Monday, December 28, 2009

View Etsy Listing

I am grateful to have had a relaxing holiday. I love spending time with family and friends. I was blessed to have a lot of time to make plans/goals for the up coming year. I am going to try a couple of new things that I am really excited about...but you'll have to wait and see. In the mean time enjoy a sneak peak of some new work.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Mexico Here We Come...

...Again. In the last two days we very suddenly and unexpectedly have a vacation planned to Cancun. My mother-in-law had yet to find someone to use her time share and with the reservations only 2-1/2 months away time is of the essence. We are the only ones in the family able to go this year so we've committed. We must be crazy for going yet again. This will be our third year in a row and fourth trip total in the 6.5 years we've been married. It's not like we are middle-aged and financially stable (most time-sharers fit into these 2 categories). We have plans to buy a house next year and we know this will set us back a bit, but we are young, able, childless, and won't have to go into debt to go so we figure "why not?!". And we have a feeling that once a house and baby enter into our lives we won't be able to just pick up and go.

Now that the reality has sunk in I am giddy with excitement at the thought of spending a week in the Caribbean with my sweetie! The past two years we've taken some of my family along but this time (like the first) it's just us. No one to answer to. We are planning to have little to no plans other than morning sunrises, long days at the beach, a few hot dates and moonlight walks by the sea. We always take a day and ferry over to la Isla Mujeres. We will do that again this year. But other than that we just want to relax.

I am already dreaming of turquoise skies, aquamarine water, and white sand beaches. I can feel the hot sun warm my skin and the cool sea breeze give me goosebumps. I can taste the colorful cuisine and hear the waves lullaby me to sleep. In a way, vacations like this are pure torture. You go for a week of bliss and then return to sullen gray skies, brown everything, and dirty snow banks. Not to mention daily highs in the single digits. However, I am grateful to have had these opportunities and cannot wait to fall in love with the Caribbean all over again.

Hasta luego!

P.S. Amos graduates from his first round of obedience school tonight! He's come so far : )

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Right Place at the Right Time

My new project/challenge: handmade silver cabochons. Rings, cuffs, earrings, studs, pendants...I can't wait to really focus on doing all of this!

I was able to go visit one of the galleries I am in yesterday. The town it is in was having their holiday kick off event and so there were lots of people around. When I got to the gallery I, by chance and good timing, met a lovely customer for whom I have done some custom work. It was so fun to meet her! It was fun to see someone wearing my jewelry (who I didn't give it to personally). And it was fun to brainstorm for a custom necklace for her.

One of my dreams as a jewelry artist is to one day run into a complete stranger somewhere random like the grocery store who is wearing my jewelry. I suppose this encounter doesn't really count because we were actually at the gallery. Well, hopefully that will happen someday!

In regards to my last entry in getting back on track. Well, I'm still working on it. I did play around with some ideas. I am really looking forward to a productive week in the studio to further develop those ideas. I am also looking forward to a lunch date I have this week with a good friend/customer whom I haven't seen for a long time.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Getting Back in the Groove

I apologize that this will be a no-picture-post, again. I am sitting here keeping an eye on my sick puppy : ( He apparently has a tummy ache (I hope that is all). He has thrown up a couple of times (tmi) and won't eat or drink anything. He won't even eat treats. He keeps quaking like he's shivering. The vet said that could mean he is in pain. Poor baby. I am supposed to keep an eye on him today and if there is no improvement he's going in. I shutter when I think about how much money we have spent at the vet since getting Amos just over 2 months ago. Who knew dogs could be so expensive. I just hope he can get over this on his own. We still have to get him neutered...and that's not cheap.

I sure hope things have been busy at the galleries because business at the home office has been slow the past couple of weeks. I have been so busy getting everyone stocked up FOR the season and now that it is here I find myself with more time on my hands than I'm used to. Despite this extra time I have had I have hardly been in the studio lately. I've been busy taking photos, editing and listing to update my etsy shop and getting it ready to "do" more with. I have been enjoying this little break. My Christmas shopping is nearly finished and I feel pretty relaxed. But I know that things will pick up again. It always happens that way. I just kick myself when I do start to get busy again that I did not do more to prepare for it. So this week I am going to throw it into gear and start makin' jewelry. I am anxiously awaiting an order of turquoise cabs. I ordered a bunch off of ebay. I can't believe I am admitting to this, but it was the first thing I ever bought off of ebay. I hope it comes today. That would get me nice and motivated. Well, I've got to get going. Lots to do.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Landing on Two Feet

The phrase "leap of faith" just took on new meaning for me. My mom has wisely said upon many occasions that your 20's are some of the hardest years. That they are all about establishing yourself in every way, work/career; marriage; parenthood; home life; and personally. I think about what my twenties have been like so far and she couldn't be more right. Many trials and tribulations both in the world and in my soul have come to me throughout my twenties. It is hard to describe in words, but I wouldn't change anything so far. Every hardship has made me stronger and better able appreciate the joyful times. Like a master sculptor, my Maker has been chipping away at me with each of these moments, both the good and the not so good. And I am starting to see the shape He is giving me. It is an exciting unveiling!

Suddenly I am able to look back and see each of the times I have taken the leap. Sometimes I have jumped freely by my own free will. Other times I feel like I have been shoved off the edge. But I find myself standing on the edge again, ready to jump. However this time I am anticipating a better landing. A landing on two feet. I am not sure what has changed. But I like it. I feel great and excited to see what will come.

This Thanksgiving I am so grateful for too many things to write. First and foremost I am grateful for my faith. It has gotten me through! I am also grateful for my best friend/husband. He has gotten me through as well. I have never known such an inspiring person. His good example always lays before me. I am grateful for the talents and gifts God has given me. I still stand in awe of the fact that I have been given opportunities to let them flourish. What a blessing! And I am grateful for my family in whom I find the best friendship a person could ask for. I hope your Thanksgiving may be blessed and happy!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Shop Update Turned Shop Overhaul

A couple of days ago I decided to add some new work to my website. "Some" new work turned in to all new work. I didn't realize how many new designs I had! So my once hodge-podge etsy shop is finally starting to have a cohesive look. I have wanted that for my shop from the beginning but it always ended up being a dumping ground for gallery rejects or random new experiments. The 24th will be my year anniversary on etsy and I am now determined to fill 'er up with all new jewelry and an all new look.

I should have known it would take me this long to finally find a merchandising look I am happy with. I have almost gotten there a few times throughout the past year. I'd pull together new props and do a batch of new listings but then tire of the photos within a short period of time. That is how it always goes with design...home decor...wardrobe... It always takes me some time to find something I can really live with. So thanks for being patient with my ever changing "look". We'll see how long this one lasts. I hope I don't quickly tire of it's rustic simplicity.

I cannot believe another year has almost gone by. I remember last year right now pouring over FAQs on the etsy sellers page trying to learn and get the courage to open a shop. I am so glad I took the plunge and finally did it! I didn't know what to expect for sales or anything else. But I have had fun with the sales I have had and met a few wonderful etsians and been inspired beyond imagination. Here's to a new year (on etsy), a fresh look and a new effort. I hope this year brings twice as many learning experiences as the last.

Reflecting on my business in every other aspect over the past year makes me smile. To have my best year yet in these hard economic times really gives me hope for a good future for my little business. I hope and pray that I can keep my studio put for the time being (two major studio moves in the past year has played a toll on everything business related to be sure!). I love that it is right "there" and so easy to just pop in and start playing any time of the day or night. I hope I can continue to strengthen the relationships I have with some wonderful galleries/boutiques and maybe even find one or two more to entertain. I hope to continue having home parties and may even dabble in art fairs a little this next year. We'll see. I just want a year of stability, growth, and endless hours in my studio.

I am so excited for today. After I am done writing this novel I am going to list more jewelry. Then my sister is coming over and we're going to go hike around our favorite nature reserve. My other sister and her family are coming up from Chicago to stay for a few nights with us. Then me, my mom, three of my sisters (I have 6 sisters by the way, and one brother) and one of my sis' friends are all GOING TO SEE NEW MOON!!!!! I cannot believe I actually fought the urge to go see it yesterday. So, I better get going, there is jewelry to be listed, showers to take, hiking to do and movies to see. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Shop Update

I should be sleeping...but no, I am blogging. Huh? I thought I'd just show off some of what's new in my etsy shop. I've been listing all night and have lots left to do. Plus a lot of new jewelry yet to photograph and edit. And even more yet to make! Now if I can just avoid all of lifes distractions and spend some time in the studio.

I don't think I have kept my love of paisley a secret. I've got a whole bunch of paisley necklaces in the works. I expect there will be some paisley cuffs and rings in the near future. And possibly some earrings, we'll see.

My new Whisper Wishes charms. The by line is "wear your dearest wish close to your heart". A little sappy, but sweet. I like this one, the fish, leaf and bird are meant to represent each of Mother Natures eco systems. I think I have become a "tree hugger". Not only because my style (in almost every way) is leaning towards a rustic-nature yet feminine theme; but also because whenever I am at our local nature reserve I find myself literally hugging a tree. There is something therapeutic about doing that. Try it sometime (although my guess is that you already have at one point in your life).

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ooh la la!

As much as I LOVE my engagement and wedding rings, I have been itching to create a new rustically wonderful wedding set. I made time to play around in the studio today and created these rings. They turned out better than I hoped they would! And they have sentimental value. The three large gold balls were made out of my promise ring that Mike gave me while we were dating. It was a pretty little thing but the prongs which held the opal kept breaking and we gave up on having it repaired (this was before my jewelry making/repairing days of course). Ironically enough, the last time it broke was the morning after our wedding. I suppose that was appropriate since his "promise" was kept at that point : ) Anyway, the band has been sitting, stripped of it's stones, in a baggie in my supplies for years. I am glad to have finally done something with it. The three gold balls go with the tradition of representing our past, present, and future.

We have enjoyed a relatively relaxing weekend (finally). Days like today are numbered; it was sunny and somewhat warm so we took Amos to our local nature center to hike and explore. We packed a picnic, it was lots of fun. We decided to be adventurous and do a little off-trail exploring. We hiked, well, really we slid most of the way, down a steep hill down to a ravine that leads to the St. Croix river. Even Amos, who has the advantage of having 4 legs had a bit of a hard time making it down the hill. But we all made it in one piece. However, shortly after we got home I realized that one of my favorite bracelets was missing from my wrist. It most likely fell off while I was trying not to tumble down the hill. We're going to go look for it sometime this week. Hopefully the rain/snow we're supposed to get can hold off.

I am getting super excited to see New Moon this weekend!!! I'll be one of those people who sees it a couple of times I am sure...I'm such a dork : )

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Late Night Blogging

What a day! I finished up a bunch of jewelry for one of the galleries today. I am really looking forward to delivering it tomorrow.

This image is a bit blurry, but you get the idea. This is all going to Seasons on St Croix Gallery tomorrow in Hudson, WI.

I am sick AGAIN. What's up with that??? My mom is just getting over H1N1, luckily I don't have that. I just have a mild stomach flu. Just enough to keep me in bed half the day. However, I really can't complain that much. It's been cold and rainy; perfect cuddling-up-with-a-book weather. I picked up Twilight Saga: New Moon this morning. I need to get re-aquainted with the story since the movie is coming out next month (whoopeee!). I LOVE the Twilight books. I've read all but the second one at least twice. Yea, I'm one of "those" fans : ) New Moon isn't my favorite one...what's the point when Edward's not around, right? As much as I hope I can go to work tomorrow, I wouldn't mind another morning reading session! Actually, I really want to go back to work. I want to feel "human" again. You know - regular clothes, make-up, cute hair, and of course jewelry. I am getting tired of frumpy sweats. I am babbling now. Time to go to bed. Night.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Moved the Studio.......Again.

This weekend was absolutely nuts! It started Friday with me, Mike, and my dad moving my mom's office to a room upstairs. She has some pretty heavy and awkward furniture so it was very taxing work. But it was well worth it for many reasons. Her new space is very nice, it's like her stuff was made for the room. Another reason is because I got to take over her old office space to use as my studio!!! I really needed a better work space for my growing business. It is so nice to have all of my work stations in the same room again. And I have more room for organization, which I LOVE. I also have a nice, professional place for customers to come as well. It's good all around!

This is a before shot of my mom's office:
And here's the after, now my studio:
Ta Da!

I have lots of space for working now with all of my stones/supplies in easy reach. I still need to organize all of my stuff on the shelves above my tables. And I need some lighting. Ikea has great lighting solutions, I can't wait to go.

Again, I am in need of some lighting. My bench is a mess from my projects today. I made a couple of orders I received yesterday. I also played around with some new supplies. I turned an old plain hammered band into a rustic masterpiece! Well, maybe "masterpiece" is stretching it a little, but I do like the ring WAY more now. We'll see how long that love lasts. I tire of some things easily. It's in the tumbler at the moment...I'll see if it's shiny enough to take out...hold on a sec...
Good enough for now. I really like this ring! Well, I've gotta get going. Have a good night!

Friday, October 23, 2009


This October has been unseasonably rainy, snowy and cold. I actually don't mind, this time of year I'm ready for sweaters and thick socks. However, it does make it hard when you have a puppy who doesn't like it when it's cold and wet. Some days it's like pulling teeth to get him to go potty!

I had the ultimate disappointment this afternoon. I FINALLY found some supplies I've been looking for for a long time online. And I FINALLY found a company that has them is stock. I was hoping the order would arrive today in the mail, but it didn't. Bummer. There's always tomorrow (that's why I love when I can order USPS... they deliver Saturdays!). I really think it will be here tomorrow.

Studio news: tonight and tomorrow I will be helping my mom move some furniture around upstairs so that she can move her office up there. I then will get her old office space to use as my studio. THANK YOU MOM! I have had one 4' by 2' table to do all of my finishing work, packaging, storage, and all other business related work; it has been miserable and messy. But now I will have an entire space where I will have lots of room to work. Plus I'll be able to move my bench in from the garage. All of my tools are covered with dust and who-knows-what from my dad's projects. It will be a chore to clean everything up. We were going to convert the gardening shed into my studio this Fall, but I decided that it would end up costing too much when all is said and done. So that will probably be a project for the Spring (unless I really like having my space in the house, we'll see). Anyway, I cannot wait to have my new studio space all set up!

I am finally finished with all the custom orders from my sister's jewelry party a couple weeks ago. This is the last piece, it's all packaged up and ready to go to the post office. Now I can focus on making a bunch of jewelry for the galleries before the 30th. This has been my biggest month for sales yet for my little business!!! I am so excited about that, and to think it's only October. We still have all of the Holiday shopping yet to come. My fingers are crossed for a strong finish to the year.

I had some questionable reconstituted metal clay and decided to see how far I could push it. I got a lovely paisley stamp while in Chicago and made this HUGE pendant out of a part of it. The clay fired up good and strong so now I have to figure out what to do with this sucker! It's 2" by 1-1/2" and I think I want it to be a pendant. I considered making it into a cuff, but I'm not in love with that idea. I LOVE PAISLEY and am very excited to play around with some designs. I am drawing blank today so it'll just have to sit on my bench as is until lightening strikes. Any ideas???

Well, I'm going to go have a brainstorming session with my sketchbook, a fleece blanket and some hot chocolate. I love it when I can get all cozied up on cold days like this. I am looking forward to a quiet movie night with my love!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Carpenter's Nature Center

I don't work Fridays (whoohoo!) so this morning I took Amos to walk around Carpenter's Nature Center. I have fond memories of taking field trips here when I was in grade/middle school. But it was my sister who got me addicted to it as an adult. She comes here to walk around whenever chance allows. It is a beautiful and scenic place as well as a nature research center. I am lucky to live about 5 minutes away! Enjoy the photos!

I love these old, gnarled looking trees. There is a forest of them along one of the grass paths. They remind me of that scene in Wizard of Oz when they are in the apple orchard and the trees come to life. They look like they could be grumpy don't they!

Amos loved his first time at CNC! There was so much for him to sniff out. He was happy to be given a lot of slack to explore. He was very patient with all of my stopping to take pictures.

One of the scenic river overlooks. This is the beautiful St Croix river. If you look close you can see a black thing perched on one of the bare branches. This was a bald eagle, which I assume was patiently waiting for breakfast to come along. I wish I could have gotten a better picture of it.

I am always drawn to pictures of wooded pathways. I love this path at CNC because it is paved yet bumpy. It curves and meanders through the woods. And all of the cracks have bright green moss growing in them.

For some reason I love moss!?! I just think it is beautiful in all of it's shades of green (my favorite color). Someday I am going to have a flagstone pathway that leads from our house to my studio that has tons of moss growing between the stones. Someday...

Moss grows on everything here! Look at the beautiful chartreuse color of this batch.

Another wooded pathway. This one leads down to the St. Croix river. I love how it's covered with fallen leaves.

We are teaching Amos not to pull while on his leash by stopping and turning around (eventually he stops pulling and then we move on). Well, this is what I saw on one of the (many) anti-pulling stops. I thought this was a beautiful scene. A lone little tree glowing bright oragney-red (the pic doesn't do the colors justice of course) among muted fall tones. It made me think of my favorite scripture: "Let your light so shine among men that they may see your good works which glorify your Father which is in Heaven" -Mathew 5:16. This little bush sure is letting it's light so shine!

We finished off our explorations with this group of beautiful trees. I wish the colors reproduced more true, but you get the point.

It was such a beautiful and inspiring morning. The crisp, cool fall air made my nose and fingers freezing cold but the beauty around me filled my soul. I always feel so alive and rejuvenated while surrounded by nature; it is therapeutic for me. I am so grateful I live in such a beautiful area of the country where I can experience the beauty and wonder of all of Mother Nature's seasons.

Enjoy your day...I know I will!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

All Things Ethreal

Hi! I never did put a picture of all my lucky finds at the gem show Monday. Between the new puppy and being sick I haven't had a lot of spare time on my hands. I found these beautiful, GIANT freshwater coin pearls at the show and *drool* I fell in love immediately! I couldn't wait to get one set into something. So this is what I accomplished today between taking puppy out to go potty/play and resting because I'm a bit under the weather.

I have always been a HUGE fan of the night sky. I love love love the moon, especially when it's huge and full glowing in all of its silvery splendid glory. I have spent many a night absolutely mesmerized by the stars and entranced by the moon. I thought these pearls are the perfect tribute to 'her'. They measure about 5/8" in diameter give or take. I have been into large, chunky rings lately so this one is very exciting since pearls (my favorite) don't usually come this large. The beaded sterling bands twinkle around the 'moon' like stars. I LOVE this ring and hope it does well in my shop!

This bracelet is a tribute to the shallows of the Caribbean Sea. Like the moon, I am in love with the Caribbean. The colors are unreal (especially since I have lived in the Mid-West my entire life). The shallows of the Caribbean can be perfectly described as aquamarine. This bracelet is full of aquamarine, aqua beryl, aventurine and freshwater pearls. It's two strands and just the right touch of rustic.

I hope I feel better tomorrow so that I can spend more time out creating things. It sounds like I will have my studio (gardening shed turned studio) sooner than I expected. I've mentioned in past posts that we have been thinking of buying my parents house next summer. Well, unless something freak happens, we have decided that we are going to do it. I need more space to work and Amos needs a better location for his kennel. We'll move him to where my beading/finishing area is in our room. I cannot wait to have a building all to myself where I have all my tools, photo area, and everything else all in one place. Let's hope it's done SOON.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

New Addition!

I'd like to introduce you to the newest addition to our little Amos! We've been looking into getting a boxer for a while now but didn't think it would happen so soon. Mike found an add online yesterday afternoon that was a deal to good not to take advantage of. Amos is 12 weeks old and came with lots of benefits (kennel trained, sleeps through the night, socialized, etc). We picked him up this afternoon and have had a wonderful day together. Enjoy the pictures!

This is Amos and his mama Bella. She has she sweetest temperament and we are learning that he really takes after her. He is so social and such a little love bug! We haven't heard a peep as far as barking goes.

All tuckered out at cute is that!?!

Falling asleep in the car. He did such a good job for his first time in the car. He handled it like a pro!

He needed a drink of water before going to his first art fair. He buried his face as far as it would go into the cup to get every last drop, it was adorable! Today was his first time on a leash and he barely started to get the hang of it. He'd start walking with us but as soon as he caught a glimpse of the leash he'd sit right down and just stare at it. Boxers are famous for their intelligence so I'm sure he'll catch on soon. We are assembling his new kennel at the moment and then it's out to go potty and into bed for little Amos!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Hot Off the Bench!

Hi everyone! Here are pictures of some new jewelry I've been making. Both items are spoken for. The first is a large, chunky turquoise ring. I LOVE IT!!! It is so comfortable, which is surprising since it's so large.

This is a very unique and quite expensive stone. It is called Rock Butte Jasper. I got it at the last gem show and intended to keep it for myself, but like always I fall out of love quickly with such things. My good friends mother saw it a few months ago and laid claim. I set it in a very simple pendant as to not compete with the stone itself. I am very pleased with the turn out!

I thought it was funny how you can see the reflection of the light in the stone! Whoops!

Well, I am soon off to spend the afternoon with a girlfriend of mine. Chipotle here we come! Our plan was to go bum around charming downtown Hudson, WI but it's pouring rain so we'll see. I love cool rainy days like this every now and then though. It's just too bad that they seem to come on the days I can't just curl up in some sweats and read or watch a movie. Oh well.