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!