Tag Archives: Handmade

Bring it on, 2016

download (19)

Last January, I wrote a post about my goals for 2015 (read it here). I figured now was a good time to reflect and look ahead. So that’s what we’re going to do.

As a person who stinks at follow-through, I gotta say, I feel pretty darned good about how this last year went, as far as jewelry making went. I most definitely had some ups and downs in the level of my effort and commitment, but I definitely spent more time focused on getting where I want to go. I feel like I made a lot of progress. Not so much on actual makering techniques, though there was some of that. But more on the whole business side of things. Let me tell ya, the amount of time making the jewelry takes a lot less time than everything else does, once you finished making the piece. And that’s where I struggle. But this year I did better.

The Build a Line Challenge offered by bsueboutiques.com was AMAZING. I learned so much. It’s being held again, and while I’m not participating, I definitely plan to follow along. I probably drove them all nuts with my constant stream of questions, but there was just so much to learn, and I knew that I had a lot of holes that needed to be filled in.

I believe I sold 8 things on Etsy this year. Not as many as I would have liked, but definitely more than my first year. I am hoping that that means that when I get my act together, and really get active on there, that I will be successful. I created an inventory, and keeping track of everything on there was interesting. I think I still have some kinks to work out there, but at least it’s a start, and a big step in the right direction. Keeping track of everything, including whether it is listed on Etsy, and all that jazz, takes a lot of time. It’s not just doing the things. It’s thinking about the things, deciding when and where to do the things, and, most importantly, why¬†you are doing the things. Moving with purpose. It has been a big change for me to not just go through the movements, but to decide which movements suit me and my product, and what will help get me where I want to go. I have made an effort to not just buy a component because it’s cool, or try out a design because I saw something that I thought was fascinating. If it doesn’t fit into what I want my product to be, I don’t make it. Except every once in a while I play. Because I need to. But my makering is so much more focused.

I had a few months that were very frustrating as far as sales. I strongly considered being done with jewelry making. There are a LOT of jewelry makers out there, so it’s a brutal market. So I have spent a lot of time thinking, and pondering, and considering. I really like making jewelry. But really, I just like making. I don’t have the artist gene. But I have the good-with-tools gene. And the desire to create. For now, that means jewelry. And, thankfully, I ended the year with a very strong show, and I think some of the crowd will be looking for me at future events. That feels pretty darned good. So I will be continuing to make jewelry.

And that means buckling down hard. While I made progress with staying focused and getting more of the business pieces in place, I still have a long way to go. Here are my jewelry making goals for this year:

  • designate specific time each day/week for specific tasks
  • have way more things listed on Etsy
  • 2 (or more) vendor events
  • research so my product reflects what people want
  • work out an efficient inventory system, then use it.

So, basically, be more business-y.

I have personal goals, too, of course. And another sort of business-y effort on the side.

I want to do a quick plug for the Passion Planner12331376_1504055689890030_42941538_nI used it this last year, and really loved it. So I got another for this year. And it’s bigger, and pretty, and makes me super duper happy. If you want something to help you set goals, and stay on top of everything, this is, no joke, the best planner for the job. I have been dissatisfied with every planner I have encountered over the years. And, as a disorganized person, a planner is really important in my life.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by. I wish you all the very best in 2016!

 

Follow me on Facebook, Etsy, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram!

Best Dad EVER!

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:

10501754_10153602602071844_8102311264450009038_n
For the Copper Dreams Collection

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!

DSC_0730
BOOM!

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.

DSC_0731
Look at those pretties! Most of them are Montana Moss Agates. My favorite!

I am one lucky girl!

Thanks for stopping by! Don’t forget to follow me on Etsy, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I looove new friends. ūüėČ

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… ūüėČ

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

ab:coraldesign

Decorating Celebs (part 2)

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.

download (11)

 

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.

 

 

download (12)

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.

 

 

 

 

 

download (13)images (16)

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.

 

 

 

 

download (14)

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.)

download (15)

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?

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!

1400636_10152107564446844_460415462_o

And an elephant with a crystal

DSC_0017 - Copy (3)

And a SPOON!

DSC_0096 - Copy

Need a bib?

DSC_0112

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.

The Fork…

…in the road. That’s kind of where I feel like I am now-a-days. I’m not usually a down-in-the-dumps person, but I have to admit that I’ve been feeling pretty defeated lately. It’s not the first time I have considered being done with jewelry making, but this is probably the most torn I have felt about it. I enjoy it, but it can be overwhelming at times. And I’m still not very confident in some of my new skills, so I wonder if I’m wasting time and materials (and therefore money) while I try to get better. And let me tell ya… I’m the queen of avoiding things that I’m unsure about. (I’m talking things like avoiding parking meters and pay to park lots because I had never used them before, and it stressed me out. Until about 3 years ago. And they still stress me out. Yeah. I’m not kidding.)

Anyway, back to my woe-is-me junk…¬†

Every time I go to look through my pieces to find some to dismantle to use the bits and pieces for other things, I have this “Well geez… why didn’t this sell? I think I need to give it a little more time.” voice in my head. Some of what I have made in the past was a little on the pathetic side, but some of it really surprises me that no one was interested (like this and this). And I’m just not sure what to do to find those people that would buy those pieces. I’m working more on posting things to etsy (oddly enough, when I go to do that, I have this OTHER voice that asks “why on earth would you post that piece of crap?” It’s very confusing sometimes) but I really just don’t reach many people via Etsy. My whoppin’ three sales have been from friends. Which is great, but it means I’m not reaching beyond people I already know.¬†

I’m not quite at the point where I’m ready to give it all up, but honestly if things don’t start selling, it’s going to become a very real possibility. I feel very defeated a lot of the time.¬†

*sigh* Pathetic, aren’t I?¬†

Any suggestions for getting out of this sad little pity party? 

Being Ordinary

This post is what popped in my head tonight when I was trying to sleep.  So I decided to work my way blindly down the stairs to the computer.  Then my stomach reminded me that I was really really hungry, so I made some toast.  And grabbed a Coke.  At O-Dark-Thirty, does it really matter?  Not to me. 

This post is more on the personal side than usual, but it actually is relevant to the jewelry-making topics I usually discuss.  Sort of. 

I am a very ordinary person. ¬†Very average. ¬†I’m of average height and weight. ¬†I have brown hair. ¬†And these days blue eyes aren’t exactly rare. ¬†And my eyes aren’t light blue, dark blue, bright blue, or any-other-adjective blue. ¬†They are just blue. ¬†I’m pale-skinned, but not of the transparent sort. But beyond the whole visual side of things, and more importantly really, I am very average as far as pretty much everything else goes, too. I’m somewhere in between shy and outgoing. ¬†I have always been pretty good at most things. ¬†But I have never been great at anything. ¬†I’ve never even been REALLY good at something. ¬†There are, of course, a few things that I really stink at (singing being one. ¬†Don’t every ask me to sing. ¬†Really.) but I can manage at least adequate with most things. ¬†

And for the most part, being average is just fine and dandy. ¬†I’m cool with being a decent cook, semi-athletic, and an okay person to chill with.¬†

The problem that sneaks up on me sometimes is feeling that there must be SOMETHING that I can be great at. ¬†It first started really getting to me in college. ¬†I really had no idea what I wanted to do or be. ¬†There are just too many things to choose from that would be interesting. ¬†So I have never found anything that I’m willing to really go for and devote time and effort to without it seeming like I was devoting time and effort. ¬†And now that my kids will soon all be in school full-time, I’m feeling more pulled to do something. ¬†People keep asking me what I’ll do when the last one goes to school. ¬†I have no idea where I would work if I decide to get a job. ¬†I really have no clue. ¬†But I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.

I have a lot of things that I want to learn and try. ¬†I think because I’m constantly searching for that ONE thing that’s mine. ¬†

Jewelry is appealing because there are so many mediums within the heading of “jewelry making.” ¬†And I want to try them all. ¬†Of course, that’s the main reason I have never found much success with it. ¬†I’m too scattered. ¬†That has been improving lately as I seem to have fallen into a bit of a style focus with most pieces. ¬†But there is still so much I want to learn. ¬†And if I’m being honest with myself, I really just don’t have the vision that real jewelry artists have.

Yup. ¬†That’s right. ¬†I don’t consider myself a jewelry artist. ¬†I am a maker of jewelry, but I am no artist. ¬†If you know me, you probably know that I rarely bring up my jewelry. ¬†Many of my friends and acquaintances don’t know what I do. ¬†I have probably offended some of you by not bringing it up, but it has never been because I don’t think you are important enough to know. ¬†It’s because I’m embarrassed that I am a jewelry maker. ¬†We all know people that make jewelry and I am well aware that a lot of those people do it much better than I do. ¬†(I’m not pulling a “poor me” deal here… just being honest. ¬†I have no delusions about my skills) ¬†

I really do enjoy making jewelry. ¬†It’s a lot of fun, and does appeal to my short attention span. ¬†I can try new techniques then come back to the old ones and maybe mix them together. ¬†

I just hope that eventually I will find something that I can call mine. ¬†I kind of figure I wouldn’t feel this strongly if God wasn’t trying to tell me something. ¬†Whether it’s with jewelry and finding a method or style or whatever that distinguishes me from the millions of other jewelry makers out there, or if it’s with something completely different, I have to keep searching and trying and exploring. ¬†Probably with some naps mixed in.¬†

Maybe by the time I’m 90…¬†

Cheers.