Tag Archives: Awesomesauce

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!

B’Sue Boutiques Build-A-Line Challenge, By B. Accessorized, Part Two

DSC_0021 Once I finished the initial prep for my pieces, which was mostly adding patina with my torch and sealing the pieces, it was time to bring out the big guns. I gotta say, power tools are very therapeutic. Torches are, too. And hammers… I like tools. DSC_0002        DSC_0019 (2)      DSC_0033 Once the prep steps were finished, things kind of rolled right along for me. I knocked out some earrings, a ring, and I’m about 75% done with my cuff. I still have plenty of work to do, but I feel like I’m heading in the right direction, and it happens to be the path I started on, which is kind of nice. I still feel comfortable with the western boho concept. I haven’t had to totally re-think anything at this point. Granted, that could change at any time, but for now I’m content.

Where I have been putting a lot of my focus, and where I feel I really need the extra time/effort is on creating the whole “package.” I’ve been looking harder at packaging and presentation, which includes my logo, business cards, what I use for shipping, and even displays and photo backgrounds. Trying to figure out what non-jewelry pieces of the puzzle are missing has been interesting and very challenging for me.

I have been learning so much in this challenge. B’Sue Boutiques provides amazing supplies, but so many other things, too. I have had so much fun learning with the BALC participants. We have been helping each other work through some kinks, finding new ways to look at things, supporting each other in so many ways, and soaking in the knowledge that Ms. Brenda has to offer. I am so thankful to be part of this challenge. In the 3rd and final hop, next month, I will show my finished product line. I’m looking at it as a final exam for this class. I just hope I’m really as prepared as I think.

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

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 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 coraldesign

Branches and the B.a.L.C.

I have to be honest… I haven’t actually MADE anything for my B’Sue Boutiques Build-A-Line Challenge. I’ve been thinking about it, but mostly I have been making other things. I’m not hesitant about what I will be making. I’m feeling pretty good about the designs, though they are very simple. I know I won’t win the judged portion. And I’m okay with that. I am learning about building a line of jewelry that just might do that crazy thing… you know, where people buy it. Say Whhaaaaa’??? I know, I might be getting ahead of myself, but it can’t be helped.

In our “classroom” we have been talking about what a line really is and what it really means. Basically it boils down, for me at least, to one thing… will people know YOU made it? I don’t know how close I am to that but I really feel that I’m making progress in that direction. I’ve been having a lot of fun with stamps and metal. I want lots and lots of metal in my designs. Hence the stamping. Making pieces that are very gift-able is something else we have touched on. Stamped jewelry is very very easy to personalize. So I’m hoping to take (abundant) orders, while also offering a good variety of ready-made pieces that will range from spiritual to hilarious.

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Stamped Small Bars for Necklaces or Bracelets
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Stamped “FAITH” Small Bar Necklace
Stamped scroll necklaces
Stamped scroll necklaces

I also want to include leather in future pieces. I feel that it fits well with the “western boho” theme for my line. So, leather is a next step for me. I have worked with it some, and was successful, or totally unsuccessful, depending on how you look at it. I made a bracelet a while ago that I was SOOOO excited about. The techniques worked out pretty well, though my riveting needs some work. Really, the only problem was the size. It was way too small. So, it’s not a wearable bracelet, but otherwise it’s just fabulous.

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Western Themed Leather Bracelet

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I feel that, while it doesn’t actually “fit” the western boho theme, the stamped metal works WITH the theme. They could be worn together very easily, and it would be a simple thing to add a stamped component into one of the designs that does fit. So I am looking at it as a branch of the western boho tree. I think I am looking at the info coming from the challenge in a slightly different way than some of the other participants. I’m not feeling limited by having a line, and like everything I create now must fit into that category. I’m thinking of my line as the central concept that other things can branch off of. I have an idea for a second branch of my tree, but it’s going to have to wait a bit until I make a bit more progress with my current projects. But the idea is there, and it will stay, I have a feeling.

And really, there’s nothing wrong with growing a whole new tree… As long as people know it is YOUR tree.