Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

I was going to wait to post until I had my reveal post for Diana's (Suburban Girl Studios) snowflake written up but realized it's New Years eve and this would be my last post of the year.

Thank you for being a part of my year in 2014 for listening to me ramble and looking at my pretties. Thank you for coming along on this ride with me and I do hope you'll join me again in  2015. Diana's Snowflake will be a beautiful way to start the New Year so be sure to pop back in just a couple days to see that.

Did I mention after several years of just missing the boat I finally made it into the Year of Jewelry?
A piece a week! It's going to be a busy year! That's good, I like busy! It's going to be a wonderful year!

Happy New Year! Here's to 2015 being as good as I think it will be....... or better!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

December's Birthstone = Turquoise

It's hard to believe an entire year has passed sine I started posting these wonderful old marketing Poems. I have enjoyed it and it makes me a little sad that this is the last of the series.

They've given me a post every month that was already planned, helping my continuity and has made me look a little closer at my own "marketing" (as passive as it is it's still marketing lol) I've enjoyed the themes and sharing so I'll be planning more posts over the next year.

I've discovered a little more about the ways I'm comfortable marketing and not. I've even discovered how wounded I feel when I'm criticized on how I'm marketing others, and now I know how long it takes to recover from that. Apparently I still wear my heart on my sleeve, thought I had tucked that away a long time ago.

While I sit down to work on my marketing plan for the coming year (including some of those blog posts) I do hope you will enjoy our final poem and know that I have enjoyed bringing them to you.

Turquoise and Turquoise colored Jewelry fromMy Shop

Decembers stone as we all know is Turquoise, but it also shares the month with Zircon and Tanzanite.

If cold December gave you birth,
The month of snow and ice and mirth,
Place on your hand a turquoise blue;
Success will bless whate'er you do.

Kind of a nice way to end the year though isn't it? A promise of success, very nice indeed.

We have once again moved the stones around throughout the ages. The original stones of the month were Ruby and Heliotrope (boy that stone gets around lol)  In 1912 they were replaced with Turquoise and Lapis Lazuli. Lapis is a pretty stone and I can imagine how pretty when paired with Turquoise. But the stone was dropped in 2013 in favor of Tanzanite and Zircon. Both beautiful stones in their own right.

Turquoise colored gifts from team LACWE on Etsy

Nose back to the, housework, blog hop pieces, and one of these days I've got to do some Christmas shopping or work on some gifts.......

Thanks for stoppin by!
We'll see ya next time!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

In the Oven and What I'm working on ...

With the swap items finished up I can turn my attention to the color challenge proffered by Dry Gulch and the Art Jewelry Elements Snowflake ( I won one from Diana @ Suburban Girl Studios!!) I have ideas, oh have I ideas! annnddd..... I got a box of goodies fro Rio Grande. Silver prices dipped and I took advantage of it while I could. Yup I am going to try my hand at bezeling and flush setting itty bitty czs, yes I am I am. If you could see the grin on my face. This is the best end to the year/beginning, I'm a happy camper.

So since my nose is to the grindstone so to speak for the next couple weeks and and festivities Merry Merry to you and yours! I though I had better get a cookie recipe up here for you!

Peanut Butter Blossoms from

These are MY all time favorites they never hang around my house very long.

Peanut Butter Blossoms

  • 48 HERSHEY'S KISSES Brand Milk Chocolates
  • 1/2 cup shortening or butter (shortening keeps them fluffy but butter tastes better)
  • 3/4 cup  Peanut Butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • A couple Tbs of granulated sugar for rolling the balls in


1. Heat oven to 375°F. 
2. Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture. 
3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet. 
4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. (my oven likes the 8 minute mark)
5. While cookies are baking remove wrappers from kisses. 
6. With about a minute or two to go press kisses into the center of cookies and return to oven; cookie will crack around edges. 
7. When done remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Makes about 48 cookies of yummy goodness.

We're thinking of making some sugar cookies this year so maybe we'll post the recipe next week.
Thanks for stoppin by!
Merry Merry!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes

Singing it with me?

I absolutely adore the passion in artists, we feel strongly about almost everything. It shows in what we do, in what we make, and how we express ourselves. As such there is a tendency in the Etsy/Art world to panic loudly and leave en masse any time a change happens that isn’t immediately understood. Take for instance the newest FB revelation that spammy posts will no longer be allowed. OMG the sky is falling, they’re trying to destroy MY small business, why oh why!!! <<<  exaggerated to make my point, but it is the same reaction every time a change is made. People as a whole dislike change, artists as it turns out are no exception. 

For the last several years I’ve tried to advise my fellow artists to NOT do the copy/paste/run thing. It’s spammy, it shows in the newsfeed several times over, buy my stuff, buy my stuff, buy my stuff!!!! People DON’T like that. They want kittens and funny stories and updates of what’s going on. Yes, they want to see what you’re working on but they don’t want you screaming BUY MY STUFF all over their feeds. 

 FB has been running surveys for the past several months, Guess what they discovered……. read the above. That’s right. So the spammy content is being filtered.

But you know what? “I" don’t want to see ads in my newsfeed either. I want stories from my favorite pages, the pages I clicked "Receive Notifications" from. The stories I’m NOT getting now because of the spammy ads. This filter is “supposed” to keep spammy ads out so you CAN get the stories you want. Time will tell if that’s the way it actually works. We’ve all seen the decline in organic reach right?

So what’s an artist supposed to do? Ever hear the old adage Don’t Put All Your Eggs In One Basket? Don’t put all your marketing effort into FB. And don’t use a singular campaign of BUY MY STUFF. I’ve been saying this for several years now, if you’re on Social Media BE SOCIAL, be yourself. I read an analogy once and I really wish I could remember where to give proper attribution but it went something like this: 

Social media marketing is like being at a party.  
 Would you walk in, head straight to the middle of the room and yell BUY MY STUFF and leave? 
 No, at least I hope you wouldn’t. 
 You’d walk in, mingle, talk to people, share stories, laugh, listen. 
 You’d be wearing your jewelry, you’d respond to compliments with Thank You I made this to wear tonight, or I sell on Etsy or however it is that YOU TALK to people when at a SOCIAL event.

Now even if you aren’t the Party Girl type you have been to more than one person’s party. You go to your Parent's for one holiday, your Relatives for another and your In-Laws for yet another. You go to Birthday Parties, Retirement parties, Moving parties, Paint parties. Think of them as FB, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Wanelo, Polyvore, Blogs, Tumblr, Google +, Flickr, you get the idea. You don’t have to go to every one just as you don’t have to hit every social media site. Choose the ones you like best, the ones that fit you. Don’t forget to Mingle, SMILE, laugh, and share stories, don’t just run in and yell BUY MY STUFF.

And don’t forget the power of an old fashioned piece of paper called a business card. Make it a point to eat out at a restaurant or diner that encourages pinning your card to their wall or placing under the glass at check out. Check in on it every once in awhile to see if someone has taken it and replace it if they have. Most of all Don’t forget the most important accessory you own - a SMILE. That smile makes people want to get to know you, and then you can say Buy my Stuff. Or you can be social and tell them with the passion I know you have about this wonderful thing you do.

Til next time when I hopefully actually share the cookie recipe I promised!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Novembers Birthstone = Topaz

Can you believe it's already Thanksgiving week? Time has just absolutely flown by this year!

November's birthstone is Golden Topaz and Citrine. I really like this months poem.

Who first comes to this world below
With drear November's fog and snow,
Should prize the topaz's amber hue,
Emblem of friends and lovers true.

Way back when Pearl was included with Topaz for this months birthstones. Then in 1912 it was dropped for Novembers stone. Topaz stood alone as the months stone until 2013 when Citrine was added to the list.

This Months Citrine Offerings

I don't use Golden Topaz very often but when I do it gets snapped up pretty quickly. Citrine I use a little more often, I do like the happy golden color. I know I usually do a treasury with items in chosen months color, but with Thanksgiving looming and having just curated the entire LACWE team on Etsy I think I'm going to skip. My poor laptop needs it's cache cleaned I've looked at so many things these last couple of weeks.

Be Thankful this week and always
Good Friends
Love of Family
Good and plentiful Food
Warm and dry beds
Cherished ones to Love
and be Loved by.

Now go forth and Eat too much
Laugh too loud
and give as many hugs and kisses as you can.

Happy Thanks Giving!

Next week begins our annual Holiday Countdown, cookies this year?
Thanks for stopping by!
We'll see you next time!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Feathers! or when did I become bird brained??

Pins from my Pinterest Board

I’ve been in a feather kind of mood lately. I’ve noticed I’ve been pinning feathers for quite awhile now on Pinterest in either color schemes or pieces others have made. I’ve been oohing and ahhing over Karen Tottens ceramic feathers at Starry Road Studio  and Rebecca Paynes leather feathers at Tree Wings Studio for ages now. Even the last few pieces my son claimed were made with feathers. 

My daughter is a Fine Arts student and was kind enough to bring home a small piece of clay for me to play with. I made a business card holder (sigh it fell over and broke oh well two more pendants for me!), a couple trinket bowls/plates and a few pendants. Then I started thinking what would I really like to make? Small sculpture? maybe a tile with some roses…… What has been holding my interest lately?    ……. feathers …… What fun could I have with that?! 

leather and clay feathers in process

So, my first what I’m playing with post! Not really a how to because I’m playing with clay that will go back to the university and it may be too late in the semester to actually get it fired (hmm bisque firing was yesterday sigh), so it’s just a peek into what I’m having fun with……. as an aside, I’m REALLY late with my blog post because once I started playing I completely lost time while sculpting. Good thing I got those feathers done first lol Well all except the copper feathers….I had planned on making some but noticed I already had some embossed copper I’ve been trying to decide what to do with and I just noticed it has a nice feather shape in it….. so maybe…. lol Then I needed pictures and examples and and and …  I pulled together a Pinterest board  because I already had so many why not……  before I knew it I had already missed the post and was late with a second! So BLOG post first THEN I can get back to playing, and house work something about Thanksgiving is next week? 

Thanks for stoppin by!
See ya next time! 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Making Time for MORE Playtime

Before Facebook there were forums, forums filled with people who liked the same things. I belonged to several forums, the community feel was really very nice. We fed upon the energy of each other. bolstering and encouraging and reaching higher and loftier heights. It was an amazing ride.

Then along came Facebook and what amounts to the slow death of forums. Groups replaced forums but the community feel just isn't quite the same. At least not for me. I see a whole lot of that's MY design and very little of let's all play with this design and see how many ideas we can come up with. No real camaraderie to speak of. Oh there is an amazing amount of support but no real push to play and move forward with the idea to try this instead of that, oooh I'd love to see it in this color, etc etc.

I miss that.

I miss the ever-present push to do better, to improve, to master.

Please don't get me wrong, I love playing and exploring the many myriad ways metals move and twist and morph into the visions in my head or sketchpad. I love learning new to me techniques. It just makes me sad to think I was playing with an idea and did nothing more with it. It makes me sad to see someone else go further with it in the direction I wanted to take it. Not because they did it, but because they remind me of what I DIDN'T do.

It also makes me glad I spent time just playing this last month and I've realized I NEED to spend more time just playing and experimenting and plain old enjoying what it is I'm doing, no matter what that happens to be.

I think I might just share some of those playtime experiments here. A little What I'm Playing With does seem to be a natural extension of What's on the Desk don't you think? Me too!

Hey! If you're stateside, today is Election day, if you haven't already, GET OUT THERE AND VOTE! Your voice does matter!

Want to know what is on the ballot here? They want the right to do whatever they want to do even if we voted on it. So not cool......  They also want to make the whole state wet. I live in a dry county.  Dry? Yup, no alcohol, gotta drive to the next county over if I want to buy a bottle of wine, made the kiddos 21st a real big deal for her. We made a special trip to the liquor store on the county line a half hour away.
What's on your ballot? Does it matter to you? Why?

Thanks for stoppin in!
We'll see you next time!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Octobers Birthstone: Opal/Tourmaline

The month almost got completely away without a birthstone post!

This month has two birthstones, Opal and Tourmaline. I only knew about Opal, I knew there was a pink stone that could be substituted but growing up I didn't know the name as my Mom only wore the Opal.

October's child is born for woe,
And life's vicissitudes must know,
But lay an opal on her breast,
And hope will lull those woes to rest.

As I said this month has two birthstones, Opal and Tourmaline. Prior to 1912 the second stone was not Tourmaline, it was Aquamarine the stone we now have as March birthstone. I find it pretty interesting how many stones got rearranged in 1912 and it does make me wonder a bit what exactly the reasoning was, aside from marketing that is.

In the Colors of Tourmaline

I have a lone listing with some Honey Opal, but none currently in the milky white with the pink and blue flash we all know and love. I do however have some Tourmaline, it's such a versatile stone with a wonderful range of colors.
Honey Opal w/Abstract Copper

Mossy Agate w/ Tourmaline Beaded Chain

Chalcedony and Tourmaline

I have a cute little pair of earrings too, but apparently no pic on the computer, crashes will do that. They can be found here......

To finish this post I would like to remind you that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It's what all the PINK stands for. Regardless of how you feel about the money being raised vs actual amount being donated, If you have breasts this DOES affect you (yes, Men too albeit less frequently) 

One in Eight DO NOT forget those numbers more importantly, the older you get the smaller those numbers get. 

My Grandma's (Mom's mom) odds were One in Four when she passed at 91, and yes she was the one. 
My Grandma's (Dad's mom) were One in Eight when she passed in her early sixties, again she was the one.
My Mom, one in eight, she is a survivor. 

Fight the fight and don't stop! Don't ever let politics or a political agenda tell you, your health isn't worth fighting for, it is most definitely worth the fight!

Thanks for stoppin by!
We'll see you next time.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

OctoberFest Blog Hop!

Welcome to October Fest! Our fearless leader is indeed fearless, having just endured an impromptu yet necessary household move. I do hope our autumnal offerings brighten her spirits and yours as we hop this weekend. Thank you Rita for hosting and for the opportunity to stretch my creativity.

As I type this our local Fall Fest is underway, I may have to swing by later if I still have time! The theme for the hop is October fest, anything goes as long as the inspiration is autumnal. Living on top of a hill in the River Valley my favorite thing in the fall is watching the leaves turn, it can be the most gorgeous thing, to see the trees in their splendor across the valley, along the bayou, and up along the mountain ridges. The Ozarks to the North and the Ouachitahs to the south makes for some pretty gorgeous views out my window. It's early yet and we're only just starting to pick up some yellows so my thoughts of inspiration turned to the harvest and cornucopias otherwise known as horns of plenty.

OctoberFest Inspiration found on Pinterest
I just happened to have this sweet little pumpkin from BonEcho lamp works out of Canada and as much as I loved this little guy I really hadn't any idea what to do with him, until now. He became my centerpiece for the entire design and in the spirit of a cornucopia I filled the spaces with  happiness and thoughts of prosperity. The leaves are from one of my favorite Etsy sellers, the crystals come from House of Gems, the tiny Tohos from Lima beads and those sweet little roses were fabricated by me.

Cornucopia Inspired Necklace

I played with a little bit of filigree and some of my copper to create the bail and added some reclaimed vintage beads to finish the look.

Well then, there's mine now lets go peek at everyone else's!

Rita is Our Hostess over at Toltec Jewels

and the rest of the hop can be found here.....

Toltec Jewels                            Jewel School Friends (hostess)

Dini Bruinsma                 

Marybeth Rich                          http:/

Mary Govaars                 

Mischelle Andrade-Fanucchi

Karin Grosset Grange     

Andrea Zenith Glick        

Nan Smith                      

Linda Anderson                        http://CherryOnTopDesign.Co

Becky Pancake              

Melissa Trudinger           

Lennis Carrier                

Sue Kennedy                 

Kim Dworak                  

Jo-Ann Woolverton        

Jennifer Reno                 

Veralynne Malone           

Lori Schneider                

Shaiha Williams              

Alisa Siceloff                  

Pam Traub                     

Cryss Thain                    

Maria Lourdes Rios       

Kathy Lindemer             

Carolyn Lawson            

Blanca Medina              

Debbie Rasmussen        

Heather Richter             

Kathleen Breeding         

Carol Dillman                

Chris Eisenberg             

Rebecca Sirevaag          

Sam Waghorn                

Sherri Stokey                 

Gina Hockett                 

Michelle McCarthy        

Michelle Buettner           

Dana Hickey                            You are HERE!! **waves!**

Claire Fabian                   

Cynthia Abner                

Renetha Stanziano          

Jami Shipp                     


Gloria Allen                   

Lisa Johnson                   

Marde Lowe                  

Jill Bradley                      

Toni Gifford                    

Shawnda D'Arcy            

RaMona Woolson          

Esterina Jagiella              

Sandra McGriff              

Mary McGraw               

Alenka Obid                  

Marianne Baxter            

Ann Schroeder              

Inge von Roos                

Robin Reed                    

Suzanne Berk                 

Mowse Doyle                

Diana Miglionico Shiraishi


Andrea Rivers                

Janine Lucas                  

Tanya McGuire              

Anindita Basu                

Mitzie Crider                 

Deb Fortin                     

Cynthia Kent Machata   

Cheri Reed                    

Laurel Hanson               

Ingrid Anderson            

Karla Morgan                

Lori Anderson               

Louise Mccormick-Glazier

Jasvanti Patel                

Susan Kelly                  

Lee Koopman              

Carol Briody                

Kathy Lindemer          

Renetha Stanziano      

Divya N                     

Thanks so much for stopping by!
I'll see you hopping around, I hope!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

of Faith and Magic or Perception and Goals

I'm having a business/pricing crisis and since so many artists have difficulty with pricing/business I thought I'd post here as my crisis could turn out to be beneficial for someone else. :)

In one of the groups I belong to on FB, one of the members posted a set of wood/stone stretch bracelets she found priced at $175.oo. Set of 4. Cute but nothing extra special about them, just a single gemstone connector and wooden beads. At first glance I thought Wow! I am not charging enough. Breakdown the price and it's about $45 each bracelet. Looking up the components and how I charge for bracelets that aren't stretch the numbers seem to be about right. Poke around her shop and she has had 3000 sales, quite a few of these sets. That makes an estimated $90k a yr in sales.  Her shop is full of bolo leather, wooden beads, and single gemstone on a chain, prices from $150 - 890 Nothing that I can't make, using materials I have on hand. 

So why does this create a crisis for me? I look at my shop and then look at hers. She has mostly production pieces, things that can be made made quickly and easily over and over again. I have mostly one of’s with only a small handful of production pieces. We opened at almost the same time, days apart at most, I’ve averaged one sale a month, she’s averaged 11 a week and I haven’t come any where near 90k total. One third of my sales are production work,  20% is custom work, and the other half is one of. 

Until I broke down those numbers I felt the bulk of my sales were production work. I felt I wasn’t charging what I should be, I felt woefully underpriced.

When we compare ourselves to others it creates a "what am I doing wrong" thought process, and that is a dangerous place to be. It’s comparing apples to oranges.

My goal has never been $90,000 a year in jewelry sales. My original goal was a consistent one or two sales a month. Combining all sales from Artfire (I started there and moved to Etsy) sales on Etsy, sales on FB and offline I have met that goal. The whole idea when I began selling was for this to be a self supporting hobby, gold and silver, and all those sparkly things can get a little pricey :) To me meeting your goals is the definition of success, once met it’s time to set new goals.

This crisis though, has gotten me thinking about the direction of my shop, about my pricing, about business vs hobby. The moment I started selling it became a business and I have treated it more like a hobby. Oh, I’ve priced properly taking all things into consideration. Considered other avenues for sales and weighed those options for profitability, and added items based on sell ability. But still, there are things I would do as a business I am not doing now.

this showed up in my feed this am on FB pretty apt I think

Perception is a powerful thing. I don’t really like it when people say I ONLY USE THE BEST. This shop did that, she’s selling wood stretchy bracelets, and has managed to convince people they are something extra special. My hats off, she turned a simple inexpensive material into an only the best product. Maybe my crisis has more to do with marketing than pricing, as we do seem to price similarly. I understand marketing and, having been self employed since the age of 20, I know what to do. I’m not entirely sure why I resist it so much in this endeavor of mine. My hand work has always sold itself, someone sees, comments on it, a little chit chat, asks how much and orders. It’s just different online, and while I can still follow the premise it’s difficult to replicate that "in person” experience online, the warmth of the interaction, the smiles, the laughter, seeing their face when they hold it. I do however, have a couple ideas on how to maybe bring some of that warmth to the screen.

Ok then, having met my goals I suppose next is doubling, setting a dollar amount to aim for. 90k is more than I want, that’s full time work and I think I’m pretty happy with part time!  Up until now I have done nothing more than passive marketing, a little cross promotion working with Etsy teams but nothing truly marketing myself. I have felt like I might be ready to step it up a notch and have been laying out ideas and I think it just might be time to start developing those plans. End of year is coming fast and it will be time to implement them before you know it. So the next couple of months will be all about the holiday season and me planning my marketing strategy. Don’t worry I Hate a hard sell, I won’t even buy something I need if it involves a hard sell, so the plan will still include passive marketing. I’m just going to get much more creative about it.

Hopefully this has helped someone in some small way to remember to use a crisis to push you forward, don’t let it hold you back. You are worth it!

Til next time!
Thanks for stoppin by!