Saturday, January 31, 2009

Expanding My Horizons

I've had a huge response to the One World/One Heart Giveaway, and I loved reading all the comments from those interested in winning my turquoise necklace. So far, it's more than 250 comments - how amazing! I am thrilled to be a part of this worldwide event.

Now my whine:

Working on maintaining a website is a ton of work, and I'm seeing that the gain does not warrant the amount of work it takes to keep it up and current. It is a great networking tool and I would not want to take it down, but it is time-consuming. I have a few pieces on Etsy but no sales. I signed up for ArtFire but haven't used it. It seems complicated and not as user friendly as Etsy. So I'm going to post some more items on Etsy - new pieces that I've made, as well as jewelry supplies that I purchased but haven't used. I've thought of doing this for a while, but have not felt motivated to do it. It seems important to figure out what is keeping me from being pro-active about this. I can come up with a list of reasons, but none seem quite right. I would love to be able to blame the weather, lack of motivation, being too busy, etc. The truth is I really don't know what the issue is. I need to get a handle on this, or I will sink deeper into non-action. Needing my muse to show herself!

Humm, sounds a bit like depression doesn't it? I am not aware of being depressed, but will need to watch out. Depression has not been a part of my experience but that doesn't necessarily mean anything. I am a psychotherapist by training and I believe I have the ability to spot depressive symptoms, but it is more difficult to see it in yourself than in others. I do know that this is a difficult time of year for me, full of memories of my mother getting ill on her birthday which was March 5, and my brother dying from lung cancer on March 3. Much as I wish I was someone who could push feelings away, I'm not able to that easily - so here I sit thinking about these two important losses in my life. Wow, writing this was so helpful. Once I wrote this I realized how this is a very difficult time of year for me - and I need to give myself a break and stop being so hard on myself.

On a lighter note, here are pictures of a new set I made that will be posted on Etsy. I must say that I love the colors! My muse is around, just difficult to access sometimes!

Grey Agate, faceted Amethyst. Hill Tribe Silver:

Personal Giveaway

I am having a giveaway on my website for those that may be interested. I am trying to expand my mailing list - will send out infrequent newsletters, notices of specials and giveaways, etc. For those that sign up, you will be entered into my first giveaway which will happen on February 8, 2009. I am giving these wonderful earrings that I recently made. I will use a random number generator to choose a winner. Go to my website - and complete the mailing list form on the bottom of the main page. Here is a picture of the earrings: They are made from Black Agate & Swarovski Crystals with Sterling Silver Findings

Monday, January 26, 2009

Lemonade Award Winner, Yep, that's Me!

I've not won many awards in my life - guess I had too much fun and didn't "try" hard enough to excel. And now I've won the Lemonade Award, bestowed on me by ChezChani. From what I gather the rules are quite simple. 1.Put the logo on your blog or post 2.Nominate at least 10 blogs that show great Gratitude and/or Attitude. 3.Be sure to list and link your nominees within your post. 4.Let them know they have received this award by leaving a comment on their blog. 5.Nominate your favorites and link to your post. This wonderful honor is now given to the following bloggers, all of whom have enriched my life. Many of these bloggers probably don't know that I follow their ramblings.... Dawn Jennifer Carolee Erin Mei Lainer Gera Linda Lori Robyn Whew! That was tough.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Back to Work! Finally

I must have been really exhausted after my busy months of November and December because it was such a struggle to start producing again. Finally yesterday the muse seems to have returned and I have been able to make a few pieces that I am pleased with. I have been struck by the huge response of the OWOH giveaway - having received over 130 requests to be entered in the draw for my turquoise necklace. I really didn't know what to expect as this was the first year for me. I never expected such a big response - I thought maybe 30 or so folks would be interested. This truly is an exceptional event - I've loved checking out everyone's blogs - such variety and creativity. It's been a blast. This event makes the world seem smaller and more accessible. I love that. Here are the pieces I've made - all three necklaces are perfect for Valentine's Day:
Freshwater Pearls & Sterling Silver Earrings:
Black Agate, Freshwater Pearls and Hill Tribe Silver Necklace:
Natural Freshwater Pearls, Faceted Garnet & Sterling Silver Earrings:
Natural Freshwater Pearls, Faceted Garnet & Hill Tribe Silver Necklace:
Cranberry Freshwater Pearls & Hill Tribe Silver Necklace:

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Oh what a day! One that will be remembered by me forever - I cannot believe this has happened in my lifetime. Barack Obama - President of the United States!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Can You Tell I Haven't Been Producing?

I noticed (even though I've tried not to!) that I haven't posted any new jewelry for quite some time. Seem to be blocked, or at least slowly returning from two very busy months. Rather than give myself a hard time for not producing, I've decided it's okay to work on the "behind the scenes" aspects of this business. Therefore I've been working on the website, chatting on my groups about blogs, twitter, and how to be more visible in the world wide web, and fixing pieces for others. I am having a giveaway on February 1st and am planning what to make for this. Should be fun. But, given that I am not producing much - I am very aware of the changes in the weather here in New England. Yesterday it snowed, today the sun is out and it's 30 degrees - absolutely balmy. We had a piece of snow hang off our deck that seemed amazing so I took some photos. Once I was taking photographs, I took a few of our mountain that I see out of my living room window - Mt. Tom - which is part of the Holyoke Range. I'm in love with my mountain, even though it's pretty small. Elaine calls it Mt. Terry, which makes me smile.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Oh the cold

It is true that my ability to handle the cold has changed dramatically as I've aged. I used to consider myself a hardy woman who could handle pretty much anything. No longer. The cold seems to settle in my bones. My studio used to be a three seasoned porch and it has little insulation and only a layer of linoleum on a concrete floor. Even with the fireplace it has been too cold to work. It has made it difficult to get back to beading after the holidays. Today I did some resizing for folks and made a pair of earrings for a woman who wants gold filled earrings which isn't something I usually do. But the creative juices aren't flowing. I am asking people to sign up for my email newsletter on my website. I am offering giveaways, the first one will be February 1. I've decided that I will make something new and special for the first one. I have lots of ideas floating around and will begin working on it once the weather warms up a bit. It is supposed to get warmer during the week. Funny to think of temperature in the 20's to be warm. My dogs have a hard time outside because their feet freeze. Eddie, my baby, can't walk once his feet get cold and I need to go get him. Good thing we can keep them in a small area in the backyard - if I had to make it to the backend of the yard I would be sliding down the hill. I am posting pictures of the two dogs for those who love dogs. Eddie is a Jack Russell/Shih Tzu mix and a rescue with lots of weird quirks. Diesel is a pure breed Tibetan Spaniel and he is supposed to be able to handle 40 below temperature without freezing. Not true! I have always had large dogs and I used to be disdainful of small dogs. Now that I have these two, I can't imagine my life without them. Yes, they bark too much, demand attention sometimes when I want quiet, etc. But they bring so much joy and unwavering love - my life is fuller because they are in it.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Well, today is my birthday. They are not as much fun as they used to be. Instead of being a time of celebration they have become a time to be aware of losses. Having lost my brother and my mother within the last four years, I find myself hyper-aware of no birthday card or wishes from either of them, and they were both 100% consistent with sending best wishes and letting me know that I was loved. So I thought early this morning once Elaine left for work that I would spend the day moping about. Luckily that didn't happen. I received numerous phone calls from friends and family, was able to focus on getting my paperwork in order for my meeting tomorrow with my law student interns who are going to help me with business incorporation and registration, and generally enjoying the day. It was a Bob Dylan day. I love Dylan and can listen to his music for hours on end. I also spoke with a woman who had sought me out at a craft fair, having seen my jewelry in a local pagan shop. She is a long-time jewelry maker who moved to Easthampton from New Jersey. We hit it off, having similar views about jewelry making, sharing information and ideas, and the need for beads..... We are going to get together next Monday to talk about the possibility of forming a Beading Society in this area. There are a lot of artists in the Happy Valley, but I don't believe there is a beading society. Surprising. It will be an interesting undertaking if we choose to move ahead with it. Just to have someone to talk beads with, work with, possibly do shows with, is wonderful. I am so isolated here in my studio, even though I choose it and love it. When the possibility came to work closer with someone else - yeah - I jumped at the chance. I guess the isolation gets to me some of the time. Plus she makes me laugh. So my prediction for me, now that I have reached 58, is that this is going to be an interesting year - as a new grandmother, with a new president, work challenges, and growth. I embrace it!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Wonderful Opportunity Comes My Way

I sold at a craft show in early December and met a woman who told me that she works at WNEC (Western New England College) in the Law Department and is part of a program that pairs law students with folks who have small businesses in need of legal help/advice. She asked if I would be interested in getting an application, and I was very interested. I have wanted to incorporate my business, develop a better business plan, and register my business name. I sent in my application and heard two days ago that I've been accepted. I now have two law students who are going to work with me during this semester. As a part of their education I have become their client. What a great opportunity for me. I guess I will need to pay filing fees and such, but the legal help is free. Hopefully it will lead to being able to apply for small business loans. Even more importantly it will help me get focused on the business end of my business. I keep all my receipts and sales, but tax season is always stressful because I don't follow a plan - meaning I spend a lot more than I make. I never seem to feel that I have enough supplies, there is always a finding I haven't tried yet, gemstones I just have to have - and I need to slow it down. I have committed myself to keeping my records for 2009 up-to-date which should help me know how much is going out and coming in. Of course my main computer is still being repaired so I have some receipts that have not been entered but it's still early in the year and should not be a problem catching up. Wish me luck - I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Studio Life

Today was to be the day I started working in my studio again. I've spent the past two weeks fiddling with my website, adding items to Etsy, and trying to better organize the tons of beads and supplies that I have in my studio. Well, it seems that it's not to be. I have gotten caught up in Twitter, reading others' blogs, and generally finding any excuse not to sit down and get focused. So instead, I've taken pictures of my website to show you all how I organize my beading world. Given that I live in the cold Northeast, you can see that I have both a working fireplace and a plug-in heater to try and stay warm. My studio used to be a three-season porch and the floor under the linoleum is concrete. When it is cold outside, as it has been for the past two weeks, my studio is so cold my feet never warm up. Elaine and I talk about moving somewhere warmer, but it's just talk. Both of us love it here and it does warm up - eventually. I am thinking of starting to sell beading supplies through Etsy. I have so much stock - have had many fantasies about opening a bead store - but you all know how well they all seem to be doing! I just need to start doing it instead of thinking ABOUT doing it. If I can take pictures of my studio, I surely can take pictures of my overstock. Doesn't seem quite the same though. If my creative block continues I will seriously need to think of other ways to bring in some cash. My daughter is coming over tonight for dinner and usually when she is here I get motivated. I think sometimes my blocks are connected to working alone all the time. There is something to be said for working with others. I am planning on linking up with a couple of new women in this area - one who has been a beader for many years, and another who is a polymer clay artist who recently moved back to New England from the south. She has been instrumental in starting a Polymer Clay Guild in this area. Isolation is a funny thing. On the one hand I love working alone at home, but at times the isolation is too extreme. Reminds me of being a psychotherapist in private practice, alone in my office without social contact. I didn't really like it there either, especially after the first two years. Oh yes, and how could I forget to say that my computer is in the shop needing a replacement video card. I haven't had my iMac since Monday and I feel lost. It's the first thing I see when I go into the studio - the space where my iMac should be. I listen to music all the time when I am working and of course my music is on my computer. I am a music junkie and have a hard time living without it.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Sometimes It's Hard to Let Pieces Go!

I've sold some of my favorite pieces in the past couple of weeks, and when I look at them on my website, I am struck by the struggle I feel sometimes letting go. It's almost like I want to sell what I don't like too much and keep the rest so that I can continue to look at them. It's funny - in a previous life I was an antique dealer. I would go to swap meets, garage sales, auctions to buy merchandise. Very often I would find something and think "I need to keep that for me!" So home it would go and I would keep it for a bit of time, but I always reached a point where I could let it go and then it would go to my shop. It doesn't work the same with jewelry - for one, I don't keep pieces out so I don't regularly see them. Also, I tend not to wear jewelry that I've made to sell and I don't live much of a life outside of my studio so I rarely wear much jewelry anyway. I don't know if others struggle with this also - doesn't seem to talked about much on the email lists I am on that are beading related but I can't imagine I'm the only one? I have some stores that take jewelry on consignment. I actually caught myself once or twice sending off pieces I wasn't attached to and keeping the others here. It's funny when I catch myself doing that because the bottom line is that this is a business and I need to sell in order to survive. Once I realized what I was doing I would push myself to send some of my favorites. Of course just because I love a piece doesn't mean others will. I've learned over time that folks have different tastes than me and often like or want pieces that I am not that drawn to. That's what keeps it all interesting. So I've posted a few of my more recent favorite pieces that have sold.