Wednesday, December 17, 2008

earrings for sale on my etsy site I've uploaded a mess of earrings as one listing on Etsy. Great for last minute gifts and stocking stuffers, these babies can be sent out quickly for your gifting. The prices are unbeatable, too!Check out my listing for the details!

While playing around with my beads or cleaning my table, sometimes I get on a roll. Same thing happens when I just decide to clean up or reorganize a small portion of a countertop -- pretty soon I'm up to my eyeballs. This d=beading session was no exception. I had lots of fun creating sassy little doo-dads of every color, and finding the perfect colored beads to complement the focal beads. Fun, Fun, FUN!!

If you have any questions on any listing, please convo me on Etsy. I'm online all the time!

Monday, December 15, 2008

It's all about the Coffee!!

volleyball coffee corset A couple months ago, I was looking for gifts for my daughters' volleyball coaches for our end-of-the-season awards receptiona and party. I picked out some cute little coffee cozies by Etsy seller Jenngee, and contacted her about a custom order using volleyball fabric. She was happy to accomodate my request! And, even better, the "coffee corsets", as she calls them, came out PERFECT!! I had such a pleasant experience dealer with her that I thought I'd do a feature with her on my blog. She graciously accepted my offer, and since the party STILL has not happened, I thought I'd sneak this feature in before Christmas, since there's probably more than a couple people who still need gifts for those on their holiday lists.

So, Jenn...How'd you get started making coffee corsets, of all things?

*** I drink coffee. Lots of coffee. Last summer I was reading Quilting Arts magazine and came across an article about making fabric coffee cuffs. I decided to make one of my own using their instructions, but I was unhappy with the "bump" that was formed at the seam. On my sewing table I happened to have a recently purchased bag of eyelets and the idea of lacing up the cuff popped into my head. After many different trials (and errors) I created my own unique product and I named it the Coffee Corset!

Is this a full time or part-time endeavor, and what did you do previously?
coffee corset pink and black
*** I am a full time employee at a major university where I am a math nerd and computer geek. Luckily, my job is almost entirely online so I can fit it my part-time obsession with sewing pretty easily.

You have quite a few sales (1102!) in a year-and-a-half. That's phenomenal. To what do you attribute this? How do you market your business?

*** The sales I've gotten through Etsy have amazed me. While I knew I had something fun and unique, I had no idea I'd get this type of response! I attribute my initial success to simply having a unique product that people seemed to want - I did very little advertising for the first 4-5 months that I was selling online. Word of mouth is still, by far, my best marketing strategy. I have tags in every corset so that when someone asks a buyer where they got their corset they always have the website address of my shop right inside their sleeve. Repeat business is extremely important as well and I attribute about 1/4 of my current monthly sales to buyers who have previously shopped with me before. I think that providing excellent customer service, a product that is superbly well made, and an attempt to constantly introduce new/unique styles is the reason people keep coming back for me. As for advertising, I currently try to keep it fairly simple (I twitter, blog, post in the forum! s, use myspace, etc.) and I still rely heavily on word of mouth advertising.

What advice would you give a new Etsy seller trying to establish themselves?

***Post in the Etsy forums! Most of my first sales came from participating in the forums. People can't buy from you if they don't know that you exist. Also, take steps to get non-Etsy people into your shop. For me that meant giving out free/cheap samples to my friends and family who did lots of on-the-ground advertising for me just by using my product. Keep looking for new and fun ways to advertise. You don't have to spend a lot of money (or any money!) if you are creative and willing to put in some effort. Lastly, don't be discouraged if you don't start selling right away. Keep making small improvements to your product, pictures, listings, etc. and eventually the sales will come.
Check out Jenn's other Etsy sites:

...and her blog, for organziational tips for ADD crafters like me (a must-read!!):

I'm afraid now I have craft-room envy. I'm now planning a second floor on my house...and Jenn, I think your dogs would just loooove a zipline for those personal moments in the back yard. or you could litterbox train them...

So now I'm off for my first pot of coffee for today. Thanks for the interview, Jenn! I'll be back for more of those corsets!

Monday, December 8, 2008

20% off sale! Save big for Christmas!

jewelry sale I guess I'm jumping on the bandwagon in the middle of the parade, or maybe I'm just overflowing with Christmas Spirit. Starting today I'm offering 20% off my entire store inventory! Since I have 49 listings, I'll create an adjusted listing for each buyer who contacts me prior to the sale. AND, as an added bonus, whoever mentions my blog in the "notes to seller" section will receive an additional gift! Just enter "blogger" and you'll receive a surprise with your purchase.

Since it's getting so close to Christmas, if you'd like, I'll send your gift directly to it's destination, and include a card with your name on it. I'll send your free gift to your address. To accomplish this, put the giftee's address in the notes to seller section.

New Necklace Set!!

Just going up on Etsy is this Sesame Jasper set. This is an unusual stone, which at first glance looks nothing like my previous sesame jasper posting, but when you look closely, thebrown sesame jasper with bronzite stones are quite similar, with the exception of the color. These stones are gorgeous, and are set off perfectly with the Bronzite. Alternating black glass beads antique finish brass spacers and a black onyx focal bead in the bail makes the whole design just pop! It should be listed on Etsy tomorrobeautiful brwon sesame jasper with bronzitew morning.

From Auntie's Beads....

Bronzite gemstone beads have a lot of personality. This stone is found deep beneath the surface of the Earth and contains iron. The color of Bronzite is either brown or sometimes green. Bronzite has a submetallic luster and the sparkles of bronze light are called shiller.

Luster is right. These beads have a tiger-eye-like shimmer, but deeper color, which gives them depth. They are uniquely drilled, and create an interesting look when strung together. This set has a unique style for ladies who don't want to look like the crowd.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

"Sell more of your jewelry by learning..."

"Sell more of your jewelry by learning the SECRETS to understanding and connecting with buyers of artisan jewelry!"

David Weiman at Marketing is offering $10 off a 1 year subscription to Jewelry Selling Insights, the #1 newsletter for jewelry makers. I've read through some of his publications, and just the free hints alone have revolutionized the way I look at selling jewelry, even in a tough market like we're experiencing today. I'm purchasing a subscription for myself for Christmas, and I encourage you to do so, as well. Just enter coupon code JS-10 on the checkout page and click "Apply."

Instead of waiting for improvements in the jewelry market, maybe we need to change the way we approach it. David Weiman's postive "can-do" attitude is infectious, and will give you the encouragement and tools you need to jumpstart or revive your dormant customer base.

Here's to a happy, healthy and successful New Year!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I've been featured!!

Big-time thanks goes to Rose Works Jewelry for featuring my Tree of Life Pendant (and earrings) on her "Treasury blog." (link)
Her post included 5 different artists currently eaturing trees in their product line.

I'm awed when I think about the caliber of talent found at Etsy. Rose Works is no exception. In addition to creating great jewelry that I would be pleased to wear myself, she has a great blog and a great sense of humor. Check out her other posts while you're veiwing her treasury. I especially liked the "Star Wars" post. My husband and I are fans, too. I never admitted that before I met him...

Here's MY favorite piece from Rose Works' shop: (pictured)
She calls it Brave Heroine Necklace. Pretty, isn't it?
Thanks, Rose Works!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"Tree of Life" Listings, up now!

tree of life pendant jewelry with fancy jasper (From Wikipedia:) A "tree of life" is a mystical concept, a metaphor for common descent or a motif in various world theologies, mythologies and philosophies. This concept has lent itself also to be used in science and other areas.

The Tree of Life is mentioned in the Book of Genesis, in which it has the potential to grant immortality to Adam and Eve, in Proverbs where it's a simile for a blessing. Etz Chaim, Hebrew for "Tree of Life", is a common term used in Judaism. The expression, found in the Book of Proverbs, is figuratively applied to the Torah itself.

Trees are prevalent in literature, and real life, as well. In J.R.R.Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy, "The White Tree of Gondor stood as a symbol of Gondor in the Court of the Fountain in Minas Tirith. The White Tree also appears as a motif upon Gondor's flag." (from Wiki entertainment, here.) In Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series features "Avendesora, "a Tree of Life. In some parts of the Caribbean, coconut trees are given the title of "tree of tree of life pendant fancy jasper jewelrylife", as they can produce everything needed for short/medium term survival. The West African Moringa oleifera tree is regarded as a "tree of life" or "miracle tree" by some because it is arguably the most nutritious source of plant-derived food discovered on the planet. Modern scientists and some missionary groups have considered the plant as a possible solution for the treatment of severe malnutrition and aid for those with HIV/AIDS. (also from Wikipedia, here)

I'm not a tree-hugger. I do however, appreciate the beauty and value of trees. Since I was a little girl, I've loved to travel in the fall to see the changing leaves, and love to see the bare branches of trees covered with snow. For me, the seasons marked by the changes of the trees are a beautiful way to mark the passage of time, and life.
tree of life jewelry by
These were my thoughts as I pondered making jewelry that symbolized the Trees of Life, and celebrated their contribution to mankind. I hope you'll enjoy these creations as much as I've enjoyed creating them.
In these sets, I used fancy jasper chips and wired them to copper wire with anti-tarnish brass wire. Copper and 14kt GP beads are alternated by silver spacers, and paired with fancy jasper beads and blocks. The earrings for the necklace set feature tiny 3/4" trees of life created with the same materials, and matching bead segments.
The bracelet set features a smaller tree wired to strands of fancy jasper, copper, gold and silver, and has a hand-made wire toggle clasp. The earrings have "sprigs" of fancy jasper dangling from segments of fancy jasper beads and highlighted by copper, gold and silver.
From time to time I'll revisit the "tree of life" idea. The beauty I've found in nature, expressed by the variety of stones and metals available, would be hard to suppress.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Open, Sesame!

mint green kiwi or sesame jasper with onyx and silver by laurastaley.etsy.comThis piece was made from Sesame Jasper, black onyx, and silver. My oldest daughter loves this stone. The beads look like mint chocolate chip ice cream. Really! My younger daughter made a necklace, bracelet and earring set for her older sister for her 16th birthday. I borrow it all the time. It looks really nice with teal and black, or cool greens. The stone is truly stunning.

kiwi or sesame jasper with onyx by
One of the best things about making jewelry is being able to work with such beautiful materials. My favorite is semi-precious stone. I am constantly amazed at the variety of stones and their beauty. What a statement as to the glory and wonder of God's creation.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Another custom order finished!!

millifiori beads with czech glass with AB handwired brass spacers three-strand I'm so happy about this particular bracelet. It's going to a lady for whom these beads have special meaning, and I enjoyed putting it together for her. It features millifiori glass, AB czech glass, faceted crystal saucers, and hand-made wire-wrapped spacers of anti-tarnish brass. It's always so satisfying to present something to someone, and know that it means more to them than just any piece of jewelry. Hat's off to you, Tina! Best Wishes, too. I hope you really enjoy it.

I've been a busy little critter around here. I finished a Sesame Jasper piece this morning, and will post it tomorrow.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Fossilized coral -- with tiger-eye and carnelian!

fossilized coral with carnelian tiger eye onyx and silver wire wrap by
The distributor had this labeled as "flower stone." How odd. It's really fossilized coral, and it's gorgeous, isn't it? The cabochon was free-form wire-wrapped in silver, and wired onto a beaded necklace, strung with carnelian, tiger eye and silver spacers. I'm very excited about this piece! I have another piece of coral, already wire-wrapped, ready to go, and will finish it in a few days. The earrings have the same square coral pillow beads, tiger eye, and carnelian. Eye-popping, and elegant.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

It's so nice to be noticed...

I just got back from the bank, Vystar Credit Union, where I had to get some forms notarized for the upcoming club volleyball season. My kids play with JJVA, Jacksonville Juniors Volleyball Assoc., and it's time to get the season tryouts up and going. I really like our bank. They have everything we need, and the people are very, very helpful. They must really screen their employees, because we've always had a great experience there. Anyway, I decided to show my latest necklace set, because I'd bought a new shirt this week that matched the blue foil-lined glass I used perfectly. It caused quite a stir! I was so pleased! The ladies there were so complimentary and so excited about it. I hope that's the feeling it creates wherever it is viewed. I'd like it to find a new home, and soon! The set is made with an adorable starfish, smaller than the one my daughter used in her necklace. It's accented with Topaz foil-lined glass and Ruby-colored beads with beautiful gold accents swirled all around. I paired them with Goldstone, it's become a trend in my shop recently, and faceted crystal globes with AB. Silver Spacers give it even more sparkle. I really like the way it's turned out! I figured I'd lost the pics of the set here, since I hadn't had the chance to list it yet. It's the weekend, prime time for listing, and I should be putting it up, but I'm going out to play "touchdowns" with my two year old instead. No regrets.

Here's another custom creation I just finished. It was an alchemy order (for those of you who have never bid on creating a custom order through Etsy, I highly recommend it) and I bid wayyyy to low for what I eventually made, but this idea just developed until the point that I'd spent wayyyy to much time on it. Oh Well, good blog fodder. At least I'll have a posting out of it. I hope the customer likes it as much as I do. This one is made with pressed glass lady bugs, scarlet-red coral, and black glass beads. The green leaves are also pressed glass, leaves and droplets, and "e" beads. The black bands are strung on elastic, so though the bracelet is a nice 7 1/2", it has no clasp and has a snug cuff-like fit. I have more beads like this, and could do another one, similar to it, if requested. The order did not include earrings, but I have some ideas on how to make a pair that would complement.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Build a bear giveaway!

AAAWWWwwwwww, Isn't this little guy CUTE? My friend Jacqueline, at Blessings Abound, is giving away a $10 gift card to Build-A-Bear on her blog.

My kids have enjoyed Build-A-Bear ever since they opened at the Avenues Mall here in Jacksonville. What a great program! We had a birthday party there, once. My daughter absolutely loved it.

One thing I like best about the snugglies at Build-A-Bear, besides their cuteness, is the softness of their plush. These animals are the highest quality I've seen anywhere, and the craftsmanship is excellent. When I used to work in retail gift shops, I became very familiar with the different brands of stuffed animals. Even the least expensive $10 bear at Build-A-Bear is one that will last a lifetime.

So head on over to Blessings Abound, and enter her contest. Imagine the delight of the loved one in your life who gets to take a trip to the Build-A-Bear workshop! I'm already planning to take my 2 year old, even if I don't win. It's just time to get him a lifetime little friend.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

New Listing! Love Sponge!!

New Listing! Just finished today, this bracelet set is made of hand-wired links, alternating, of denim-blue sponge coral, and marbled white/grey howlite; and ebony lava rocks are tiny pendants that swing from each ad joining link, providing playful swing and movement. The 8" (20cm) bracelet set includes a 14" (35cm) extender with matching toggle clasp that can make the bracelet into necklace, or be worn as an additional bracelet. The earrings have 1 1/2" (4cm) dangles that match the bracelet perfectly. They're surprisingly light! Blue Sponge Coral and lava are both very porous, so their size does not give you any clue to their weight.

The findings are a gun metal grey finish, matching the howlite perfectly. These materials just belong together, and the result is a stunning set that you'll reach for every day!

On my table now: fossilized coral, leopardskin jasper, carnelian, and some custom work that needs finishing. I finished a cute sea horse set with topaz and ruby-colored foil-lined glass and goldstone that will be up very soon. Stay tuned!

Monday, November 3, 2008

How about a Bloggy Giveaway?

We were having a discussion about Etsy on Etsy's forums this morning, and sharing our observations that out of everyone we talk to on a daily basis, not enough people know about Etsy. Now, I know this isn't the case as much in the blogosphere, because you can hardly go anywhere without running into an Etsy seller trying to promote their shop. We tossed around the idea that WE have to be responsible for marketing Etsy, since it is US (and the customers, too) who directly benefit from it.

So I've decided to run a contest. How'd you like to win this cute pair of earrings? The dangles are 1 1/2" for a total length of 2". The stones are white turquoise, carnelian and more white turquoise, and the ear wires and spacers are copper. Guys, you can win them too. They're perfect for gift-giving. It's the season to shop for the ladies in your life!!

Here are the rules: You must do three out of four to qualify for the giveaway: Contest runs until November 15.

1. Click this link to sign up for Etsy. if you are not already a member. (10 entries) (It is so quick and easy!)

2.) heart my shop (as a buyer, click "add to my favorites"). You'll need to have your favorites set to "public" in order to do this. (5 entries) I'll confirm your signup date (if and heart for your entries.

3.) comment this post and tell me your Etsy user name, and I'll heart you back! (5 entries)

4.) Tell me your favorite item in my shop (5 entries). (Awwww, thanks!)

For the duration of the contest I'll offer another free gift -- a free pair of earrings -- with any purchase, when you mention "bloggy contest" in the notes to seller.

Ready, set....join Etsy! It's super easy, and you won't regret it. While you're browsing, check out your local Etsy Artisans by clicking "Buy" in the header next to the orange "Etsy" on the front page and then clicking "shop local", or take a peek at the "Treasuries"...which are hot, hot, hot in the Etsy community! OR, click on guides and browse items handpicked by the Etsy staff.

Or you could just spend the whole time in my shop. That's just fine by me.

all of the normal disclaimer stuff applies. You get the pair of earrings advertised as being the prize. I'll change to sterling or gold-filled at an extra charge. I guarantee the workmanship, and will give you every measurement I know to make sure you'll like them. Everything else is subjective and I'll do my best to help you. please be patient!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Featured on WhimsicalStars!

A new Etsy friend, has featured me on her blog! In it is a little bit about how I got into jewelry, about art in general, and then I had to pick my 5 favorite Etsy shops. That was a hard one, because I have 287 favorites! If it had been a pop quiz like the ones in school, I would have failed the last one. I couldn't choose just 5.

I really enjoyed reading through Whimsical Stars' blog, because I was able to learn about the lives of fellow Etsians, and their motivation. Etsy has been an incredible experience for me, and I'm in awesomely talented company. So if you have time go on over to Whimsical Stars, and read up (and other Etsy artists)!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Balance, and my desperate struggle to bag that pesky critter!

4 listings in as many days. Check it out! I plan to double that number over the weekend. I have so many ideas brimming over that it is frustrating at times. As a mom, finding balance is difficult. I did, however, spend some quality time playing with Hot Wheels with my two year old today. We were both giddy with delight. And I didn't once think I should be doing anything else. That was gratifying. And an adequate amount of schoolwork got done.
Though I detest schedules and structure, I need to have both. Acquiring the discipline to conform to it is a never-ending battle. You've heard of falling off your date book -- falling off your schedule is worse. Sometimes I feel like Fred Flintstone in an oil slick on the road. I'm just scampering in place. I need to schedule some serious time for beading, computer time for marketing and promoting, time with hubby (which is what I should be doing now) homeschooling, and playtime with the kids. It's a struggle with carnality, and with balance of doing things for other people vs. what I want to do right this moment, and it's a fight to maintain order. It's exhausting!

How to get a Round Tuit...

Imagine all of the things you could do if you just had a round Tuit. Well, now you have one. Feel free to copy mine, and hand it out at will. (tell them about my blog and Etsy site, if you feel like it please? we all have to eat)

If you haven't tried Etsy yet, I encourage you to find out what it's all about. After various online selling experiences that were memorable but less than satifying, I stumbled on Etsy through the recommendation of a friend.

What I found has changed my business, and my life. I'm not being melodramatic, either. Etsy's online community is, for the most part, a cooperative community of buyers and sellers, for handmade, vintage, supplies and the like. Outside of my church, I've never met a more encouraging and welcoming group of people.

So, I'm giving you this Round Tuit. Now that you have one, you can get everything done that you've been putting off. Including joining Etsy, here, or buying a beautiful piece of handcrafted, artisan designed jewelry, here. You don't even have to thank me. I will thank YOU!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I'm featured on Love Etsy Feedback!

Danelle, driving force behind Love Etsy Feedback, is featuring my work on her blog until November 4th. In tandem with the feature, we're giving away a Golden Strawberry Quartz and Freshwater Pearl bracelet from my shop,


Golden Strawberry pendants are the hot new vogue for those who enjoy the long line of popular quartz designs. Golden strawberry Quartz is based on the popular strawberry quartz with one beautiful addition bright yellow and orange flares across each bead. The base material is still a light pink strawberry quartz, but on top of that is a complex swirl of dark grey and flaming wisps of sunset orange. These beads practically scream energy, making them perfect centerpieces for all your summer and autumn designs. There are no two beads look alike. This type of quartz has a successful processing rate of less than 10 percent, making them very difficult to be mass produced. Very limited quantity available. No other quartz is more unique than these beads.

Golden Strawberry Quartz lives up to the hype. As you can see in the photo, and it really doesn't do it any justice, these stones are luscious, and just plain beautiful. I've paired them with Tiger Eye (and will again soon) freshwater pearls, smoky quartz, Amber glass (see this listing and every time I show it, the result is rave reviews from everyone.

If you feel like it, I encourage you to go on over to and enter her giveaway. If you don't win, you could always buy one. I have a good supplier, and for the near future, since I bought a wagon load of these beads, I'll have enough to make quite a few more.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Are you Serious? I mean, REALLY Serious?

Have you ever considered -- what makes people plunk down their hard-earned money for your expertly-crafted work? I have. The answer lies in the psychology of the customer, and how your presentation communicates and stimulates a buying activity.

I've sold jewelry before, but I'm not a psychologist. I've had lots of experience selling during shows and to individuals, but I could use some targeted tips on pricing (the big bug-a-boo for crafters) and selling my work to careful consumers. I'd also like to learn exactly what moves my customers to make a jewelry purchase.

Recently I came across a site with resources that do exactly that. Dr. David Weiman, Psychologist and marketing director for Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, the world's oldest gem, bead and jewelry arts magazine, has resources to help jewelry makers and jewelry retailers like me "understand the personality of artisan jewelry buyers so that they can make better connections with those buyers." (from his website) I signed up for his free e-newsletter, and it's revolutionized the way I'm approaching sales, at shows or home shows. So can you!

Dr. Weiman's programs speak for themselves. Here are a few titles: ... Introduction to Marketing and Selling Jewelry ... Jewelry Selling Insights ... 5 Keys to Selling Handcrafted Jewelry ... The Jewelry Selling Answer Book ... Ultimate Guide to Your Profitable Jewelry BoothDr. Weiman is the same consultant who teaches Super-Selling techniques at national bead conventions like Bead Fest in Philadelphia. He can teach you in your home, on your schedule. He has a newsletter subscription, for less than the cost of one Starbucks per month, that explores jewelry techniques at greater depth.

He's made his new e-book, a$17 value, 50 Great Jewelry Selling Techniques, available for free download. These tips just blow me away. As I read down the list, there were a few things I was doing right, but his book has opened my eyes to the potential for successfully selling my jewelry. He says this about his programs:

I believe that activity -- doing something! -- is essential for business of all sizes who want to make it through these times effectively.We may not be able to control the economy or what big banks and huge companies are doing, but we can do many things ourselves to make things better in our own businesses. (AMEN!)

You can sign up for his free e-newsletter, The Jewelry Seller, and downloaded his free ebook: Click here to learn more! Do it today! Read his book, sign up for his newsletter, and you'll agree -- this guy knows his stuff!

Selling Jewelry in a tough economy:

I hope you'll take advantage of his offers, and generate more success in your business.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

How Many??

Things have been a little slow on the sales front, and I've been mulling over things I've learned in my many incarnations as a sales person. I've sold signs, Mary Kay, Creative Memories, NestFamily videos, more signs, and jewelry a couple times) and this one always keeps bubbling to the surface: "How Many?"

A Mary Kay friend of mine, Trish, who won diamonds and prizes the good old fashioned way -- by selling product -- used to ask me "how many?" when I needed the odd trade because of a hole in my inventory. I asked her about that one time, because it suddenly struck me as a great way to add to the sale. She said it was the primary way she took her sales to that level (besides good old fashioned work, i.e. skin care classes, etc.).

So when it comes to sales, asking "how many?" makes the customer think about stocking up or giving gifts. It lets them know you're concerned about them, and helping them get what they need. It works for me!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Wow! Thanks!

Hey! What a nice surprise! I made it on The Art Zoo! Here's a link, if you promise to come back... They featured a cute little pair of earrings I put together with Sodalite (love that stuff) Howlite (usually what people use for turquoise and dye it blue), silver hoops, and a few jump rings. I really like the way they turned out!
Here's the listing for them on Etsy...
They're lightweight, and they sway nicely when you turn your head. I can take this style and re-invent it with other stones, square, round, whatever. I think I'll be doing more of these.

These earrings are listed in an earring treasury I created. I do the treasuries because I want to show all the stuff I make, but don't want them to get lost within my shop. When you use Majaba ( to track your shop views, you'll notice that when you have two or more pages, you have serious issue of getting people to click through to your second or third or subsequent pages. The "Featured Listings" helps, because you can feature items on your second, third, etc. pages, but it's easy for items to get lost. To organize this, I grouped pairs of earrings and bracelets together and called them treasuries. I've sold whole sets this way, when one nice lady decided she wanted all of the earrings in the treasury. I changed the price on the listing and she bought the listing. Etsy gets their money, I made a sale, everything was just great. I'd group things together by type, by color, or by stone. Everybody wins.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I guess I'm "it" now!

OK, So now Ive been tagged!
My Etsy friend, Cristi, at 2ifbySea,
( tagged me in the comment section of my Custom Order post. I like a fun game, so I'll play!
Here are the rules:
1. Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog - some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blog.
4. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
So, here are 7 facts little known facts about me:
1. I was born and raised in South Carolina. I consider it to be the larger part of my heritage, even though my parents were from elsewhere.
2. This is my third incarnation as a jewelry maker...I made and sold jewelry in middle school, and then took a "real" jewelry class in college complete with metal work, and returned to it In November of last year, when my oldest decided to make a bracelet for my mom for Christmas. This time, it stuck.
3. My husband and I have 7, yes seven, children all together. His three, my three, and our one. It's a ZOO sometimes!
4. I'm from a long line of craftspeople. My maternal grandfather was a jeweler. He worked with lapidary equipment, faceted stones and made cabochons. My mom makes jewelry, too. I guess that makes me the third generation. My great-grandfather was crafty, too. He hand-painted pin striping on cars, as well as painted as a hobby. My paternal grandmother paints, and owned a florist shop at one time. My sister is crafty, a great cook, and an incredible seamstress. She should be on Etsy, too. She's busy selling houses.
5. I've been skydiving three times. That's right! I was crazy enough to do it two more times. I guess I needed to prove it to ... myself?
6. I home school my kids. I really enjoy being with them!!
7. I was a graphic design student in college, and was in the sign business when I relocated to Florida. If the Internet had been around then, I would have gotten into blog design, computer graphics, etc. Instead I was a Mary Kay consultant for 6 years, and a Creative Memories Scrapbook consultant for 5. I love to scrapbook, and wouldn't mind making greeting cards with the huge inventory I still have in my office.
Maybe I was a little long-winded, (no surprise) and a little boring. But, that's me in a nutshell. OH! and I love sushi. And Italian Food, and Mexican Food. You should probably call me a foodie.
So here are the people I'm tagging:
1. Jacqueline, way up in Alaska, and her beautiful blog
2. Gina, a fellow home school mompreneur
3. Lauren, the incredibly talented designing force behind
4. Danelle, marketing genius and impetus behind
5. Frances and Julie, who graciously posted about my sea glass necklace on Their success makes me wish I lived closer to my sister, so we could craft and do shows together
6. Katie, at our much-loved girl-time destination, pottery diva and awesome business owner of ( she won't know why in the world I tagged her, since she doesn't know I do jewelry OR that I have a blog!)
7. well, I was going to tag someone else, but she's gotten tagged by somebody already.
Now I'm off to tell them they've been tagged, then post.

Two days left on my sale!

Only two days left to take advantage of my birthday sale in my Etsy shop. You'll get a free pair of earrings, in addition to the earrings in the necklace sets, when you mention where you heard about my shop. I'll make up a fresh pair for you!

Here's a photo of my one of my favorite sets for sale in my shop right now. One of my favorite color combinations and stones come together for a statement piece that could grace any red carpet in Hollywood...(patting my own back, hope you don't mind)
I started with Chinese Unakite, so richly textured that at first it looked like a beautiful piece of Corian countertop that I considered when I remodeled my kitchen. It just looks too cool to NOT be engineered. But, yes, it's real stone!
From Wikipedia: First discovered in the United States in the Unakas mountains of North Carolina, unakite is an altered granite composed of pink orthoclase feldspar, green epidote, and generally clear quartz. It exists in various shades of green and pink and is usually mottled in appearance. In good quality unakite is considered a semiprecious stone, will take a good polish and is often used in jewelry and other lapidary work such as eggs, spheres and other carvings like animals. It is also referred to as epidotized granite.

The rich rust-colored veins in this particular specimen of Unakite perfectly matched some poppy jasper coin beads and some ceramic saucer beads that I picked up. I also had some 10 mm Tiger Eye, and cute little copper lentil spacers that gave the whole collection just the right touch.

When I design a piece, sometimes I'll lay everything out and just look at it for a couple of days. Once the creative juices are flowing, the piece usually comes together really fast. This particular piece just didn't look right using the doughnut bead as the pendant. I have a couple of those, and they're nice, but I wanted to be more bold with this set. So I used ALL of the doughnuts. They're really nice-sized babies, too. Then I filled them with light green jade (keeping the Chinese theme with the Unakite) and copper seed beads. But it need more. I found some sea foam green crackled resin beads, and I knew I had it. I made a commitment to myself when I first started making jewelry that I wouldn't use plastic. I had to break that rule when I saw all of the beads together. Gorgeous! It was perfect! They're like little globes of light setting off the deeply colored and contrasting stone beads. It will be very difficult to sell this one. My daughter made me promise to make her one just like it. I hope I can find those beads again! My two year old will be disappointed when the "tractor tire" necklace goes away. But, please, if it strikes your fancy, buy it today!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Custom work is a challenge, but worth it!

When I saw this Karen Hill Tribe Silver butterfly it nearly took my breath away. My oldest daughter's personal mascot has been a butterfly for just about her whole life, as she's a social butterfly that flits here and there, lighting on whatever strikes her fancy. I also like the metamorphosis imagery as it pertains to children growing up. Because she is the same person she was when I held her in my arms for the first time, lips smacking in the silence of the night, but she's different. And she will be a different person as she matures into womanhood,but she'll still be the same.

On her 16th birthday I wanted to make her something special. The butterfly idea kept coming back to me, and I was sure of it when I saw this gorgeous pendant. I chose her favorite colors, lilac, fuchsia, sea foam green, and combined them with black to make a bold statement of style, growing up, my little girl, and my momma's heart. I'm so proud of the person she's becoming. I just had to post this, because I really liked the way the whole piece developed, and I decided to list pictures of it on Etsy, as a custom order. I will probably not be able to get these beads again anyway, so it will remain a One of a Kind, but I can most definitely come close to it, if someone would like a set for their own butterfly, or for themselves.

Custom work is a challenge, but worth it. I think the key is seeing the necklace exactly like the customer sees it. If you can effectively communicate your vision for the piece to the designer, then you'll be able to get pretty close in terms of the supplies available, the designer's vision, expertise, and skill level, and the ultimate conclusion -- your one of a kind treasure. For me, the communication process if fun. Getting to know someone and walking in their shoes for a while is sort of a detective game. Making the pieces, of course, fills me with anticipation. It's almost like Christmas! The nerve-wracking part is when it's presented to the customer for approval. That's when self-doubt sets in! I nervously wonder if I got it right, and if they'll decide it was worth the time. So far, so good. It's been a wonderful process. When the customer is satisfied and we've concluded the deal, then I get an amazing feeling of satisfaction, like the glow after Christmas morning, when all the wrapping has been put away, and you get to admire your loved ones loving their gifts. That's why I like handmade so much. When you give a piece of your heart, it's like your heart grows fuller, and larger, and ...stronger. Sound corny? Then maybe you should try it! You might change your mind.

Errr...Missed again!

If you Etsy, you know that the prime time to list is on the weekend. Well, this weekend, I have a great new set to list, but didn't. My mother-in-law had surgery Thursday, on her back. She's doing very well now, thankfully! Many prayers went up on her behalf! We have her settled now in a rehab center, and should be busy visiting this week. I noticed the staff at the center wears lanyards...

I have a show next Saturday, at St. Joseph's Catholic School in Mandarin. It's 9 - 4pm, and it should be a good one! I'm excited to be back out showing my stuff again. Maybe I'll get to making stuff this week. I have a bunch of stuff on my table.

If you Etsy, you probably know about alchemy. If you don't, you should. While everyone is talking in the forums about how quiet Etsy's been and how their business is sooo slow, you can be in the alchemy section picking up sales. I managed to snatch two this week! I love custom orders! They grease the business wheel during slow times! and since it's slow, you can really specialize on the details, and develop long-term clients. Custom work rocks!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Here's a closeup of the sea glass pendant in my newly finished necklace set. For some reason, Blogger wouldn't load this into my blog without turning it on it's side, so I decided to post it through Picasa. I know I'm just doing something wrong, but I couldn't figure it out. So, here it is. Amethyst and aventurine clusters huddle around the top of the hand wired sea glass pendant. Fluorite spheres are suspended on both sides, and a fluorite and aventurine duo accents the knotted double strand of glass beads in the center. The top choker chain is also amethyst, accented with sterling silver beads. The whole 3-strand set is finished in the back by a handmade S-clasp.
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Sea Glass Necklace set just finished!!

It's done! I can't believe it's finally done!

This necklace set took 4 months and 2 days to create. You got it. Four months to gather just the "right" materials, starting with 3 pieces of Genuine Sea Glass gathered on a beach in Scotland. I wire-wrapped the sea glass, then added fluorite, silver, glass, amethyst and light green aventurine.

This necklace gives you a feeling of the ocean. The combination of colors was encouraged by the natural colors in the fluorite and inspired by the wildness and beauty of the sea.

I make earrings for every set I create. This earring set features lever-back findings, aventurine, fluorite and silver rondelle spacer beads. The bottom bead is hanging on it's own head pin, so it will sway back and forth independently of the top segment. I'm going to make a set with two more pieces of sea glass, but they will be listed seperately. All earrings can be converted to clip-in or post with no extra charge.

The clasp is a handmade S-style clasp made with Anti-tarnish silver, and stiffened with my rawhide mallet. I enjoy making clasps like this because they add a special touch to the piece that it adorns. The sea glass is also hand wired. I'll be listing this set on Etsy this weekend.

Through October 10, I'm having a sale in my Etsy shop. When you purchase any item from my shop, if you tell me where you heard about my shop I'll send you a free pair of earrings in addition to your purchase!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Here I am at 3 am,
need to sleep, but blogging!
what will I do when the kids wake up
and ask why I'm not jogging?

What it is that keeps us from what we love to do when we know we need to do it, but decide to do something else instead?

I love making jewelry. When I have the house quiet (like now, except for the sound of more than one person, and two dogs, snoring) why do I not "power bead?" Why do I spend self-indulgent time on the computer "checking my email," a.k.a. wasting time and sleep, instead of crossing out my to-do list?

Tomorrow will be filled with schoolwork, phone calls for mundane matters, child care, and life. And I'm sitting here, at 3 am, blogging.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

All that Glitters....

Just look at this cool glass bead shipment I just got in the mail! Many thanks to Vanessa at They have really unusual stuff that is so fun for creating. Those critters are just waiting to play, aren't they? They are lampworked by a local artist in St. Augustine. I don't know which talented person did them, though. They're already spoken for, too. They're waiting for me to give them their beads and they're off to their new home. Custom orders are so fun!

So I'm getting my bead on after a dry spell. How do YOU get your creative juices flowing again after a while? It's been a frustrating couple of weeks. Productive, but not for beading. We started our schooling, I started this blog (wow it takes sooo much time to learn this stuff!) and my computer whacked me on the head and made me spend wayyyy too much time on it. To get reacquainted with my bead table, I had to find it first. Any level surface in our house is in jeopardy of accumulating piles of stuff from the many people and activities that go on here. So, I waded through a mountain, and reorganized. Then I went out and bought a whole bunch of beads.

Originally, I did not intend to spend anything except for what I desperately needed (I was totally out of clasps) but there was this great sale, and... well... Now I have a good dose of motivation. It's been a little quiet on the sales front at Etsy, many people will tell you, but I've always found that you sell more when you're really motivated. Ever invite someone over to your house for dinner when it's a complete mess? If you have, as a motivator for getting it clean, then you know what I mean. It works like charm. Buy beads, get motivation (dang, I need to sell some stuff NOW!!)

Last week Rebekah and I went to a fundraiser craft fair for St. Paul's Catholic School in Riverside. We had a blast. It was our first jewelry show, and it was a complete success for us. She sold some things, I sold some things and met some really great people, and donated some gorgeous blister pearl and Swarovski earrings for a door prize. We were just one of about 5 jewelry tables there, and it was fun to see everyone's craft personality as expressed in their jewelry creations. Not one of us was the same. I met a beautiful lady from Africa, and she told me her story, and about her sisters who send beads to her so she can make her jewelry. It was a very nice night. I hope to be invited back next year. I think the most enjoyable thing about making jewelry is seeing people where it, and enjoy it. When their friends try to talk them into buying it because it "just looks like you, don't you think?" It's supremely satisfying. Yep, I love this stuff!

I got started with jewelry making when I was in 6th grade, I think. My mom was making Christmons for our church Christmas tree here's a link, if you promise to come back...( These are cross stitch, and they're really nice, but the ones she was making were made of pearls, gold beads, wire, and the like. I was enthralled. I took money from my chores and bought some beads, sequins and other glittery things and made jewelry, mostly earrings, and sold them to my friends. I also took thick art paper and made earrings, painted different colors, added some jewels and different designs. I wore them for years. I took a jewelry class in college, and got into the "real" stuff -- I never knew blow torches could be so fun! We did formed pieces, soldered pieces, made bezels -- I was hooked. Then upon moving to Florida and going to work I pretty much forgot all about it. In fact, I tried to avoid beading altogether, but it sneaked up behind me and captured me when my mom started beading, and my daughter wanted to make her a bracelet last Christmas. There's no going back. I'm in up to my eyeballs. and ear wires...hehehe!

My husband is totally supportive! He encourages my obsession, er.... hobby, and tells me he knows I'm going to do great. Awwww, he so wonderful! It feels so good to have somebody believe in you.

That's my advice: To get motivated,

1. find or clean off your craft table. Dust off your tools.

2. Invest a little scary-ness into your inventory to give you a "have to"

3. Find yourself a cheerleader and tell them you've been a little discouraged lately.

4. Put on some relaxing otherwise motivating music, to set the environment

5. minimize distractions. It's hard when you have a darling little guy like mine who wants to play, but maybe daddy can take him to the park. Or he can take a nap.

6. Get busy! Not many days until Christmas!!

So I can't wait to get started with these beads. They look so festive and ... holiday! I'm thinking some Goldstone, some crystal, some of them with copper wire... We'll make them dangle-y and dripping with glamor. I think I'll put on some Manheim Steamroller Christmas, and bead until my fingers blister. Stay tune for the "after" pictures!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

And Baby Makes Nine!

OK, time for introductions! Courtney is my oldest. She changed my name to "Mom" 16 years ago. What a delight to have her as a daughter! She's beautiful, a great student, and a wonderful volleyball player. She plays this year for Providence Schools, a private school, but they accept home school students into their athletic programs, since they're with the FHSAA (Florida High School Athletic Association) but that is another blog post altogether. If you're wondering how home schooled students can participate in public and high school activities here in Florida, Google the Craig Dickinson Act. (think, Tim Tebow, Heisman trophy winner and currently sophomore at the University of Florida. He was home schooled!) So, we're ready for Courtney's volleyball to get noticed, so we'll have an idea of the direction she'll take for college. I would rather have her play here in town, and go to a local college. I'm not ready for my baby to be grown up and gone yet. One of my 5 best reasons for living, she's my heart! She's twice the young lady I was at her age!

This is Matthew, my oldest son. He's an aspiring actor. At 12 1/2, he plays that guitar whenever he isn't eating or sleeping, taking a short break and playing the computer, or when he is trying to escape his schoolwork. He's really getting very good! One of my 5 best reasons for living, he's my heart! I didn't have brothers growing up. I have one sister, whom I'd consider a best friend (not then, but now, by the Grace of God). So Matthew broke me into the world of little boys quite roughly, without any warnings or preparation. I had no idea what to expect, and though it was love at first sight, It's been a wild ride! He's such a good kid. Witty, brilliant, reserved, contemplative. He's always the one you see in the background of our scrapbook pictures, watching everything. That was true until he discovered acting! Since he began his training with John Robert Powers, he's really come out of himself. My son, who would rather take an "F" than memorize anything, can now memorize and deliver a monologue that will double you over it's so funny. He's put on a sparkle and an intensity that I suspected was there, but he kept hidden. What a wonderful transformation.

He has an agent who said that he would represent him in LA. We're excited about that. I'm not sure what it entails, and I'm not going to be that crazy mom that pushes her son into everything. I'd rather he just do some commercials, maybe a few TV shows, etc. But we're behind him all the way.
This little lady is Rebekah. Goodness GRACIOUS she's growing fast. She's learning how to cook, and is very capable doing anything I ask her to do. She's highly enthusiastic and energetic when it comes to getting things done (and getting her way) and she could easily run our entire house of it were her job. Yay for type-A!! I know she'll do anything she sets her mind to do. She's also a volleyball prodigy. After 6 years of gymnastics, she leaped into volleyball, with her sister's coaching, and is really turning heads on the court. We're hoping for scholarships. That would be really great!!

Rebekah also likes to make jewelry. You'll find some of her creations on my Etsy site at We get to sit together and make stuff, and it's fun to relate that way. She also likes to paint pottery, and do glass etching. I suspect she'll be able to do every craft she sets her hands to, because she does pretty well for a 10 year old already. She has the same restless, itchy, crafty hands that I have. She's another one of my 5 best reasons for living. She's my heart!

And here's my little man. When I was remarried in 2004, I dreamed of having another baby, but it was more wistful imagination than anything. I had the baby bug bad, but was busy working in sign sales, hauling kids All over Florida for sports (we were on two competitive gymnastics teams, and my oldest was playing middle school ball, too. Well, let's just say he was the best souvenir from our first anniversary trip. He's as cute as a Cupie doll, isn't he?

Jimmy seems to think it's his job to crack us up all day. He's a love sponge, and likes to spend time snuggling, playing with his trains, his trucks, and on the computer. Yep, he's a techno junkie. At 2 1/2, he can use the mouse, and navigate around his computer games. Popular titles at the moment are Bob the Builder, Thomas the Tank Engine, and the Tonka Construction series. Since we home school, we have 5 computers, and thank to Broadband and a wireless router we can all use them at once. He also likes to watch classic Disney clips on You Tube. Donald Duck seems to be his favorite. He's developing an interest in space, so look out Buzz Lightyear, here he comes!

This gorgeous hunk of a man is Donald, my husband and best friend. After my divorce, when I was really wanting to feel normal again. You know, go out and have lunch, be normal, have normal friendships, feel attractive, all of that stuff. I put up a profile on, and this interesting guy emailed me. The part that caught my eye was that he was a believer, and attended church regularly. Wow. A man that seeks and understands accountability! A rare find! That was just the beginning. We were married that next April, on his birthday. He's the most patient man I've ever met. We've had such a great time being married. Here's a picture of us taken in 2004...

Donald came as a package deal, and so did I. We both had 3 previous kids from our previous marriage. When I met his kids, I fell in love with them immediately. It hasn't been the easiest thing to blend two families together, deal with ex's and their issues, and try to maintain respectful relationships between all of the people in our kids' lives, but we've muddled through it. We've made quite a few mistakes, but we've also done some things right. By God's Grace, we will not only get through it but our children will rise above it and beat society's current odds on divorce. Hopefully we'll pass on to them what we've learned.