Tag Archives: Craft

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

The Beauty of Downsizing

When I lived in Dayton, I had a workshop. The for-real kind. Pegboard galore, a huge workbench, a concrete floor I couldn’t ruin, and plenty of space. It. Was. Awesome. I had things sorted and organized. (At least until I used it and forgot to put it away.)

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Here it is. My beloved.

And there might have been a wall of shelves behind me there… Maybe. I’m probably not remembering right. 😉

And… here is my new *cough* workshop.

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Yup. That would be a closet. Needless to say, I have seen a significant reduction in production space. *sigh*

But you know what, I think this can be IS a good thing for me. If you read my previous post, you know I am trying to focus more. I can hear you yelling at your screen “HOW does a smaller space help you focus your creativity into a more concise line of jewelry?!?”

First of all, please calm down. I’ll let you do the count down from 10 thing…

Good to go? Great. What this much smaller space forced me to do was get rid of a lot of my supplies. I went through every container and strand of beads and asked myself if it would help me get to where I want to go with my jewelry. Some of them were really easy to let go, but others were really tough. (have great taste, and beads are so much FUN) But boy did it feel so great to purge so much. And really, I didn’t have room for it all anyway.

Here’s the main box of stuff that I’m getting rid of. That tin is filled with cross-stitch supplies that I have had for eons. So I’m not just getting rid of jewelry supplies, but other craft items as well. The bulk is definitely jewelry though. A lot of beads, plus some chain, wire, stringing materials, storage containers, and even tools and displays. So basically, a bit of everything.

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It’s hard to tell, but that’s a good sized moving box (I have a LOT of moving boxes..) and it is filled close to half way with just packages of beads. The other containers are on top of the beads. I had a lot to purge. =D
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Pearls that will be sold separately

I’m not at the point where I am excited to head down to the messy workshop, but I’ll get there. Eventually it will be comfortable and functional, and knowing I made that space work makes me feel pretty good. Is it ideal? Of course not. But will I make it work? You betcha.

PS: I found my stash of scarves. It’s not all of them, but the majority. If your neck is cold these days… I’ll hook you up. (Get it? Crochet hook? bwahahahaha)

A Discount with a Purpose

I have a problem. A problem that I have been mulling over, considering, and pondering for a while now. But I’m finally getting to a point where I’m moving beyond said mulling.

What it comes down to is:

I lack focus.

Not so much on individual projects, but on style, medium, and technique. You know, those things that cause cohesiveness and make things look like they belong together. I am the queen of seeing a new (to me) technique and wanting to try it. Forget the 37 projects I have started or prepped or thought of. This is something NEW. Which means I must learn to do it.

All this leads to a mish-mash of jewelry styles, like:

Collage!

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And an elephant with a crystal

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And a SPOON!

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Need a bib?

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And it makes me wonder if I would sell more if people knew better what to expect from me.

Another side effect of this problem, and the lack of sales, is I have a LOT of inventory. I will probably re-purpose some of the pieces, but before I do… I want to give you all the chance to grab some pieces that you have had your eye on, and at a nice discounted price. (I’ve been meaning to do a holiday shopping sale anyway…)

Buy 1 item, get 10% off.

Buy 2, get 20% off.

Buy 3, get 30% off.

Buy 4 or more, and get 40% off your ENTIRE ORDER.

This sale is through Facebook ONLY. Simply comment on each picture that you wish to purchase, and PM me when you are ready to complete your order.

So, you get to buy gifts for yourself or someone else, and I get to move some inventory. Everybody wins. =)

***While I believe my inventory is up-to-date, there may be things that I have missed. Thank you for your understanding and patience.

Playing with Resin

Hi friends. I haven’t forgotten about you. Promise.

Things have been busy lately, with life AND with jewelry-making. About a month ago I had a friend over for a resin play date. We had a ton of fun. Resin is a wonderful medium to play with.

And I use the word “play” seriously.

Resin allows for so much freedom to move things, shift and adjust ideas and compositions. Pretty awesome when you are indecisive like I am. Thankfully it has a time limit, too, so decisions do need to be made. Just the right combination of freedom and discipline.

I was able to make quite a few components during our play date, and my friend made some earrings. All kinds of awesome happen when girlfriends get their craft on.

Happy day.

New Territory, Part II

Well, I did it. I used my gift card to purchase a large portion of the supplies I need to start experimenting with metal smithing. AND I got payment for the custom orders I did before Christmas (which I forgot to take pictures of… Lame). Which means I can purchase the rest of my supplies from another site.

Holy.
Crap.

One purchase down, one to go, and then I get to start playing with fire. *evil laugh*

I’m still totally intimidated. I usually learn quickly once I get started, so hopefully it won’t take me long to get the hang of things. If I can just get myself to take that first step…

I feel like so much is riding on all of this. Say a prayer, send good vibes, wish me luck. Or all of the above. 😉

Thanks for joining me on my journey. I’ll keep you posted. 😉