Tuesday, February 15, 2011

February Blog Challenge - Change

One of my Etsy teams has a monthly blog challenge. This month the topic is change. So I started thinking about my own attitude toward change.

Sometimes change is good like a new job when you aren't fulfilled in an old one, a new hairstyle or seasons changing. It's also good when we change our attitude toward something to a more positive or more accepting one. Sometimes change is hard. I do not like moving. I don't like cleaning out and packing up a house and I especially don't like leaving familiar places and old friends. However, sometimes moving turns out to be positive. It gives you a chance to meet new friends, face new challenges and experience new places.

I handle change in different ways depending on whether I am initiating the change or if it is forced on me. Of course I prefer the changes that I am initiating, but when change is forced on me I try to look at the good and the bad sides of it. I try to decipher what I can control and what I have to accept. Given time I usually realize that overall the change has turned out to be ok.

So I will close with a couple of pictures and a quote. The first picture I took in my garden last summer and the second I found on the internet.

Monarch Butterfly larva eating milkweed.

Mature Monarch

If nothing ever changed there'd be no butterflies - Author Unknown

Other blogs participating in the challenge:

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ready and Waiting for Spring

It has already been a long winter and we have several weeks to go. So I'm starting to think about spring and I remembered these really cool pictures my husband took last year. I love bluebirds. They are one of my favorite birds. They often frequent our yard. I even saw a pair in the yard the other day. They usually nest in the two sided cedar house in the middle of my flowerbed, but one day we saw one checking out the Maine lobster buoy birdhouse I bought when we last visited Maine. I love the way the blue in the bird matches the house. So here are some pics for you to enjoy. Think Spring!!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Slowly Catching up with Technology

Goodbye Old Dinosaur Phone. May you rest in peace.

So this past year has been my year for technology. Last Christmas my husband gave me a Garmin. For a while I didn't really think I needed one, but it has come in very handy when I've been traveling out of town. This past fall he bought Nooks for both of us. My friends have had Kindles for a while and I thought I would never want an e-reader. I thought I would miss holding a book and turning the pages. Then I started thinking about all those books sitting on the bookshelf collecting dust and the time it takes to sort through them and haul them off to Goodwill or whatever. So I now have my Nook and I love it. The other night I finished my current book and I had nothing to read. I just went to the shop icon and started browsing all the options. I picked one, clicked on it and like magic it was downloaded onto my reader. No trips to the bookstore, nothing to store - and best of all when traveling it takes up very little space and weighs next to nothing.

My next technology upgrade came at Christmas. I have never had an Ipod or MP3 player. When I work out at the gym I usually watch whatever is on the TV. As I've been spending more time in my basement studio I realized having some music while I work would be nice, so I asked Santa for an Ipod and a docking station with speakers so I could have music while I work and "Santa Hubby" came through. I got a little time Nano and a docking station. I now have something to entertain me while I solder and hammer away. I've been taking my Nano to the gym,too, and I didn't realize how much it would help me stay on track while working out.

Look how cute!!

My final upgrade was a new phone. I think my current phone was about 4 or 5 years old maybe even older. I've been researching which type of phone to get next. I really didn't want a data plan, because I just don't need to surf the web and get e-mails remotely. Then, ATT decided to sell the Iphone 3G for $49. I just couldn't pass up such a deal. I am loving it. I can text easily now which was next to impossible on my old phone. I've gotten some really cool apps. Some were even free. The one I am using the most is the Livestrong app. I've been struggling with my weight more and more as I approach the big 5 0 and I hate counting calories. With this app, I put in my food everyday and it keeps up with my calories. I can also put in my fitness and those calories are subtracted. I set it up for how much weight I want to lose a week and it tells me how many calories a day I can eat. I am amazed at how quickly calories can add up. I think this is really going to help me with this battle. The other app I love - a free one - I love is the shopping list. I put in my grocery store list and just look at it while I'm shopping. No more writing on note paper and leaving it at home.

I think I'm all set for a while as far as technology is concerned but you never know.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ruby's Gift Selwyn

You get a bonus today. A double post. Be sure and scroll down for today's second article.

I'm working at the Selwyn store today so I thought it would be nice to feature it. Ruby's gift is a gift store featuring local artists and other unique items. Items from local artists include jewelry, pottery, painting, photography, hand bags, hats, and many more fun items. I am so excited to sell my work here. It opened in December and is constantly being discovered by new shoppers.

This is the lovely sitting area in the store. These chairs are handmade by a local artist. Aren't they adorable!!

Some of the cases in the store.

This is my jewelry display.

Jewelry from my friends Debbie Winchester.

Creative wall hangings from Scott Partridge and wood turnings by Dwight Hartsell.

Handmade hats and hand bags.

Adorable pincushions by Caroline Driggs of Carolina Creative Arts

As you can see this is a very bright cheerful shop with lots of great artists represented.

Ruby's Gift Selwyn is located in Charlotte, NC at 2910 Selwyn Avenue.

January is for Snow and Garnets

January's birthstone is the Garnet. I had some beautiful garnets on hand that I blogged about last week. For some time now, I have had a sketch for a pendant using them. I finally got to work on the pendant. I finished it this past Sat. and put it in the Jewelry Artists of Charlotte store. Of course I was rushing out the door to take it to the store and forgot to take pictures of it. I finally got out of the house yesterday and shot some photos at the store. They are not the best but you can get an idea of how it looks.

January has been snowy so far. For some reason my dog Gigi loves to eat snow. She begged to go out on the deck just to eat the snow. I made her wear her sweater which she does not like. When she came back in her legs were caked with snow. What a mess!

When she was all finished she begged to come back in. This was a really fun game for her, but not so fun for me.

She wore her new Christmas sweater on this outing. Notice the snow covered nose and beard.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New Year's Goals

I'm using the word goals instead of resolutions. Since resolutions just seem to be forgotten and broken. I have been thinking about things I'd like to do better this New Year. Maybe putting it all in writing will help me stick with it.

Of course, there's the usual - exercise more, lose weight ...

Now I have this challenge from the Chatty Metalsmiths thread on Etsy to blog once a week. Since I obviously don't blog regularly this might be a great way to get me to use this blog I created ages ago.

But I really have been reflecting on my jewelry design business and where I would like to go with it. I've been thinking about the areas where I can improve to help it be more profitable.

This past year has been good in that I now sell my jewelry in 3 local stores. My sales in those stores have been pretty good. This past fall I changed my business name and opened a new Etsy store. My online sales traditionally have not been all that great, especially since I changed shops so I took all my inventory out of my store. I hope to start replenishing my Etsy store soon and continue to add designs to the local stores.

So what do I need to do this year to make this a business that truly makes income.

1. I have to be more fiscally responsible. In the past I have purchased supplies - stones, tools, silver etc - whenever I pleased. I have such a surplus of supplies, but I always seem to find another stone I can't live without. So my goal is to use more of what I already have. I have stopped going to the little bead shows that come to town. Lately they haven't had any quality merchandise anyway. So before I get online or run out to the bead store I'm going to look at my stash and see what I can create from that.

2. Spend more time on new design ideas.

3. Try to keep my studio straightened and better organized. This is not my favorite task. I'd rather just create but I spend a lot of my time looking for tools that are hiding under something or moving things around because my work space is covered up. I know I'd save valuable time if I kept the area clean and tidy.

4. Make a list and prioritize projects. I seem to be very scattered when it comes to projects. I get stones out and work on designs then I push that aside and work on something else. I took out several bags of stones that have been lying around waiting to be used and I made a numbered list of projects I want to complete. Maybe by next week I'll have some projects to post about.

So here's my current working list.

I have these great little garnets that I want to set in a pendant. Since the birthstone for Jan is the garnet, it's a great time to use them.

I've had these Chrysocolla cabs for a while. My plan was to make a multi-stone bracelet. I keep pulling them out looking at them and setting them aside. They are finally going to become a bracelet. I may even attempt hinged connections for them.

I love this ruby quartz and faceted ametrine together. I have a pendant planned for these.

Finally I have these Star of India or diopside stones. I couldn't catch the sweet little star in them. The little ones will be earrings and the larger ones might be rings.

So there, I have put my goals and my project list in writing. Hopefully this will help me stick to my goals.

Till next week. Happy New Year.