myself out of it. But… *deep breath*
Well, I guess I’m committed now… Might as well make the rest of the cuts.
This is what I ended up with after I let my shears have their way:
I decided to go with a bit of a gypsy style. So I used a “map” that had a reddish color to it, which I thought would work well with the direction (Nice pun, yeah?) I was intending to go.
When I’m working on a collage-y type project, I like to grab a container then browse through all of my supplies and toss everything that has potential into the container. So that’s what I did.
Once I had everything gathered, I started trying things out, putting them on top of the pieces of tie, trying different combinations and orientations. I knew I didn’t want to put very much on each one. I wanted the outline of the tie to still be visible. Then it was just a matter of finding a variety of chain to pull it all together.
I have a hard time photographing this large of a piece on a flat surface, but I gave it a go.
I used quite a few bits from B’SueBoutiques. The pearl chain, some filigree, POP! beads, the flower stamping… And the tie of course.
And my FAVORITE part of the necklace. The Evil Eye pendant. This piece makes me so very happy.
I put it on my mannequin and I think it gives you a really good idea of how it looks ON. I really fell in love with this piece. I’m very pleased with how it turned out.
I opted to leave a few inches of extra chain in the back so it can be worn longer if desired.
I was going for a vintage gypsy style… What do you think? Did I succeed?
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.
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.
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.
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:
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…
…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.
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:
And remember, if you notice me slacking… let me have it! 😉
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:
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.