‘sweet on you’

Good morning, blog readers. Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and apparently, no one is shopping for it. At least not with me. If they are, they had better shake a leg, or their sweetheart is going to be sorely disappointed come Friday. One of the newest items in the shop. Super girly…couldn’t help myself!

some developments

In an attempt to climb out of the Etsy doldrums, I decided to reach out to a potential mentor. She was very receptive, and I now have a sounding board for how to work the Etsy machine. Along with tweaking my photography, I am tackling a slow and steady SEO rework on my listing tags and titles. This should keep me busy for a couple of months!

In addition, I have been making a ton of treasuries (those of you who follow me on social media are painfully aware of this!), in an effort to drum up some reciprocation. It is a necessary evil, but it gives me an opportunity to pay it forward to some of my Etsy buddies who also need some added exposure. I am hopeful that it won’t be too long before I begin to see some payoff for all this effort! Etsy itself may not appreciate my style of jewelry, but there are plenty of people who do.Image

These beauties are available here.

still chugging along

still here, y’all!

boy, i am never quite prepared for the new year…i still have all my bookkeeping to do for tax season, and my workspace is a straight-up disaster. i have a lot of ideas and plans swimming about in my head right now. ideas for new jewelry designs and techniques, brainstorming about what to do with my eggs aside from etsy, and how to focus my efforts into streamlining my work from start to finish.

the whole etsy thing continues to be a heartbreak for me, as i see more and more dissatisfied customers post in the forums about how they were duped by take-your-money-and-run shops, or by fake handmade items. etsy has chased after an audience that was not tailored to its core values. as a result, etsy is now bursting at the seams with resellers, and customers who just see it as another ebay or amazon.

as much as i like to hope that somehow, things will swing the other way, i can’t delude myself into thinking that my work will ever be visible enough there to grow my business.

whew! that was crazy!

ok, i had reaaaaallly good intentions of blogging before my holiday show, but i was a bit delusional then. i’m all better now. promise.

the show was wonderful! i met so many lovely people who are dedicated to making and shopping handmade. i am hopeful that some of the happy shoppers will return to shop with me online, and that i can contribute more to the network of awesome peeps who showed up. i’m not really thrilled with my smartphone photos, so i won’t show you the depths of my genius setup. i will tell you that my husband built me some awesome displays that got tons of compliments. the whole thing still needs some finessing, but i was pretty happy with how quickly i was able to set up and tear down.

i will also say that i am very grateful that i worked so hard to build stock for the show, even though i didn’t quite reach the unrealistic goals i had in mind. this is the most stock i have had on hand since before i got pregnant (and horribly sick) with my daughter. it has really helped with my stress level, since christmas shopping is so thrown off this year by a late thanksgiving. a bunch of items in my etsy shop are marked READY TO SHIP, and it puts a smile on my face when i can just grab the piece and package it up immediately!

there is still time to shop with me before christmas hits! i can also upgrade your order to priority mail, so convo me through the ‘contact’ link in the listing, if you need it quick!

i am looking forward to the new year, as i already have some new concepts and techniques filling my head. i am also hoping to get a bunch of old supplies listed to sell, so i can begin clearing out my stash! trying not to get too delusional about how much i can accomplish once the holiday season is over. haha!

it looks like spring in here…

i have been busy, busy, busy…furiously ramping up stock production on the more intricate pieces in my shop. looking at the volume of what i have produced is pretty awe-inspiring, considering how little i enjoy assembly-line style creating. repetitious work tends to wear me out, as i would rather be creating something new.

alas, it must be done, and i am sure to benefit from having this many goodies ready to ship for the holiday season! take a peek at what i have been up to:

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that’s a whole lot of miniature bouquets made from really cool vintage enamel flowers…the type used to make old costume jewelry. they will be adorning these:

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together, they form the focal pieces for the ‘delicate tattoo’ necklaces that always get a ton of attention (and sales!) in my shop. you can find them here. there aren’t a bunch in stock right now, but there will be soon, so keep an eye out!

and sew it begins…

i have been busy prepping for my upcoming craft fair in december. (here’s a link to the facebook event page…if you’re local, i would love to see you there!)

yesterday, my buddy liz and i made a quick trip to the Garment District in Los Angeles to scout some supplies for my booth, and found this gorgeous cotton embroidered ribbon. i am no seamstress, and this stuff frays like the devil, but i am determined to make it work. i love its shabby chic look! if it doesn’t get the better of me, i will hopefully have a really fab decoration for my table!

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crystals and glass

my jewelry line has evolved greatly since i opened my shop on Etsy in 2008. however, one of the earring styles that i have made for several years now is a dangle made of glass beads from the Czech Republic, clustered with Swarovski crystals. i love how chic and versatile they are, and can dress up any outfit. it is a style that appeals to many of my customers, since it has some sparkle, but doesn’t make too big a statement.

cluster earring process_2 clusterearringprocess_1

i also love that the color possibilities and combinations are endless! i am working on a bunch of them to bring with me to my holiday boutique, as they are a steady seller, and reasonably priced, of course, which means you can take home a few variations without breaking the bank. you can find them here in my shop.

an undesired manicure

well, it’s official. two of the adjacent properties to ours are now vacant. and being flipped, apparently, as the sounds of renovation have become a daily occurrence. the house just behind us went first, which i can’t say upset me much, since the tenants were hoarders and unwitting beekeepers, apparently. (wild bees were building a hive on the back corner of their house and drifting over to drink out of my potted plants.)

the emptying of the second house has had a more notable effect on me, however. our backyard is home to a glorious old cork oak that shades not only our yard, but those of the rear adjacent homes. and well, part of its glorious charm was that it was a little unkempt and massive. a portion of the renovation in house number two has included the pruning back of our well-meaning giant into a more respectable volume. it breaks my heart a little to see the light breaking through above the fence, since it means that the very busy street now features more prominently in our backyard view. plus, my little haven there in that back corner where our hammock hangs is a little less welcoming with all that horrible, wholesome sunshine.

i can’t help it. it bums me out.

am i allowed to blog on the weekends?

well, yes, i guess…as long as the toddler permits it. this morning should do fine, as i am up FAR earlier than i typically am, and she is nestled in her bed. (feet to the pillow, i might add…just one of her nightly migrational habits that make us fear the implications of transitioning her to a big-girl bed.)

i can explain my early rising by telling you that i have so much going on in my head these days, that i am amazed i get to sleep at all without a shot of horse tranquilizer to my haunches every night. shall i try to list them for you? most tangible and nearest in the horizon first:

1. craft fair preparation. i was accepted to my first ‘real’ holiday craft boutique a couple of weeks ago. (there were more applicants than spaces, mind you, so i feel somewhat accomplished already.) the event takes place on december 8, and, having never tackled something of this dimension, i am finding myself a little adrift. it does not help in the slightest that i am a perfectionist, and have such delusions of grandeur that i picture in my mind the following scenario: upon seeing the glory of my setup and branding prowess, no one will believe that this is my first time doing it. one of the pitfalls of being a perfectionist, at least in my case, is that i also tend to procrastinate. which is, i suppose, a blog topic all its own.

2. domesticity. i struggle with it. and every time i square up to tackle it, i end up a little overwhelmed. being a planner is not something that comes easy to me. see number 1.

3. motherhood. i have a toddler. i could stop there, and a whole multitude of women would bow their heads in solemn solidarity. but i am thinking of having another one. the journey from point a to point b is fraught with a plethora of stumbling blocks. one of which, being my weight. i have been making some solid inroads toward this goal, but it is time to step up my game. i am aware of this. a second, finances. we are pretty much a one income family, though i am trying my darndest to make this jewelry thing a winner. amongst the many others, the most gut-wrenching (quite literally, i can assure you) obstacle to subsequent procreation is the haunting memory of my first pregnancy, in which you watched me become a shell of a person who spit excess saliva into a cup all day long and puked every night. seriously…do you really want to see what happens when you throw a toddler into the mix? i shudder just thinking about it. yet, i can’t seem to help myself. i am twisted like that.

which brings me to the present, wherein i am nursing a cup of coffee in the growing daylight, and trying to sort through some of this madness. time to pour another cup.

branching out

i have received encouragement to become a blogger from various people, but i always considered myself too busy, ill-equipped, uninteresting, or…you name it.

i was first and foremost a maker, but my penchant for ‘spinning yarns’ was a close second to bud. (fiction comes easily to children when they have been caught doing something they shouldn’t!) my creativity takes many forms, but creating the descriptions in my etsy shop listings give a nod to my writing self. wait, etsy, you ask? oh, yes…i am a maker, remember? i make jewelry with a vintage flair, and i LOVE doing it.

etsy has been an exciting catalyst for both my creative selves, and i have spent the last five years cultivating my shop and evolving my aesthetic. but like all bright and shiny things, it has begun to lose its luster. created as a unique marketplace that fostered the handmade culture, etsy provided a meaningful connection between seller and buyer through features like chat (which etsy removed, to the detriment of all, a few years ago), and the forums, which bear little resemblance to the useful and varied platforms they once were. most recently, etsy erased and redrew its boundaries to include sellers who outsourced their production to factories.

it is a sad state of affairs, and an utter heartbreak to me and many of my etsy peers, who honestly believed that etsy would never succumb to the pressure of bigger business. following etsy’s announcement of their ‘redefinition of handmade,’ the CEO has disappeared back into the woodwork and remained almost completely silent, while millions of small-scale makers grapple with the upheaval of a place we called home.

which leads me to this, the creation of a blog. a place where hopefully, i can begin to process my disappointment and fears…and my hopes and dreams for the future.

are you with me? let’s do this thing.