Tangles, Twists and Treasures

Romantic Jewelry and Fine Things

Archive for the category “Business”

Show Cancellations with Hope

Cancelled

This is what happens when you don’t manage well.

Business Vision

My vision has always been to have a business that specializes in things which evoke emotions you might feel stepping back in time and into a Victorian lady’s sitting room.  I want you to feel peaceful, with a sense of deserved opulence, comfort and joyful beauty.

The antique silver hairbrush should be as at-home on my table, as hand-made pendants, crocheted doilies and hair pins. I want my booth to be a sensory experience. I want soothing smells to draw you in, cheerful faces to ease your fear, and beauty and opulence to give you peace. I am also hoping to tie all this into a long-term plan to help the community and the world.

Business Planning

Two years ago, when I began this business, I knew I had to plan for moments of illness and the times when my health or brain just wouldn’t allow me to be productive. My business plan included padding, and took a long-term approach.  I intended to work on creating, get myself into a few shows, roll the money back into the business, and at the nearest opportunity, pay someone else to help me develop a website.  I knew that having to manage making items, photographing items, posting items, and managing a web store would take up far more time than my illness would allow, and that I needed someone I could trust to help with the management aspects of the business while I concentrated on the creation of inventory.

Life As It Happened

As they say, “The best laid plans of mice and men…”

I did two or three shows in the Spring with old inventory, didn’t make many sales, and then became ill with some sort of cold.  It took weeks to shake that, then I dealt with multiple issues from my Fibro, two different hospitalizations, and a boatload of fatigue over the summer.  (I’m always exhausted in the summer for some reason, which is why you will NEVER see me doing summer shows!)  I headed into the fall with new hope, picking up my pet project – my Star Trek club – along the way, and barely managing to get my crew ready for Klingon Feast at the end of September. (They were awesome, though, and I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to call my friends!)

Feast is over, I’ve rested, and I finally feel like myself again, with enough energy to get some things done. I failed to take into account one thing, however – my emotions.  Depression, frustration, anger – all of these have compiled over two years of dealing with things.  I’ve had three hospitalizations in two years, and while they didn’t involve an overnight stay, and my mind kept trying to gloss over them as unimportant, I also glossed over the impact they had on me physically.  Every hospitalization involved long uncomfortable hours which would have a backlash on my Fibro.  Each one involved attacking my immune system with whatever was floating around the hospital on that given day, which would cause my immune system to overwork itself and my CFS to flare up.  These things had an impact in long weeks of rest, extra downtime, fogginess, and pain.

Each time I was ill would set my plans back, and then I’d have trouble catching up, so relationships, household matters and personal wishes would take a backseat.  Gradually, I fell further and further behind, until I became really depressed and angry, and couldn’t figure out why.  After all, I have a family who loves me, a good boyfriend, I get to do things that I love as my job, and with what energy I can spare, I try to be active in the community and give something back in return for my good fortune.  What do I have to be angry and depressed about?

Yet, I was, with no end in sight. That’s when I realized that I couldn’t go on like this. Every time I rush forward, trying to catch up, I actually put myself further behind. I try to plow forward with previous plans, hoping to get by with what I’ve got, instead of what I expected to have. In order to do it, I push off other things that I was expecting to get done, and then I get behind in new things. Meanwhile, rushing forward ensures that I spend money on table fees, as well as time and energy, trying to keep up with stuff that doesn’t go well and which causes me even more stress.

Lesson Learned

I still don’t have the website I envisioned, even though I’ve tried to piddle around and make one on my own.  I barely manage to keep up with the blog, and I haven’t made anything new since last year, around this time.  I started a 50th anniversary painting for my parents in MAY and it’s still not complete.  (The story of subject selection and how I actually thought it would be EASIER to paint both flowers and hands in the SAME piece will have to wait for another day.  Yes, I have pictures, and the work is STILL in progress.)

My illness is going to set me back. When that happens, it’s imperative that I don’t rush to play catch-up, or “make do” with what will “suffice”. It’s important that I take a step back and regroup. If that means canceling shows so that I can return even stronger next year, then that’s what I’ll have to do.

I have to accept that if a normal person works a fifteen hour day, and gets a business moving in five years, if I’m only able to devote 1/3 of that time to my business, then it might take me fifteen years to get there. I’m not giving up!

Future Plans

So, to that end, I’ve decided to do the best thing for myself and for the business.  I’m going to do something I should have done last year: Stop. I had pneumonia twice, and my Dad was so ill at the same time that I came out of August exhausted and suffered a collapse at Klingon Feast. I should have given myself a break and didn’t. Lesson learned. This year, I am.

I’m canceling all my shows from now until January.

I’m sorry if this disappoints anyone. I will still be available for purchases and private “shows”. If there’s anything you’d like to see, please contact me and we can exchange pictures, or we can meet locally and I can show you what I have.  If you have any custom pieces you’d like to have made, email me soon, as receiving things during the holidays is difficult, and I won’t take custom orders for Christmas any later than November 1.  I want all the custom orders off my table and into the hands of their respective owners right after Thanksgiving. (That’s a lesson I learned the hard way last year, and which I won’t repeat. A blog post for another time.)

I intend to take this time to finish up some of the major projects that have been holding me back – like studio development, and business planning.  I intend to use this time to focus on a few things that matter to me, such as finishing up my parents’ anniversary present, and working on a game campaign I put on-hold two years ago.  I will use this time to relax, and enjoy my holidays for once, and to hopefully fix the things that are broken, get myself out of this hole, and ahead again.  I will take as much time as I need to get back on-track, and I’m not going to rush it because otherwise, I’ll just keep digging a bigger and bigger hole trying to get myself out.

I’ve realized that I can’t keep spinning my wheels, slinging mud around, and expect this hole not to collapse.  I have to slowly, and carefully build a ladder, or sit and wait for a rope, so that I can get out safely and fill the whole thing in.  And I might have to do it more than once, or suffer the effects of a sinkhole – but do it, I will.

Thank you for your patience during this time!

Sig

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Watch Out for Fairies! – The final blog hop and line reveal for the Build a Line Master Challenge Class 2016!

Watch Out for Fairies!

It’s here – it’s finally here – line reveals from everyone on the blog hop!  I can hardly contain my excitement!

Without further adieu I give you – “Watch Out for Fairies”!!  I’m so excited to share this whimsical line of necklaces, brooches, watches and earrings with you!  For this class, we were only required to make five concept pieces, but I can see myself adding to this series with other pieces as well as offering several of the current pieces in color and crystal combinations for each month’s birthstone.  Furthermore, the design process took a circuitous route which gave me ideas for four other lines: “Fashion Fairies”, “Watch Fobs”, “Blooming Barrettes”, and “Floral Fantasy”.  Meanwhile, my sister wants me to omit the fairies and do a line of just watches, and my Mom cracked a joke that may just turn into a fantasy-themed Halloween line, which could be called “Hanging Around”.  Guess you’ll just have to keep coming back to see what happens next!

First, let me introduce you to “Pocket Fairy” (Necklace)!

PocketFairy_Close PocketFairy_FullPocketFairy_Neck

This endearing fairy is a mixed media, deconstructed pocket watch.  Done in painted raw brass and silver plate, she’s adorned with Swarovski crystals and pearls, and topped with a copper patina bell flower hat.  She’s finished with a fire-polished rose crystal necklace, and a lobster claw clasp.

Our next piece is Silver Leaf Fairy (Brooch)!

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This wonderful fairy has a heart for nature, and a love of shiny things.  She’s done entirely in silver plate, right down to her bell flower hat, and accented with cobalt Swarovski crystal beads.  Her watch is hung low enough to make it easy to lift and examine, but not so low as to interfere with movement.

Another new addition to the family is Garden Fairy (Necklace)!

GardenFairy_Full GardenFairy_Close GardenFairy_Left GardenFairy_Right1

This fairy has fiery nature, and loves flowers!  She’s passionate, but soft and feminine as well.  She’s done in mixed metals of raw and painted brass, silver plate, and bronze plate.  Her wings are hand-painted, and she wears a coppery toned bell flower hat.  Her neck treatment and trim are genuine Japanese Cherry Beads and Swarovski Crystal Pearls.  The entire neck treatment is hand-wired, and embellished with polymer clay roses.

Our final fairies are The Fairy Twins (Earrings)!

FairyTwins

Never separate these two darlings, as their devotion to one another is extraordinary!  Simple wirework enhances these mixed metal earrings of rusty black, brass and chocolate brass.

The Scarab Watch

There is one more piece in this collection of fairies and watches, and it’s the Scarab Watch.  Originally intended to include a fairy centerpiece, the construction made the watch so tall that it would have been impossible to wear without hitting it.  Still, it’s a beautiful piece, and although not strictly part of the line, I wanted to showcase anyways.

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This watch brings together everything that’s dark and light, married with elegance into an Egyptian theme.  The scarab body and wings are raw brass, unadorned except for Paradise Shine Swarovski crystals.  The watch body is silver plate, and connected to the scarab wings with short lengths of gunmetal plated brass rolo chain.  Three lengths of rolo chain surround the wrist and are adorned with black filigree connectors, and a silver-plated and Swarovski crystal magnetic ball closure.

I’m honored to be able to show you these pieces today.  Coming up, I’ll be doing a postmortem of the B’Sue Boutiques Build a Line Challenge.  I’ll be discussing my evolution, both as a jewelry artist and a fine artist, and I’ll be talking about three different work styles I’ve identified during my struggles with the class.  I’ll also be showcasing each piece individually, and discussing the unique challenges that each presented.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the B’Sue Boutiques Build a Line Challenge Master Class blog hop!  I’m grateful to Brenda Sue Landsdowne for putting this class together.  I’ve learned so much in such a short time, and I’m looking forward to putting all the information into practice.

Keep your eyes peeled here, as the future will be filled with Product Spotlights, Component Reviews, Fashion Discussions and even an Art History Corner!  I can’t wait to show you all what I have planned!

As always, please read through to the other blogs on the hop.  It helps to boost our search engine ratings, and my friends have all worked so hard to bring you beautiful things!  Thanks for being with me on a wonderful ride – till next time!

Sig

Brenda Sue Lansdowne Jewelry Making Outside the Box

http://www.bsueboutiques.typepad.com

Diana Buynak Butterfly Emporium Ceramic Studio

http://butterflyemporium.indiemade.com/blog

Irene Hoffman, Heart’s Dezire by Irene

http://heartsdezirebyirene.wordpress.com

Clare Wells Nemeth, Creative Magick

http://www.craftingmagick.blogspot.com

Mary Reckmeyer, Afrayed Not

http://www.afrayedknot.net

Marcia Tuzzolino, Aurora Designs

http://auroradesignsjewelryblog.me

Elizabeth Wilks, Wearable Art by Lizzie

http://wearableartbylizzie.blogspot.com

Jeanette Rose Belmont, One Canvas At A Time

http://www.onecanvasatatime.com

Beth Trubman, The Journey of Jewelry

http://thejourneyofjewelry.blogspot.com

Carole Carlson, Bead Sophisticate

http://beadsophisticate.wordpress.com

Jann Tague, Clever Designs by Jann

http://janntague.wordpress.com

Shari Gardner, SLG Jewelry Designs

http://slgdesigns.wordpress.com

Susan Bolton, Fern’s Place

http://www.fernsplace.org

Chris Kemp, Noodle Pie Bracelets

http://noodlepiebracelets.com

Barbara Kelley, Angels’ Keep

http://angelskeepbandbdotcom.wordpress.com

Susan Bowerman, Woodside Wireworks

http://woodsidewireworks.com/

Pamela Anger, Novegatti Designs

http://novegattidesigns.blogspot.com

Joan Donovan, Hailey’s Cottage

http://haileyscottage.com/

Alison Huie, Ally’s Baubles

http://www.allysbaubles.blogspot.com

Sharon Palac, Sharon’s Jewelry Garden

http://www.sharonsjewelrygarden.blogspot.com

Erica Olmos, Beeb’s Closet

https://beebscloset.wordpress.com

Erin Whitacre, Shattered Time Jewelry

https://shatteredtimejewelry.wordpress.com

Fran Sitton, Sitton Up Front

https://sittonupfront.wordpress.com

Ginger Hammond, Lynn Leigh Designs

https://lynnleighdesigns.wordpress.com

Paula Gaskill, Lovely LaylaBug Jewels

http://www.lovelylaylabugjewels.com/Blog.php

Mary Deis, The Rose Sword

http://theroseswordmdeis.blogspot.com

Renee Webb Allen, Small Stuff Design

http://smallstuffdesign.com

Valerie Tilghman, ArtJewelsandGifts

http://www.artjewelzdimensions.blogspot.com

Chris Cravens, Vintage Cravens

http://christinecravens.blogspot.com

Leslie Carver, Adorn Divine Designs

http://www.adorndivinedesigns.blogspot.com

Donna Parry, JewelryDonna

http://jewelrydonna.typepad.com

Kelly Wymer, Winged Wisdom Enchantments

https://wingedwisdomenchantments.wordpress.com/

Vintage Inspired….Romance Acquired

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When I started this class, I was really excited. I knew I was going to learn a lot, because Brenda Sue Lansdowne has a lot of practical experience to impart. Being something of a perpetual student, my studies have been primarily from formal education, although I’ve supplemented a great deal through reading books, watching YouTube videos and experimentation. I’ve never before had the pleasure of learning directly from someone who has “lived the life”, so to speak, and I knew this class would take me in directions I’d never expected.

I did not expect that I was also going to learn so much about myself.

Who am I?

question

One of the things I’ve struggled with for years, in all forms of expression, has been trying to find my own unique style. As an artist, I want to have a voice through my work. I want my work to not only tell a story, but also to be uniquely recognizable as MINE. I’ve fought for years trying to make my work distinctive. I can’t even explain the frustration I’ve felt – it’s almost been enough to cause me to quit art altogether!

Within the first week, Brenda taught me to look backwards – not forwards. Instead of predicting what I wanted to do or trying to force myself in a particular direction, she had me examine my previous work. It was one of the most valuable lessons I’ve ever learned. She had the entire class take pictures of previous work, and create collages of those pieces. Then she had us examine those collages to determine if there were any similarities. I was sure there were none. I was sure that I didn’t have a style, nothing was similar in what I did, and it was all experimentation. Boy was I wrong!

I discovered trends that pervade not only my jewelry work, but paintings I did in college thirty years ago, as well as the objects I like to surround myself with, and the style I’ve been trying to develop for my company image and show booth. I never saw these trends. I was doing these things subconsciously. Brenda made me SEE them.

My Design Style and Influences

Examining my work made me see the common elements. My artwork and jewelry are full of flowers, vines, leaves, pearly colors, bright metals, graceful wires, soft curves and spiraling shapes and ribbons. I have a love of dangles, and hand-painting. I like to cast resin into shapes or cameos and paint them in various ways – sometimes in abstract styles, others in realistic styles which appear heavily influenced by Classical Greece and Rome. I always believed that my love of abstract styles, graphic art, and natural elements, were at odds with one another. Studying these things together, made me realize that nothing could be further from the truth. The curved lines I prefer in my abstracts, mimic the literal curves of vines, flowers and the human form. I travel back and forth between these style influences because they ARE related: there is no need for me to choose.

CameoAndLumis

Left, hand-painted cameo focal on “Fall Goddess” necklace. Right, hand-painted abstract focals in delicate pendants.

When we shifted our attention to design eras, and various design styles, my eyes really opened. I didn’t know the terms for the things I liked – I only knew that I liked them. I didn’t realize that my love of strong graphic design had similarities with my love of Oriental deco, or why they were related. They are.

Design Influences 6Design Influences 2Design Influences 3Design Influences1Design Influences 5Design Influences 4

When we hit Art Nouveau, I realized all of my jewelry incorporates the graceful elements of the Art Nouveau style, and that over the years, much of my collected jewelry is in that style, as well. When we hit Art Deco, I came to understand why I love strong colors, bold graphics, and yet, I could still love Art Nouveau so much. The transitional period between Art Nouveau and Art Deco, is all about strong graphics combined with graceful lines and floral motifs. This is also when Oriental artwork began to have a heavy influence again, explaining where my love of Oriental style derived.

Design Influences OrientalIn a seemingly-unrelated design shift, I’m also very influenced by Classical Greek and Roman art, by way of the Renaissance. Renaissance (Latin renāscī – which means “to be born again”) was a revival of interest in Classical Greek and Roman art. Again, I had to see with new eyes, or I would’ve missed the elements in common. Sculpture from both periods share a lot in common with Art Nouveau – graceful lines, focus on the human form, leaves and vines. The paintings share something with Art Deco, in its use of rich color and vivid imagery.

Design Influences Classical

All of these design influences are clear in my life, but only in retrospect. My living area is full of Oriental influences, and I love Sumi drawing and Japanese painting. The costumes for my costuming groups are based off organic, flowing Indian garb, with it’s motifs of luminescent colors, flowers and geometrics. For months, when people asked, I told them I wanted my business to evoke Victorian boudoirs. Things you’d find in a high class ladies’ bedroom. Lace, vintage pieces, jewelry, silver, trinkets, candleholders, jewel boxes – these are the things I wanted to incorporate as sales, and also as part of the style of my show booth. At first, none of these things seemed to be related, but they are. All of these styles and items have similar elements, natural subjects, organic lines and epitomize romance.

Costume_cropped

The author, dressed as a Meridian from the Star Trek universe.

This exercise made me realize that my style is romantic, with a little bit of an edge – a little of the unexpected. I tread a line that crosses back and forth between Art Nouveau and Art Deco, and often combines both. It’s right up my alley to mix simple shapes – such as circles and squares – with flowers, leaves and lace. The contrast appeals to me. Early in my artistic career, I painted brilliant ribbons gracefully floating in space, and I attempted mixed-media work which incorporated pieces of lace and flowers into my paintings.

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Left, “Universal Ribbon”. Right, “A Monument to Diversity”. – Gina-Marie Hammer.

The Past… Going Forward

How does all of this translate into my new line? Well, my theme of fairies is quite romantic, and the wings, vines, leaves and flowers are all consistent with the voice I never realized I had. I’ve decided to call my line, “Fashion Fairies”, and each fairy will have a specific story to tell, which should be fairly obvious from these mockups.

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Pink “Pocket Fairy”, Option 1

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Pink “Pocket Fairy”, Option 2

FashionFairy2

“Maple Bedtime Fairy”, Blue (Possibly a watch fob)

FashionFairy3

“Gayle Goth” Fairy (She’s so big, she’ll probably be a necklace)

FashionFairy4

“Geisha Fairy”, very early-stage concept

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love what I’m doing. There’s a continuum between hobbyist, maker and production designer, and I’m still trying to figure out where I fit. I don’t want to be just a hobbyist. I want this to be a life. I love making things, but I’m not interested in the marketing and listing of products, or keeping up with the website. Does that make me solely a designer? I’m not certain if I want to design pieces and have others make them, or if the joy for me is “in the doing”. I may have to try things different ways to find out.

Regardless, I intend to make a living at this, someday; and perhaps even a name for myself. Like Gabrielle Chanel, I’d like to leave a legacy.

Thanks for visiting, and have a look at the other blogs on this hop – everyone is working so hard on their lines!

Brenda Sue Lansdowne Jewelry Making Outside the Box

http://www.bsueboutiques.typepad.com

Diana Buynak Butterfly Emporium Ceramic Studio

http://butterflyemporium.indiemade.com/blog

Irene Hoffman, Heart’s Dezire by Irene

http://heartsdezirebyirene.wordpress.com

Clare Wells Nemeth, Creative Magick

http://www.craftingmagick.blogspot.com

Mary Reckmeyer, Afrayed Not

http://www.afrayedknot.net

Marcia Tuzzolino, Aurora Designs

http://auroradesignsjewelryblog.me

Elizabeth Wilks, Wearable Art by Lizzie

http://wearableartbylizzie.blogspot.com

Jeanette Rose Belmont, One Canvas At A Time

http://www.onecanvasatatime.com

Lyn Joy Reeve, A Journey From Jewels To Jubilation

http://lnreeve00.blogspot.com

Belinda Reed-Ingle, Vogue Rocks

http://voguerocks.blogspot.com

Beth Trubman, The Journey of Jewelry

http://thejourneyofjewelry.blogspot.com

Carole Carlson, Bead Sophisticate

http://beadsophisticate.wordpress.com

Jann Tague, Clever Designs by Jann

http://janntague.wordpress.com

Shari Gardner, SLG Jewelry Designs

http://slgdesigns.wordpress.com

Susan Bolton, Fern’s Place

http://www.fernsplace.org

Chris Kemp, Noodle Pie Bracelets

http://noodlepiebracelets.com

Barbara Kelley, Angels’ Keep

http://angelskeepbandbdotcom.wordpress.com

Susan Bowerman, Woodside Wireworks

http://woodsidewireworks.com/

Pamela Anger, Novegatti Designs

http://novegattidesigns.blogspot.com

Joan Donovan, Hailey’s Cottage

http://haileyscottage.com/

Alison Huie, Ally’s Baubles

http://www.allysbaubles.blogspot.com

Sharon Palac, Sharon’s Jewelry Garden

http://www.sharonsjewelrygarden.blogspot.com

Erica Olmos, Beeb’s Closet

https://beebscloset.wordpress.com

Erin Whitacre, Shattered Time Jewelry

https://shatteredtimejewelry.wordpress.com

Fran Sitton, Sitton Up Front

https://sittonupfront.wordpress.com

Ginger Hammond, Lynn Leigh Designs

https://lynnleighdesigns.wordpress.com

Paula Gaskill, Lovely LaylaBug Jewels

http://www.lovelylaylabugjewels.com/Blog.php

Mary Deis, The Rose Sword

http://theroseswordmdeis.blogspot.com

Renee Webb Allen, Small Stuff Design

http://smallstuffdesign.com

Valerie Tilghman, ArtJewelsandGifts

http://www.artjewelzdimensions.blogspot.com

Chris Cravens, Vintage Cravens

http://christinecravens.blogspot.com

Leslie Carver, Adorn Divine Designs

http://www.adorndivinedesigns.blogspot.com

Donna Parry, JewelryDonna

http://jewelrydonna.typepad.com

Kelly Wymer, Winged Wisdom Enchantments

https://wingedwisdomenchantments.wordpress.com/

A Window Into My World, Build A Line Challenge, Blog Hop #1

Window

A Window Into My World

I’m Gina-Marie Hammer, and I’m honored to be one of 36 participants in the 2016 Build a Line Challenge, hosted by B’Sue Boutiques. I work in paper, paint, thread, yarn and wire, and make everything from toys to small decorative items. Over the years I’ve spent time working as an accountant, a game designer, an advocate for folks with Fibromyalgia and a teacher. I opened my advocacy site Netjera.com (“Art. Games. Life.”) in 2008. (https://www.facebook.com/Netjera-188871454532434/)

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Nonno and Nonna at Mom’s Wedding in 1967

This is my Nonna. Nonna started me with yarn and a needle at age 7. She used to sit me on her lap, where I would watch, fascinated, as she twisted thread around needle, and made something out of nothing. She recognized a hyperactive child with an extensive imagination and a broad sense of curiosity. In her mind, crochet would teach me to sit still and focus – and it worked! I’ve been a crafter ever since, and an artist since age 16.

When I was twelve, I went to a middle school that had a full jewelry workshop. I remember sitting at the lapidary station, trying to facet a raw amethyst. I moved before finishing, but I still HAVE that amethyst – the experience so stuck in my mind! It’s funny how life can come full circle. I’m back to jewelry again!

<I wanted to show you guys a picture of the amethyst, which I just found recently – but now I can’t figure out where I put it!>

I’m lucky enough to have great family; so I live in a shared house where I have a separate room for my studio. It’s cramped, small and alarmingly multi-purpose, but I fill it with things that I love! I’ve always had a love of miniatures and because my Dad is allergic to pets of all kinds, they’ve become something of an audience for me. I put them around my studio and imagine they’re cheering for me. Sometimes, I take them down and use them for inspiration in my work. Of course – not to be denied! – I must often bear the burden of playing with them, as well.

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Various toys and PEZ dispensers.

 

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Movie miniatures and figures, PEZ dispensers, Skinny the Cat and wood carvings from my Grandmother’s collection.

Seeing these photos, it should therefore, come as a huge surprise (to no one!) that I fell in love with these teeny tiny children that B’Sue offers. Aren’t they precious? I’m incredibly fascinated by small details, and every bit is perfect. Tiny fingers, perfect shoes, little pompoms – it’s all there.

pink dollblue doll

When I saw Brenda Sue Landsdowne of B’Sue Boutiques do a video where she placed a tiny doll into a maple leaf as part of a necklace, all I could see were fairy wings. The leaf looked like wings behind the doll, and wouldn’t it be SO sweet if I could make a selection of fairies using the dolls and various leaves, wings and other pieces? When I found out that B’Sue Boutiques was hosting a master-level class, called the Build-a-Line Challenge, I knew exactly what I was going to do! I’ve purchased TEN of those little dolls, and every bit and piece I could find that looked like a wing. It’s going to be an adventure pulling it all together! At the end of the class, I’m hoping to have at least five pieces completed.

In 2013 I decided that I wanted to open my own crafting business. I started in crochet, where it all began. In the process of researching an unrelated project, I found photo jewelry and got hooked through a backdoor. Some of my early pieces use photo jewelry construction to create simple, yet pretty pendants.

Chiyogami75CollageI really enjoy making these, and I return to them often. From them, I’ve evolved a line of hand-painted cabochons, made in a similar way. I went from that to trying to include those cabochons in other pieces, using more than pre-made bezels. It was a year of slow, cautious progress, until I found Brenda Sue and her video tutorials. Since then, my work has taken a serious leap forward!

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Collage_WinterSnowflakeBracelet_NoFUFI have a love of dangles, shiny metals, graceful vines leaves and flowers, painted, iridescent surfaces, and delicate wire work. My love of crochet fits in perfectly! As a matter of fact, everything I’ve learned in other fields is useful in jewelry making!

I’m hoping my line, which is unnamed at present but which may be called “Tiny Fairies”, will be a marriage of whimsical, fantasy themes with romantic, Art Nouveau styling. I’m currently at the drawing board, pulling things together in Photoshop, and working with several designs.

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Stay tuned for more development, and in-progress work reports and pictures! We’ll have another blog hop on Friday, the 26th of February, and our last on Friday, April 1st. Do me a favor and give a little love to my friends below? They’re working hard to make pretty stuff as well, and our sponsor B’Sue Boutiques deserves some major kudos for putting this all together – Brenda Sue has great stuff on her site! Give her a look!

Brenda Sue Lansdowne Jewelry Making Outside the Box

http://www.bsueboutiques.typepad.com

Diana Buynak Butterfly Emporium Ceramic Studio

http://butterflyemporium.indiemade.com/blog

 

Irene Hoffman, Heart’s Dezire by Irene

http://heartsdezirebyirene.wordpress.com

 

Clare Wells Nemeth, Creative Magick

http://www.craftingmagick.blogspot.com

 

Mary Reckmeyer, Afrayed Not

http://www.afrayedknot.net

 

Marcia Tuzzolino, Aurora Designs

http://auroradesignsjewelryblog.me

 

Elizabeth Wilks, Wearable Art by Lizzie

http://wearableartbylizzie.blogspot.com

 

Jeanette Rose Belmont, One Canvas At A Time

http://www.onecanvasatatime.com

 

Lyn Joy Reeve, A Journey From Jewels To Jubilation

http://lnreeve00.blogspot.com

 

Belinda Reed-Ingle, Vogue Rocks

http://voguerocks.blogspot.com

 

Beth Trubman, The Journey of Jewelry

http://thejourneyofjewelry.blogspot.com

 

Carole Carlson, Bead Sophisticate

http://beadsophisticate.wordpress.com

 

Jann Tague, Clever Designs by Jann

http://janntague.wordpress.com

 

Shari Gardner, SLG Jewelry Designs

http://slgdesigns.wordpress.com

 

Susan Bolton, Fern’s Place

http://www.fernsplace.org

 

Chris Kemp, Noodle Pie Bracelets

http://noodlepiebracelets.com

 

Barbara Kelley, Angels’ Keep

http://angelskeepbandbdotcom.wordpress.com

 

Susan Bowerman, Woodside Wireworks

http://woodsidewireworks.com/

 

Pamela Anger, Novegatti Designs

http://novegattidesigns.blogspot.com

 

Joan Donovan, Hailey’s Cottage

http://haileyscottage.com/

 

Alison Huie, Ally’s Baubles

http://www.allysbaubles.blogspot.com

 

Sharon Palac, Sharon’s Jewelry Garden

http://www.sharonsjewelrygarden.blogspot.com

 

Erica Olmos, Beeb’s Closet

https://beebscloset.wordpress.com

 

Erin Whitacre, Shattered Time Jewelry

https://shatteredtimejewelry.wordpress.com

 

Fran Sitton, Sitton Up Front

https://sittonupfront.wordpress.com

 

Ginger Hammond, Lynn Leigh Designs

https://lynnleighdesigns.wordpress.com

 

Paula Gaskill, Lovely LaylaBug Jewels

http://www.lovelylaylabugjewels.com/Blog.php

 

Mary Deis, The Rose Sword

http://theroseswordmdeis.blogspot.com

 

Renee Webb Allen, Small Stuff Design

http://smallstuffdesign.com

 

Valerie Tilghman, ArtJewelsandGifts

http://www.artjewelzdimensions.blogspot.com

 

Chris Cravens, Vintage Cravens

http://christinecravens.blogspot.com

 

Leslie Carver, Adorn Divine Designs

http://www.adorndivinedesigns.blogspot.com

 

Donna Parry, JewelryDonna

http://jewelrydonna.typepad.com

 

Kelly Wymer, Winged Wisdom Enchantments

https://wingedwisdomenchantments.wordpress.com/

 

Who Am I, and Why Do I Blog?

TestAs a person, asking me why I blog is sort of like asking me why I have skin. Blogging is a huge part of me because journaling is such a huge part of me because writing is such a tremendous part of me. Do we see a pattern here? I both do and do not keep a personal blog. When I write about personal feelings and bad days and upcoming events, and I record historical happenings, I tend to do all that in a hardbound journal where I can doodle, and while away the hours without paying much attention. When I blog, it’s usually with a purpose, so even my personal blog – which is all about living with Fibromyalgia – has a purpose.

If you’re asking me why I’m *here* – why *this* blog – why *now*? I’m not sure I have an answer to that yet. This is a business blog.  I started my business accidentally. It evolved out of all different kinds of things that I’ve explored, which have taken root in my heart. I know that I need a blog, but as a jeweler and artist, I’m not really sure what to *do* with it. Right now, it has no focus.

If I were a materials supplier, my blog could be full of featured products and tutorials, but as an artist, I don’t necessarily want to focus in that direction.  I’d really like to use this blog to distinguish my company and products.  I’m just not entirely sure how to do that.

Why Community Involvement is Good for Business

IMG_4827I recommend that no matter how busy you are, you make time to get involved in your local community. Most people consider big charities as a worthy recipient for their time and money, but community involvement is equally important. This is where *you* live, after all. Helping to make it a safer, more beautiful, brighter and caring place benefits you directly.

Did you realize, however, that being involved in your local community can also be an invaluable source of networking and free marketing for your business? When I began volunteering at the Garden Club at Palm Coast, I did not. As an individual, the opportunity to volunteer fills an empty spot inside of you. Knowing that you are doing something to benefit where you live, or a specific cause, can be a great source of pride. I firmly believe that no matter how bad off we think we are, we always have something to give, and that giving it benefits ourselves as well as others.

Which Charity Should You Pick?

The charity you select can be anything. You might sponsor the Boy Scouts so that their after-school programs are funded and young men continue to have a place to go. Or you might volunteer at an animal shelter, helping after-hours to find homes for many of the animals held there. Libraries are always looking for volunteers, and are involved heavily with other community groups.  If you enjoy books, the library might be a good beginning.  You could patrol streets and pick up trash on weekends, help clean up the beaches in your area, or volunteer at a newspaper covering community news. You might even decide to join a group that isn’t a charity – like a local social club.  All of these things help to enrich your life, and the lives of so many others.

Why Get Involved?

As a business, volunteering can be priceless. The opportunities for networking are extensive. When you volunteer, people get to know you. They see how hard you work, they see the passion inside of you, and they appreciate what you can give – whatever it is. Over time, they become familiar with you as a person, and as a business. Volunteers come from all walks of life, and when another volunteer needs help with something, they’re more likely to think of someone they know through the community. Further, when your group has fund-raising events and needs vendors, or other types of paid support, who do you think they will go to?

Shortly after becoming a member of the Garden Club at Palm Coast, I was offered the opportunity to vend at their Spring Expo. I was thrilled at the opportunity, and was told that they were looking to make a permanent list of reliable vendors. Not only would they do the Spring Expo, but also smaller events. Since then, I’ve sold my pieces at a monthly meeting, participated in the District VI meeting as a vendor, and I have a third event lined up for a sister club in February. That’s four sales opportunities from one club. Through my involvement with a social club – Palm Coast Game Night – I’ve also shown my work at parties hosted by individual members. I can credit most of my sales to these two clubs. If a member didn’t buy a piece, they were directly responsible for putting me in a position where someone else would see me, and either purchase a piece or ask me to work another event.

There are also secondary benefits to volunteering which should never be overlooked. Since becoming a member I’ve met hairdressers, printers, lawyers, mathematicians, engineers – you name it. If I have a legal question, I’m far more likely to go to the lawyer in our group, than a stranger I don’t know. If I need a haircut, or I’m looking to branch into hair accessories, I’ll go to the hairdresser who’s a member of our group. In this way, it’s a benefit for everyone. I get services from people I trust, and they get business as well.

All of this proves that community involvement should be an important part of your strategy for living. The spiritual benefits are innumerable, and should never be ignored. Trust me: I’m not discounting the pride or happiness you’ll get from helping out. I feel it! However, most people overlook the business benefits of community involvement.  Now, you’re armed with all the knowledge you need to make a wise decision.


The Garden Club at Palm Coast handles memorials and plantings around Palm Coast, FL, teaches community members about native plantings and ecology in the area, and sponsors a scholarship fund to help the local area high school. Once a year, they have a Spring Expo, which features sales of many garden-related items, booths from outside vendors and food, as well as recognizing a young artist for the year through their poster contest. The second Monday of each month, they host a general meeting and luncheon at the Extension Office in Bunnell. These meetings cover a range of topics such as low-maintenance plants, herb gardening, environmental concerns such as water conservation, or purely aesthetic topics such as flower arranging. They are entirely funded through member contributions, donations and time.

Palm Coast Game Night is a social group based out of Palm Coast, FL.  Individuals host a variety of game-related events at member houses or various public locations around town. Sometimes events are themed to a particular holiday, but all revolve around food, fellowship and fun.  Games of all kinds abound.

My Experience with the Prince of Peace 34th Annual Craft Fair

TestI was really excited when I head about the Prince of Peace Craft Fair in Ormond Beach.  It has a long  history of success – this will be its 34th year! – and is fairly large, with over 50 vendors.  I felt that it would be a good fit for my growing business, and I had reason to believe I would do well there.  Unfortunately, from start-to-finish, this event was a complete fiasco.  It was poorly advertised, difficult to book and completely mismanaged.

It began in September.  A friend found the advertisement in the Penny Saver, and brought it to my attention.  I immediately emailed the included contact, trying to book a table.  After a week of waiting for an email response, I emailed again.  Another week passed.  This time, my only response was a few words, “Having trouble with email.  Call me.”  No number.  I was lucky I keep everything and still had the ad clipping.

I called the next day, and was informed that the event was booked, but that there was a waiting list.  There had been a cancellation, and the person ahead of me had already been given a table, so the organizer felt confident that I would be able to get a table.  She was also going to talk to them about adding more tables, so the chances would be better than 75%.  She would call me if something opened up.

I tentatively began to prepare for the event by laying in extra supplies, and creating more products.  I had another event the same week – The District VI Meeting for the Garden Club at Palm Coast.  (Review to follow.)  I knew it would be tight planning two events close together, but the Garden Club event was small and intimate – very different from the big event at Prince of Peace – so I felt fairly confident I could make pieces which overlapped both events, and I wouldn’t be too tired to manage them both.

I received the phone call the second week of October.  I was in!  I mailed in my check with just a week to go before the event, and started doubling up products, in preparation for what would be the biggest event I’d done.  I pulled many sleepless nights last week, and went to the Garden Club event on 2.5 hours of sleep, in order to have enough products for both.

Yesterday, I was informed – in a rather unprofessional manner – that the organizer had “overbooked the event” and didn’t “have a table for” me.  I invested so much time and money into products that I was flabbergasted.  Could she do this to me?  Keep me dangling on the hook and then cancel me last minute?  Whether it’s legal, or possible, she did.  I’m now waiting for my booth check to be returned, and I’m hoping I’ll receive it in a timely fashion – but considering the slipshod manner in which this event was handled, I’m really worried.

Now, I’m very torn.  I really thought this event, because of its size and longevity would be a winner.  Should I attempt to get into this event again next year, hoping that if I try early enough I can manage a table?  Or should I snub this event because of how I was treated?  I’m extremely disappointed in the organizer of this event, and the event in general, so I’m not sure what to do.

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