Friday, July 20, 2012


'When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.'

   I have always thought this was a silly thing to say. I mean, what else would you do with a lemon?!?

   However, through out the past week this phrase kept running through my head. Over and over. In quite possibly the most annoying way. This week I've had several things I thought were certain to happen, but did not.  A week's worth of lemons. A huge BAG of lemons, you could say.
   During a self hosted pity party (a few invites were sent, but everyone declined), I found myself strolling with my son through Von's .... the most incredible bead store I've ever set eyes on... and older woman stopped and engaged me in conversation:

   "May I asked just what you are planning to do with all those different beads?" she asked.
   "Well," I said, "the pearls are for wedding party gifts that will have a personalized disc hanging at the end for each bridesmaid...these crystals will be threaded within leather bands for a bracelet...the colorful, big beads are for kids book bag tags..."
   "Oh my!!!" she squealed.  "I tell ya, creativity is just something you either have or you don't!"
   "Uh. Well.  I disagree.  I'm an art teacher and I think if things are made simple enough to understand, anyone can learn to be creative.  Everyone has it in them, some just need more guidance than others on how to see it and use it." I said.
    She reached out and touched my arm.
   "Oh honey!  Your kids are soooo lucky to have you as a mom! You just keep doing what it is you are doing!" she said.
    Just then my son looked up at me with a smile beaming across his face and he hugged my leg. 

   And that's when I realized a tall, cold glass of freshly squeezed lemonade can make everything in life better.  I just needed that cup of sugar in the form of a stranger's kind words.  

   I'll have mine with an umbrella....for the sake of creativity. 

Life is what you make it.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Project Redo

This jewelry endevor has given me many opportunities that I will cherish. 
A necklace created for a new mom, a bracelet designed by friends for a cancer survivor, a bracelet from a husband for his wife to honor their family....all some of my top favorites.

But recently I was asked to take an existing bracelet and give it a redo. 
And it easily made the top five favorite creations.
This bracelet was a gift honoring her children.  It was beautiful and simple.  But the customer wanted to add some honor to it as well as funk-tify it a bit.  And THAT was right up my alley.

With a little designing here and consultation there....shaaa-zaaaam!

   ....anniversary and pearl....                .....turquoise briolette.....

                   ....children.....                        ...birthstones and stamped disc...

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Simple and Versatile

     I would definitely not think of myself as a fashion forward gal.  Shoot, I'm thankful for days when I can style my hair and add a dab of makeup (major bonus if it's done in peace and quiet).  I go for comfort.  And if some sort of style falls into that comfort, then I give myself a pat-on-the-back and make sure to make some sort of public appearance outside the house.  So some days I find it humorous that I design and create jewelry because I literally wear the same three earrings and two necklaces throughout the week. 

     Nothing crazy or funky.  In fact they are very simple.  And versatile.

     So while browsing Pinterest one evening, I came across a pin that had these great fashionable leather wrapped bracelets.   The incredible site Rings&Things showed a great tutorial. 

     And... well... I was addicted. So many reasons to love these popular bracelets, but my numero uno reason is because they are simple. And versatile.  They go with everything! You can wear them solo, stack them, and my favorite....personalize them with handstamped discs.  Seriously.  They go with yoga pants or the little black dress.  So incredibly comfortable. 

Availble on Etsy
Available on Etsy

And then I broke into my bead stash and got a little crazy...
Topaz Czech single wrap (not yet listed on Etsy)
Blue-Green single wrap (not yet listed on Etsy)

I even took this project on a recent vacation and sat on the floor of our cabin
while the kids played the game of LIFE...
Double wrap Czech crystals

Monday, June 4, 2012

Jewelry Clean-up

I have customers ask me all the time...
"What is the best way to clean my jewelry?" 

So here is my advice:
1) You need to bathe, but your jewelry does not.  Take it off before you shower/bath.

2) Keep your jewelry stored in a clean, dry place. 
Your bathroom sees a great deal of steam (which causes your fine metal to tarnish)
so somewhere outside the bathroom is best for storage.

3) Clean and polish when needed. 

I found this cleaning solution the other day at the jewelry department at Walmart.
(For the record, I prefer Target over Walmart anyday, but our local store was out of jewelry cleaners)
It was super cheap...$10...comes with a cleaner (tray and brush)
and two polishing cloths (one silver/ one gold).
I love the dip tray because is literally mess-free.  And the brush helps get into small, tight crevices. 
It's a very easy to use kit.  Make sure to follow the step by step directions
and USE LUKEWARM WATER to rinse after cleaning. 
(You don't want the cleaner to stay on your metals.) 

Here is a pair of my handcrafted Triple Hoop Earrings that were in need of some attention:
Here is my mother-of-pearl wire wrapped ring that could use some love:

This is my personalized Mother's Domed Necklace that has seen better days:

I hope these tips help! 

Monday, April 30, 2012

What you see if what you get

Customers are always saying:
"This piece looks so better than the picture!"

There are two ways I take this.....
a) I'm thrilled they are happy with the piece!
b) What the heck did I do wrong with the photograph???

Recently I spent a good week researching, studying, comparing, and experimenting jewelry photographs.  I even dreamt about it.   Article after article referred to using white as a background.  I hate white.  Hate it.  Except on bedsheets and towels.  I'm a color girl.  I need color.  It makes me happy.  White does not.  So I began waging a war with my camera.  I was determined to make this work. 

One day, after my eyes were stinging and my patience was fried, I told my CFO (aka my hubby) that I needed to fork out invest in a macro lens for my camera.  Just a small $500 purchase.  I'm not sure he spoke coherently for a few minutes before I could make out something about 'finding a plan B'. 

My head was swimming with information and I could no longer think clearly.  I cautiously approached our local camera shop where I was certain they would convince me to unload my savings on equipment.  I.  Was.  Shocked.  After a very information conversation with a salesperson, I walked out with a $20 lens hood and loads of easy and cheap techniques.  No $500 lens.  No $70 light box.  

Hopefully now my customers will feel like what they see if what they get. 

You can find this particular pair on my Etsy site!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My Haven

This is my workspace.  My studio.  My haven.  Mine, mine, all MINE.  I love this spot.  I set it up by our front window due to the great lighting that floods thru it all day.  I can watch for customers, my kids at play, or just the general goings on of the cul-da-sac.  My  kids know not to mess with 'Mommy's stuff' for fear of inviting the mean Mommy voice to fill their ears.  But occasionally my youngest will cross it's threshold with his sticky three-year-old fingers.  But let's be honest, he's too darn cute to get upset with so I usually let it slide as I gently shuffle him o-u-t.

I also love this spot because of everything that surrounds it.  Almost everything has a special story.

My main work desk is the library desk of my grandparents.  I've been told that it's a antique, over a hundred years old.  All I know is it is filled with memories of my grandparents who encouraged me more than anyone to continue with my talents for the arts.  Their spirit is soak into the wood, in the drawers, and on it's shelves.  It may wobble and creak as I stamp, but it holds strong.  Every time I sit at it I am wrapped in it's warmth of their memory and love.

The organizer that keeps me sane belonged to my father.  It held his nails, screws, and bolts.  He was an organizing king.  (He use to roll each pair of socks and keep them lined in his dresser. Seriously. Lined up across the drawer. In a row.)  He was an artist as well.  A woodworker.  And a welder.  The smell of freshly cut wood still brings me to a halt for a moment to take it in.  His garage was so organized that even if you used a tool and put it back in it's place, he'd know it had left it spot for a period of time.  It's like he could smell the shift of movement that had taken place. 

I have saved every 'thank you' card I've received and have them each on display to remind me that there is in fact someone on the other end of my work.  So often I finish a product, wrap it up, hand it off to my mailman and wonder where it ended up.  Like a letter sent out to sea.  Did it fit?  Is it worn everyday or just for special occasions?  Will I see it again adorning the neck of an anonymous shopper in the grocery? Do they love it as much as I did?  Yeah, I didn't actually give birth to it but sometimes it feels similar.  Just minus the pain.


I love this space so much that I often will NOT sit down in it if I know that Mommy duty will be calling shortly.  I don't like to tease my creativity like that.  It's my sacred place.  My art cave.   MINE.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Beginning

Today begins a new path in this journey....the addition of this blog. 

I'm not sure what I think of it all yet. 

I'm in design heaven as I tweak, drag, change, and remove all the fun features. 

But I'm not sure quite how to use it to sell my wears (which is the point). 

Late last night I was up looking thru blogs and I found myself instantly connecting to bloggers, especially the SAHMs. I laughed...cried...and bonded.  I found myself thrusted into their world as I read their own words which made me want to check out their Etsy stores...and because I'd spend time in their virtual blogging sphere, I felt like I knew them well enough to possibly purchase from them.  Ahhh, the power of the blog.  So we'll see.  I plan to use it as another form of advertisement, a source of information, and a place to connect. 

If nothing else it will be a place where I can send my words into the world wide web to see what they can do.  And if you know me, you know I love a challenge.