Monday, December 17, 2007
To offer a quick rundown - my husband was in the ER with kidney stone pain and then had surgery a day later (still recovering - nasty - I won't go into details on this). This is his third surgery for kidney stones in the past few years. He's doing OK but is really uncomfortable and cannot exercise heavily or lift over five pounds.
Last week my beloved collie, who has seizures, had a cluster seizure - basically seizing every six hours. Ran her to the vet, who then recommended we take her to Boston to get the seizures under control. After much worry, stress, an evening in the Critical Care Unit and a neurological consult, she is home again and seems to be doing well (although with her legs shaved she looks like a poodle!)
On top of all of this, we are getting slammed with snow in the Northeast (and I know this is also happening in other parts of the country). I've had several nights that I've gone home and spent a couple of hours just clearing our driveway. The piles of snow are now waist high (or higher) and I'm not really sure where I'll pile it if more comes our way. The good news: there WILL be a white Christmas!
My little Etsy shop has taken somewhat of a back seat during this time. However, please know that I will be back blogging and visiting your blogs as soon as things at home calm down a bit.
I wish you all a wonderful holiday season with your families and friends!
Thursday, November 29, 2007
(beginning of 3rd row)
(also beginning of 3rd row)
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
My latest items:
And how is your busy holiday season progressing?
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
This year my two brothers decided to pay me a visit after the holiday. My younger brother, Scott, had spent the holiday with my Mom in Maine and was on his way back to his family in Wisconsin. My older brother, Danny, drove down from Maine with his family - I had a full house! Isn't that what the holidays are all about?
We had fun shopping and chatting and arguing (good-naturedly of course!) - I really do miss not having my family close by and this time of year it really catches up to me. Now that they've returned to their homes, my house is feeling a bit empty and Amber (re: collie) is looking a bit glum since she's not getting all of the attention she had over the weekend.
OK - now to post a couple of my new pieces of jewelry - more to come!
My stone and crystal sterling necklace
and my latest (and fave)
Dark Beauty Bracelet
Monday, November 19, 2007
Well, I've got 5 shows down and only 1 left on my hectic craft show schedule. I've certainly learned a lot from all of the customer comments and what people have purchased once they actually see my jewelry in person. Another great fringe benefit on all of the craft shows is that I've actually been able to meet some of the people on the NH Street Team!
Jodi, from Happy House Quilts, was my first visitor at the Concord show. Along with her hair accessories, she also carries cute items for pets and craft kits for the younger set (or older set if you like to try new crafts also!).
During the Manchester show I was able to hook up with Michelle from Pandy's and Griffin Gear who also happened to be participating. Sherry from ThreadFed also visited during the show - she has really fun embroidery style earrings in her shop.
And last (but certainly not least!) I met Melanie from Bags by Melanie fame. Melanie joined me at the Derry show and was right at the next table. It certainly makes the day shorter when you have someone to chat to during the long hours after setup and while customers stroll through. Check out my favorite (yes! she had this one at the show and I absolutely LOVE it!) from her shop:
Melanie was so much fun to have as a show buddy and I also found out she makes everything without a pattern! This is totally impressive to little ole me - especially since the sewing machine looks like a huge monster that bites. Her fun fabrics and creativity certainly show in her bags - they're fabulous and great quality!
My next show is in Hudson NH on Dec 1st - would love to have more visitors!
Thursday, October 25, 2007
This week I have been scurrying to try to replace some of the stock I sold during the show, as well as get ready for our upcoming time away from home. I'm sooooo excited to finally get some alone time with the hubby! To put it mildly, he is a workaholic - and he's not allowed to bring his computer along with us so no checking email, no checking on his team, no customer issues - all of that stuff is going to be put on the back burner so we can relax.
We are heading to Orlando - and, of course, seeing all of the touristy sites there are to see. So far, the week is looking pretty full. We are meeting up with some friends for the first weekend (yeah!!) and will be going to Epcot with them on Saturday. The International Food and Wine Festival will be in full swing so there will be lots of tempting little booths with samples of food from all over the world to tempt the taste buds.
On Sunday, it's off to Universal Studios for the day. Lots to see and do (of course!) but Rich is really looking forward to attending their Halloween Horror Nights event. His favorite holiday and we'll need to go into every ... single ... haunted house. Not too bad - unless you're a total chicken like me! I admit it - I just don't like being scared.
The rest of the week we'll be making the rounds to the rest of all that Disney has to offer. However, before all of that happens, I have to pack! So ....
Heigh ho, heigh ho - it's off to pack I go
So sorry - just couldn't resist! Have a great week blogger buddies!
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
In the midst of all of this, I decided it was time to get my jewelry tools/materials/shipping goods/displays all organized since it always feels like I can't find exactly what I want without wading through a ton of other materials. Fortunately, I have a label maker that I bought when we first moved into the house for all of the boxes we had to store (geeky I know, but I LOVE my label maker!) and decided to put it to good use.
So, I sorted and packed this last weekend and here are the results:
Beads and stringing materials sorted by color and labeled. I found this awesome little rolling rack and put all of my little boxes on it so I can roll them to and from my workspace (i.e. kitchen counter) easily. The boxes are inexpensive little tool boxes from Home Depot with moveable dividers - cheap but oh so effective! How did I manage to accumulate all of these beads?? I think they multiply on their own at night while I sleep!
I sorted my jewelry by type - earrings, bracelets, necklaces, sterling - into shoebox sized plastic bins. The bins all fit snugly into a bigger plastic tote, which I can take to home shows, craft shows, etc pretty easily. The nice thing - very lightweight.
And finally, I recycled one of those little inexpensive drawer units into a small shipping center. Each drawer holds something needed for shipping - envelopes, thank you cards, business cards, labels, packing material, jewelry boxes - and the list goes on. I couldn't bear to mark up the front with labels - LOL!
I finally feel like I'm ready for the holiday rush - bring it on!
Friday, October 12, 2007
The first uses a beautiful deep golden brown and black focal - I called it "Bliss" just because I happen to love this color combination. The second one, "Gabriella", is designed in softer, more feminine tones.
Both use sterling silver figure eight (also known as infinity chains!) and sterling silver accents to accent the focal pendant portion of the necklace.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Craft show season is upon us and I've noticed lots of posts requesting information about what to bring in the Etsy forums. Although I am no expert, I have done a fair amount of shows during the last year or so and thought I would share my list with everyone - I hope it helps a bit.
Keep in mind that most of the supply items can be packed into a small (shoebox size) plastic bin - you don't need all you own - just a couple of tags, a small roll of tape, a couple of pens, travel-size tissues - you get the idea. When I do a craft show I only make 3 trips in and out. The first is to carry in my table and chair, the second trip is for 1 large tote with inventory and most of the display materials, and the 3rd trip is another (much lighter) tote containing my tablecloths and more display, along with my cooler (or insulated lunch bag in my case) on top.
- Inventory - whatever you plan on displaying, along with extra items to fill in as your inventory sells down.
- Money, receipt book, and calculator
- Credit card imprinter and slips if accepting credit cards
- Cell phone and 800# for credit card order (I have mine on a speed-dial so I always have it with me when needed)
- Table/chair and tablecloths/coverings
- Bags, packing materials and gift boxes
- Pens and a notebook for ideas, suggestions, mailing list, etc.
- Business cards with holder
- Camera with spare batteries - I like to take pictures of my booth before the show starts. It allows me to make notes about space constraints, what displays worked, how items are positioned, etc.
- Polishing cloth or lint brush - something to clean your inventory if it gets marked or dirty
- Garbage bag
- Directions, show application and acceptance, confirmation and copy of cancelled check
- Cooler with snacks and drinks
- Display materials
- Mirrors, if applicable
- Banner, if using one
- Lighting and extension cords - mark your name on them, if possible
- Credit card signage
- Price tags/stickers
- Tape - include packing, duct tape and scotch tape for all emergencies
- Safety pins
- Paper towels
- Baggies containing paper towel spritzed with window cleaner or damp paper towels for cleaning up fingerprints, spills, etc.
- First aid kit - Advil, band-aids, antibiotic, hand sanitizer or baby wipes
- Dolly, handcart, or rolling suitcase is nice to have for all of the transporting of goods
- Tent with weights (filled water jugs or bricks will work if you can't use your tent posts)
- Display weights or something to make sure your displays don't fly off on you if a wind blows through the show
I'm sure there is more to add to this list, depending on what you sell - but this will get your personal list started down the right path!
Other "nice to haves" include a friend to help pass the time and watch your booth if you need to make a bathroom run, something to do during quiet periods, and an inventory list for a quick look to see what is selling and to check everything back in when you return home.
More helpful tips:
- Pack the car the night before. The morning of the show is stressful enough without worrying about forgetting items or trying to get there on time for set-up.
- Stay positive during the show, even it the show is slow. Nothing is more of a turn-off than to hear other vendors complaining while there is a customer nearby. You never know who is listening.
- Make notes about the show - which items were noticed, comments on prices and displays, which items/styles sold the best, which colors appeared to be noticed the most, etc. While this won't be a hard and fast rule as to what to bring to the next show, it will give you an indication of what works in that area if you sign up for the show again.
- Accept credit cards, if at all possible. Most people only carry a finite amount of cash and when it's gone - it's gone. It is unlikely they will make a trip to the ATM to pull out more money and drive back to the show to get your item (not impossible - just unlikely).
And finally, if you would like some display ideas, there is a flickr group with lots of pictures - check them out for great ideas!
Friday, September 28, 2007
“To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower
Hold infinity in the palms of your hand and eternity in an hour.”
- William Blake
Thursday, September 27, 2007
I have to admit, I'm pretty pleased with the results. Obviously, it can be customized for any mom or grandmother and I love the colors and simplicity of the pendant. The sample necklace is to be my mother's Christmas gift (good thing she doesn't know about my blog!) and shows my parent's birthstone (they were both born in November), my older brother's is August (peridot), I was born in July (ruby red) and my younger brother was born in May (emerald green). Fingers crossed that this is what she was hoping to find!
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
The morning finally arrived for the show and I got up early to drive to Concord NH. I'd never done a show here before so I had no idea what to expect in terms of customer traffic, access to the arena or how many vendors. Fortunately, I allowed plenty of time and had my booth set up with 2 hours to spare before the show started. Thank goodness I had set everything up the week before in my living room and it all went smoothly.
And to round out the day, Jodi from Happy House Quilts stopped by and introduced herself. I love meeting members of our NH Street Team and we had a chance to chat for a few minutes - it's always fun putting faces and personalities to names from the web!
On to more shows - 1 down, 5 to go!!
Thursday, September 20, 2007
To alleviate this, Jenny (aka JennyBunny) suggested that I google for some blog ideas. A bell went off inside my head as I thought to myself - "I should have thought of that!" since I am constantly searching the internet when I want to shop or need information.
After wandering through some of the sites that popped from my google search, I found the following to be interesting (there are lots more of course, but this is a start). They're not quite ideas about what to write about but rather how to write blogs that others would potentially want to read.
One article that caught my eye was "5 ways to increase Internet traffic to your blog or web site". The author of this article had some points that I hadn't even considered, such as submitting for blog contests. OK - I admit it! I'm not really a contest kind of girl! And while it's not something that I will necessarily do, for those who like to enter contests it could be loads of fun. Other suggestions included using your technorati tags more effectively and using keyword tools when writing posts.
Another article that I stumbled across and found interesting reading is "10 Techniques to Get More Comments on Your Blog". The tips here are common-sense-icle but again, I certainly don't DO all of them. Be controversial?? I admit, I'm not the type to throw my political views out there for all the world to see. A time and a place for everything and my blog is not the place for that in my mind! But I see the author's point. The biggest suggestion that caught me off guard was #10 - Make it Easy to Comment. Sounds simple really but made me go look at my settings to see if I actually allowed this to happen.
So, my next step is to explore more ideas on what to write about. How do you come up with ideas for your blog?
Monday, September 17, 2007
I'm pretty fortunate since there are lots of apple orchards near our home in New Hampshire. Rich loves it when I make individual apple pies - I think he is kidding himself into thinking he's not eating as much - LOL! But the tempting aroma of them baking - especially the cinnamon - and how the whole house smells when they come out of the oven - yummy!
So, plans for the upcoming weekend? Wish I could say baking but I'm rushing to get ready for the first craft show of the season. I'm creating new hang cards for my earrings and trying out a special display for my sterling necklaces - so much to do! But I'm still going to stop and smell the autumn scents ... and I recommend you do to!
Thursday, September 13, 2007
4 jobs I've had:
convenience store clerk
call center operator/order-taker
4 films I can watch over and over:
Pretty Woman (sappy, but I still love it!)
Lord of the Rings (pick any of them - love them all!)
Sweet Home Alabama
The Lake House
4 places I have lived:
Hudson New Hampshire
Manchester New Hampshire
4 favorite TV shows:
Two and a Half Men
4 favorite foods:
Macaroni and cheese
Melty Brie cheese with apple
4 website I visit every day:
etsy.com to check my store
hotmail to catch all of my email
ebay (always find something interesting)
bank account site
4 places I would love to be:
Washington DC around cherry blossom time
Greece - have never been but would love to visit!
secluded Hawaiian beach enjoying warm sunshine and swimming with dolphins
4 favorite colors:
OK, so now I need to find another person to tag .... hmmm, how about Lis from Simple Arts Planet ...
Also, since I'm blogging my little heart out - a couple of my latest jewelry pieces showcasing carnelian, black onyx and sterling silver
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
So, I drove my six hours to get home and I must admit, it was great seeing everyone. Friday was spent with my maternal grandparents and running some errands. I definitely count myself very lucky to still have grandparents to visit! Saturday was great fun - a family friend (I used to babysit his daughter, who now has kids of her own - I feel so old!) took me to some lakes that I haven't seen in ages in his four wheeler (not an ATV - this is like a mini jeep - not sure what they are actually called) and I got to snap some pics.
This is a view of Rand Lake:
Merrill, my chauffeur for the afternoon, with his constant companion Daisy:
Western Lake, where we used to ice skate and go ice fishing as kids:
A view from the top of Trimble Mountain (that's Canada on the far side of the St. Croix River):
A fire pit is a necessity for hot dogs and roasting marshmallows!
And this is the view from my house - again, that's Canada on the far side of the river:
I also got a chance to spend some time with my mom, friends, and my brother. The day before I returned home, I spent some time picking fresh Maine blueberries for everyone in NH. I refuse to rake and pick the berries over afterward - I'd much rather just pick a spot, sit down (make sure you are wearing old jeans!) and pull clean berries from the vine. Imagine these in fields as far as the eye can see!
With my visit behind me, I now have to focus on my upcoming craft show in two weeks. Yikes! Time sure does fly!
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Saturday, August 25, 2007
After chatting with her to discuss preferences, my customer opted for a "Y" necklace. I suggested a sterling chain to add a bit of sparkle and to help show off the beauty of the onyx. She was thrilled with the results:
The bracelet and earrings were alot of fun to make. The bracelet was just a smaller version of the anklet she had already purchased and was pretty quick to put together. As she liked longer earrings, I added 3 small dangles to the end and, fortunately, she loved them.
The ring posed a bit more of a challenge for several reasons. First (and foremost!) I don't own a ring mandrel so sizing was a worry. Luckily, she took the same size ring as I wear so I was able to use myself to size it.
I must admit I was really pleased with the way the set turned out - and more importantly, so was my customer!
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Monday, August 20, 2007
My husband and I decided to go into Boston on Saturday and spend the day since we were going to a Pat Benatar concert that night on the waterfront. Yes, I am a child of the eighties and still love that music - and I love going to concerts so this was a great time for me! Of course, I forgot my camera so I don't have pics for you (I know, I know - shame on me!) but I'll do my best to give you some fun links to check out.
We started out in Faneuil Hall, also known as Quincy Market. I love wandering around this area since there is SO much to see. The weather was a bit breezy but gorgeous and street musicians and vendors were out in full force. There was a blues group that was fabulous and an acoustic guitar player that I could have listened to all day. We strolled around the marketplace and grabbed a snack (silly, I know, but I love the corn dogs there!) before deciding our next step.
Although we have walked the Freedom Trail in Boston before, we had never taken one of the trolley tours. Trolley tours are loads of fun and (for me at least) a bit more informative since the drivers give out a bit of history on the drive. Rich and I settled into one of the back seats and relaxed while our driver discussed some of the various historical sites of Boston (Boston Commons, the Granary Burial Ground, the USS Constitution, and lots more).
After our strenuous trolley tour, we decided to have a nice dinner in the waterfront area. One of my past favorite places to eat has always been Anthony's, but we decided to be daring and try out a new place and opted to go to the Chart House restaurant instead. I hesitate to say it but ... I think I've found a new favorite. The seafood was to die for (there were at least 4 different items I really wanted to try!) and Rich, who wouldn't touch seafood if it was the last item to eat on the planet, chose to check out their prime rib. Now, keep in mind that generally when a restaurant has great seafood, the non-seafood offerings generally lack flavor (to put it mildly!). Rich's prime rib was so yummy that I would actually consider it the next time we visit and my Dynamite Halibut was just that - absolutely dynamite. Definitely on our list for our next visit to the city!
To round out our day off, we hit the Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo concert at the Bank of America Pavilion. Lennon opened for them. Generally, she's a metal artist but did some terrific songs with just a keyboard and her voice. I wound up buying her acoustical CD because of her opening act. And then of course, Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo took the stage. Absolutely fabulous concert! Pat's voice is as strong as ever and Neil's guitar rips are enthralling and a big part of each of the songs.
Great time, great day - nice to get away for some time together and recharge the batteries.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
In the meantime, just to keep you updated, here are some of the latest postings to my store. As you can see, I've been experimenting again. I'll let you determine the results!
Lots and lots of new earrings - ice cream cones (yummy!), candy swirl earrings (OK, must have food on the brain) and rain drops. So many ideas .... so little time!
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
In the meantime, the NH Street Team blog posted up my profile this week as the seller spotlight. I love reading about other sellers and how they got started (and it's a really fun way to shop as well!) - it's amazing how much I've learned from the Etsy community. If you get a chance, check out the NH blog - I promise we really are a fun group! Melanie, from Bags by Melanie, is our official blog rep and does all of the heavy lifting when it comes to updating the NH blog.
And how is your week going?
Friday, August 10, 2007
I woke up this morning to an email from the wonderful beadedeyefairy - she had kindly featured my Cool Tone Earrings in her treasury! How cool is it to wake up to that kind of surprise?
And ... my Cinnamon Sprinkle Earrings recently posted to my Etsy shop
Monday, August 6, 2007
Pietersite is also one of my all-time favorite stones. The last gem show I attended I just couldn't seem to stay away from this unusual beauty - the swirls of gray-blue, purply-pink and cream in this lovely stone just kept calling to me until I caved in and bought a couple of pendants in different shapes. A sterling silver chain lets the stone take center stage.
I hope you like my latest additions!
** Click on picture for more information or to purchase **
Sunday, July 29, 2007
What an awesome wake-up call :)
Friday, July 27, 2007
First up - the first in my Simplicity Series. Beautiful blueberry quartz used as a focal on a simple sterling silver chain. Hence - simple.
I have more focal stones in both quartz and gemstone and I'm looking forward to putting them together for that simple, elegant look that can be worn anytime.
Next is a specialty item that is perfect for that "special" gift. A sterling silver double heart holds a Swarovski crystal birthstone (customized with the birthstone or crystal of your choice). A delicate sterling silver chain is used to add charm.
More ideas to follow in both of these lines. Oh! the possibilities....
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
One of the items I just finished up is this pair of Unakite and Crystal earrings. I love the mossy greens and swirling pinks in Unakite - great earrings for the upcoming fall season!
Monday, July 23, 2007
If you are vegetarian or stricter, you may not want to read the following post.
I got an email from a friend of mine who knew I had just returned from my little Maine vacation. Knowing how much I love seafood, she asked if I had enjoyed any lobster during my trip. This caused me to ponder - I wonder how many people outside the New England area are familiar with the delicious Maine lobster and what lobstering entails. If you're interested, read on ...
Historically, lobsters used to be so plentiful that Native Americans used them to fertilize their fields and to bait their hooks for fishing. Now, they are not nearly as plentiful due to overfishing and commercialization. They ARE still considered a delicacy by many and as such, command a fairly high price (the last time I was in Maine lobster meat was selling for $47.95 a pound, US compared to crab meat - my personal favorite - at $17.95 per pound).
To catch a lobster involves devious technology - a trap is needed. There are lots of laws concerning the trap (I won't bore you with the details - if you are interested there is lots of information on the Dept of Marine Resources website) but basically most traps contain a small compartment which the lobster enters and has a tough time exiting. The lobster is lured into this compartment with bait.
Then the traps are lowered into the water. Each trap is attached to a colored buoy (all those dots in the water are buoys) and each buoy has a unique color combination which fishermen use to identify their traps. It is actually illegal in the State of Maine to pull a trap that is not registered to you. Each buoy also has to be marked with a fishing license number.
Finally, the lobstermen pull their traps and sell their catches to you directly or via a restaurant. Contrary to popular belief, a lobster is not bright red by nature. They are actually a brownish/green so they can blend into their environment. Lobsters turn bright red only after they have been cooked, as seen below.
Mmmmm, mmmmm - good!
Thursday, July 19, 2007
This is the cottage where I stayed. I had a quaint little bedroom toward the back with a window looking right out onto the rocks. Most mornings you could hear the lobstermen in their boats pulling their lobster traps.
Rocks, rocks and more rocks - Maine has a very craggy coastline and this picture gives you an idea of exactly what it looks like. You can barely see it, but my beloved Adirondack chair is included - lovely place to watch the boats go by or take a quick nap in the sun!
The view from the previously mentioned Adirondack chair. Lazy sailboats cruise by all day long - what a beautiful sight!
You can tell I am easily entertained. Throwing bread into the air to attract the seagulls in the area and then feeding them for awhile is great fun! Greedy little urchins!
Another wonderful part of the island is the back beach area. A long dock with a smaller floating dock for mooring boats can be found in this area. I loved this picture just because it shows a typical Maine beach - rocks, seaweed and beautiful pine trees (Maine's state tree is the white pine) dotted all around. When it is high tide, there is very little beach showing but I walked around as the tide was going out and had some fun checking out shells and beach glass findings.
*Sigh* I think I need another vacation!