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
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?
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…
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.
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:
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!
Yes. It’s January 5th. Yes, I’m late getting to a New Years blog post. But, here I am. Ready for action.
Rumor has it that telling people your intentions with a goal you have increases the likelihood that it will go as planned. More or less. So you all have been nominated to be my people that I tell my goals to. Aren’t you excited?!?
Since it seems best to let the anticipation build, I thought I would start with a quick look back at 2014. Overall, it was a pretty good year for my business. It was definitely my most successful, and it also was a year that I found more direction, tried new techniques, and pushed myself out of my comfort zone.
Okay. Moving on.
This past fall, I came across a planner that I am really excited about. It features a lot of what I wanted when I thought I would create my own (due to the fact that I think the majority of planners out there are lame and not particularly functional for this lady.) This planner, along with having plenty of space to write down your places to be and things to do, it focuses on GOALS. Short term and long term. (which is what Ms. Brenda is trying to teach us with the challenge) And allows space for planning to reach those goals. I’m really excited to have it and use it up.
This year, as the majority of people I know are doing, I am trying to improve my health. But that’s not surprising, and not particularly relevant here. One of my short term goals is to sell 15 pieces by April 1. And I want to sell at least 2 on Etsy. Yes, that sounds pathetic, but I only sold 3 items on Etsy last year. Total. Yeah. Talk about pathetic… So. 2 sales in 3 months sounds like a good goal, doesn’t it? I’m also working on treating my jewelry making like a for-real job. In other words, scheduling time to really focus on creating, photographing, and promoting. Time management. Who would have thought? I also want to participate in at least one craft fair this year. I’ve only done one in the 3 years since we moved away from Omaha. So that means working on displays and packaging, as well as creating a product that is different from the eleventy-seven thousand other jewelry vendors at that same craft fair, and appealing to enough people to make it worth my time.
I definitely have my work cut out for me this year. And really… it’s about darn time. I have been coasting for far too long. I have some other, more personal, goals too, but making my jewelry business a success is a big focus.
Thank you for reading, and feel free to nudge me along at any time if it seems as though I am slacking.
Just for fun, I thought I would take a few minutes to talk about another 5 celebs that I would love to see wearing some B. Accessorized pieces. Why do I think of these things? Because HOW COOL WOULD THAT BE? to have someone famous wearing something that I made? Holy buckets. If you’re going to dream… might as well dream big, right?
Okay, so let’s get down to it. In my last blog, I mentioned Zooey Deschanel, Carrie Underwood, Ree Drummond, Meryl Streep, and Courtney Cole. All super cool chicks.
Chalene Johnson is amazing. She is a motivational speaker, life coach, and fitness instructor all rolled into one. She is someone that is incredibly positive and uplifting, and I don’t even get the urge to punch her (not that I could… I could punch the tv screen, but that would hurt, and make for a very unhappy husband) I get to see her most mornings as she helps me start the day off right with one of her many Beachbody workouts. She really is amazing.
Ellen is kind of obvious. She totally tops my list of celebrities I would love to spend a day with. She is so funny and just seems to be an amazing person. It really comes across that she is a very kind person that has things she is passionate about and does something about them.
Maureen O’Hara. Good golly she is amazing. Even as a kid I knew she was one of the most stunning women in the world. I always felt she was classy, but could laugh at herself, too. Or that’s the impression I got from watching her movies. She is just amazing.
Who doesn’t love Tina Fey? She has made a successful career out of being a regular chick. I want to be her friend. I’m sure we could be besties. (I can’t believe I just used that word.)
P!nk is just so. darn. cool. Am I right? I love her jams, but I think SHE is just cool. I will never be even half as cool as she is. She makes being strong and powerful seem attainable and typical, which is where her coolness stems from, at least from my point of view. And she makes “edgy” pretty. Which is not always the case.
So there you have it, friends. Tell me… who would you pick to spend time with and/or make something for?
I have been finding myself creating pieces more frequently (which seems rare lately) and it got me thinking. I have too much inventory. So I decided to have a sale. (check it out at B. Accessorized on Facebook) Most of what has been in the clearance album for a while will be broken down to be used for new pieces if they don’t sell. That’s one thing I need to work on. It breaks my heart to take anything apart, no matter how dreadful it is now that I look at it with eyes that have a whole lot more experience and hands that are more skillful.
And I moved a LOT more pieces into the clearance album.
Everything else will be 10% off.
It doesn’t sound like much, does it? But you know what? For me it is.
It has always been a priority of mine to have my pieces priced in a range that I feel is reachable for most people. I know there are plenty out there that would disagree with this line of thinking, but I can’t seem to help it. I know what it’s like to fall in love with something only to take a peek at the price tag and automatically move it into the “ot in a million years” category in my head. And it stinks. I also feel as though my jewelry and other creations aren’t quite as skillfully done as a lot of other artists out there. So I don’t feel I should charge what they charge.
However, as time has gone by, I have improved and I have learned. And my prices have slowly started to reflect that. I’m starting to put more value on my time, but it’s a long process of change and growth. I have this horrible tendency to want to discount when someone wants to make a purchase, or at least apologize for the price. Which is silly. I’m a wimp. But I’m getting better at telling myself “N.O. NO.” when I start to feel that urge. And if I listed the things I DON’T charge for, you would be shocked. It would be a very long list. I’m not complaining. It’s my choice to run things that way, at least for now. And, like I said, I’m getting a bit stronger and I am finding more value in my time and work. I’m growing and changing, as is my work.
All of those factors (starting with low prices, not charging for things like gas, time to hit the PO, etc.) are why my having a 10% off of EVERYTHING sale is a BIG. DEAL.
And the bottom line is that I love doing what I do. It find it relaxing and challenging at the same time. And I want you to love it too. I love selling a piece even though a small corner of my heart cracks a little.
I think this says so much, and can be applied to so many things:
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.
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. 😉