Sunday, December 20, 2009

Now Hiring: Personal Assistant

No snow for me. Not that upset, since winter is an over rated season IMO. Not really necessary, other than to piss you off, mess up your car, and cause lots of knee and elbow injuries. The whole thing is really a marketing tool for the dairy, wheat, and salt industries. Tell me that the threat of a snowflake on your local news channel doesn't create a run on bread and milk, and then the roads get covered in salt or brine, starting 2 days before? Exactly, think about it. The weather did force me to stay indoors and work on some necklaces. Oh, and it forced hot cocoa down my throat. Those extra marshmallows were pure evil.

If you read the blog, you know guy does the photography of my pieces. I create, and he does the rest. This time of year his primary job gets a bit hectic, so there has not been the time to get the photos set up, taken, edited, and posted. There are at least 10-12 pieces, many with earrings, that are on deck and ready to go. So, that means learning how to photograph my pieces. Sounds easy, doesn't it? But there are lightboxes, and shutter speeds, angles, tripods, and editing software thingies to deal with. I, to put in mildy, do NOT have the patience of a saint. Is that the sound of guy chuckling ?? He doesn't even know what I'm blogging about, its that bad. The game plan so far will be to have creative days, and posting days, and bonbon days. The main reason guy was doing the photography is, well, he's good at it, but also to keep me from getting bogged down in things other than creating. So, setting aside time for each task will probably be the best and most sanity-keeping way to get it all done. It can be difficult to keep to a schedule when you are working from home, so does anyone have a system to get it all done and not go crazy? Maybe a big dry erase board, or paper planner with my days marked out. There also has to be time set aside for housekeeping, and time for just me. I don't ask for much, do I?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Family Eyes

Brrr, its starting to feel like December, even here in the south. Now, anything below 75 degrees and the whining begins, but it will be in the 20's soon. So how am I coping? I headed straight for the local bead store, of course!

I stocked up on some things that were needed to finish a few projects that have been lying around, so that was a necessary purchase. But! They had a 50% table! And pretty new sparkly things! In orange! And pink! Orange has been my latest obsession, so a strand of orange beads on sale was a no-brainer. Pink I just love, but can't seem to work it into a design I like that isn't too twee. This pink would go perfectly with some unfinished rough quartz we picked up on our last trip, which is white with a hint of pink. The rough texture of the unfinished white quartz and the smooth shiny tiny pink quartz beads will go excellent together, IMO. Plus, now I know that they are having a huge Boxing Day Sale. Important info to have.

The holidays are coming up, so of course most of my projects have been for gifts. It is really stressful to make something to give to family! You worry about every single detail, things that no mortal eyes would even notice. But family eyes, family eyes would notice, or so you believe. Honestly, they probably would overlook any flaws and love it just because I made it for them, but still. Anyone else feel more pressure when making gifts for family, or is it just me?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Holiday Baubles

The Thanksgiving holiday is over, house is back to just us, and my lungs have firehosed the soccer hooligans. Back to work time it is. Make sure you check the sidebar listing, as there are quite a few new pieces to post, new gorgeous gewgaws to work with, and of course you'll want to be updated since it is the season of giving! What better gift than something handmade, that is as unique as the person you are giving it to. Can you tell I used to work for a social expressions company? No? Good.

On an exciting note (at least for me), my new business cards arrived this past Friday. They are so awesome and it makes me feel 'legit'. It feels much more professional to have this beautiful card to hand out when someone tells me they like what I'm wearing, instead of writing it on a napkin or trying to find a non-awkward way of promoting my website. Some have already been handed out to friends, visiting family, and the woman at the bead shop we stumbled upon during our latest adventure. Yes, I said adventure. I am going to let the Guy talk about that in his next post. It should be quite a read.

Are you wondering what I've been working on? Since the holiday season often includes lots of events and parties, what better way to get more mileage out of that LBD than some fun jewelry sets? And guys? We girls would *LOVE* it if you bust out a cutely decorated jewelry box as we're getting ready for a night out. Colorful chokers, earrings, semi-precious stones and bright copper to really get noticed amongst all the tinsel. I really seem to be drawn to working with copper, it seems to showcase the gems just that little bit more than silver or gold, and people definitely seem to notice it more. It is just warmer.

In other words, come check out all the fun and pretty stuff that will be posted soon. We are very excited here about the next few weeks, and hope you will love the new stuff, too.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Your trash is my inspiration

I see you've met my guy. Proves you can't leave your blog password out or just anybody will start posting. He has a way with words, that one.

My lungs are still auditioning for the next Muci.nex commercial. Soccer hooligans seem to have moved in and are throwing dustbins and Gui.nness around in there. Lots of singing and shouting. But, overall, I am feeling better and have some adventures to share. There are some new necklaces to talk about, antique mall finds, and of course the beaders' night out.

Guy and I went to few more antique malls around here this past week, and scored some nice deals. My favorite is an ugly copper wire tree that I found for $1.50. There isn't a picture quite ugly enough, or that isn't some one's art, that can be linked to. But, basically, for $1.50 I have at least 50 copper leaf pendants and a whole lot of copper strands for jewelry work.

I spied it from across the aisle, and went straight into stalker mode as there was a woman looking in that stall. I stepped closer. Closer. She must have been glad I brushed my teeth. My left hand was physically restraining my right from darting forward past the eyeless baby doll heads and snatching the tree. My eyes darted back and forth. The tension was thick. The music was bad. Closer, until there was an uncomfortable lack of distance between us. She finally muttered 'excuse me' when I pushed her down to step on her as I grabbed my tree. Guy thinks it looked more like I stepped back politely to give her room to exit and then went back in, but not IN MY MIND.

Back to civilized behavior. There was a beaders' night out to attend last night. Even though I've been sick and wasn't sure if it was good to go, I was excited about spending time with other beaders, swapping ideas and inspirational stories. Insert laughter, crying, and chocolate eating montage here. You get the idea. Anyway, so packed up several project ideas, my tools, some beading wire, and headed out. Got there right on time, early enough that I was the first one. Chatted with the employees, who said about 6 RSVP'd. Set out my stuff, and started designing a necklace. Very quiet. Thirty minutes later, someone else! One hour later.....nobody else! Only 2 of us showed up. 2 does not a montage make....well not the kind of family-friendly one I was thinking of. It was a nice time, though, and got to know my local bead shop employees a little better, but next time there better be inspirational bonding, damn it!

Two new necklaces to post about, and two others that are photographed and ready to put into the shop. At the BNO, I used some more of the vintage cream-colored flowers in a longer length necklace, with some really pretty orange glass rondeau beads as accents. It is supposed to line up asymmetrically on the neck, very nice. Also finally finished a necklace today using a stone
I've had for awhile. Its been in another necklace, but it didn't make me happy and finally dismantled it to reuse today. It is a blue-green faceted dyed quartz, and I added a lapis lazuli bead and a clear acrylic disk to a chunky silver color metal chain. Very simple, yet the size of the stone and shape of the chain links make it a statement piece. I cannot wait for you to see them!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

And now a word from the Marketing Department...

So, as "gal" mentioned, there is a "guy" behind the scenes and he is me. We figured that while she handles the creative side in regards to making the jewelry, I'll handle the fun stuff such as (but not limited to): web design, marketing, heavy lifting and photography. Often times the "offices" of the marketing department overlaps the design department, (i.e. our workspaces on the table co-mingle) but overall we work well together. Personally, I don't really find this as a surprise, but I'm sure "gal" would answer differently.

We've already had some learning experiences in this venture and as time goes on, we thought it would be fun to share them with the world. We are by no means suggesting our lessons are unique but if you're here reading this, you must care about us in some form or another. So in that regard, here is hard fought lesson number one: scale.

About one week into our venture gal and I were perusing on Etsy looking at the different beads that were available. In a stroke of genius I decided to sort from most expensive to least, just to see what the "top" beads where and what their prices were. We came across this beautiful watermelon tourmaline, fate and destiny intertwined, it was meant to be ours. It was green on the outside, gorgeous pink on the inner band. We both immediately fell in love with it and I'm sure both had visions of this being the gem to kick start our store and be our first sale. (ok, so I might have added some extra drama for effect, but you get the point.) We ordered this gem and another few things from this seller, who is based in Thailand, and preceded to wait.

About ten days later we get the package notice (actually we missed the delivery and had to go to the Post Office) but of course it was still out for delivery. The next day rolls around and Gal goes to pick up the gem to end all gems; I still wish I could have been in the car to see her face. Below is a transcipt (more or less) of the ensuing phone call:

Gal: Hey, it's are you?
Guy: Good, at work the usual fun stuff. What's up?
Gal: Well, I went and picked up the package...
Guy (giddily): it everything we hoped for and more?
Gal: It's really pretty. Green on the outside, pink on the inside. The other pieces are cool too.
Guy (sensing a strange tone in Gal's voice): How big is it?
Gal: Well, it's thicker than I thought.
Guy: Wow, that's great. How big is it?
Gal: It's a little smaller than I envisioned...
Guy: Like how much smaller, is it the size of a quarter?
Gal: Umm...
Guy: A dime?
Gal: Ummm, I'm in the neighborhood at the bead store, I'll show you.

So Gal shows up at work and hands me the package. This thing must have had like twelve layers of bubble wrap around it. I carefully unwrap the gem and lo and behold it looks like...

You know how if you actually suck on a Jolly Rancher until it gets really thin right before it disintegrates in your mouth? Combine that with the diameter an Altoid, then shave off a few millimeters and you've got it. Right.

Well there you have it. So, the marketing department learned a valuable lesson that day: Always check the scale of your purchase, otherwise you're making necklaces for the Keebler Elves.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Something has me completely down and out. When you work from home, and the commute seems impossible, there is a problem. It came on suddenly Thursday evening, and I was hanging on until Saturday night, then it went downhill on skates. This morning had a burst of energy and did some chores, but that quickly caught up with me. I think a call to the Dr. is needed tomorrow, because breathing shouldn't hurt so much. Reading even hurts, and if you know me at all, I must be sick if I am not reading something!

Made myself some pantry chicken rice soup, and hot tea with lots of honey. Took a nap, and hung around with co-worker, BooGirl. She wasn't complaining, as she has a gold medal in napping. Her pro tips include: take all the room you need, no matter who else is there, and don't feel guilty, sleep is awesome. What do you do when you are sick to make yourself feel better?

It hasn't been all idleness, though. I've been thinking of some ideas for necklaces, and am excited to try them out. I still have a bunch of beads from the antique store to sort through, and looks like there will be a bunch more arriving at my doorstep next week. There are some other leads to check out, so should have a bunch of stuff up for the holidays. Keep an eye out on the Etsy mini store on the side!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The past is the future

What a dreary, ugly day outside. Which means it is a perfect day to hibernate at my workbench, string some beads and chill out with some classical music. Oh, and talk to you.

Remember that antique mall I told you about? We went Tuesday and came out with quite a few things. Some will take a bit of work, some are perfect as is, but overall a pretty decent haul. Lots of pretty stones, interesting craftmanship, and quality just not seen in today's products.

I have a love/hate relationship with these 'antique' malls. They usually make me quite depressed, walking through and seeing people's lives being displayed for pennies on the dollar. I always wonder what stories those objects could tell, what interesting things they must have been a part of. That rhinestone hairclip....did it have wild times at an illicit speakeasy, dropped and lost forever after a police raid? Or that circle pin, was it being worn the night he asked her to go steady after homecoming? So many stories to tell, so many stories lost. I tell them that with me, they are getting another chance to go out and experience life. Yes, out loud. As you might have guessed, sentimentality is a trait of mine. I like to think that this is my small way of honoring the past.

There is a piece that I finished today using mostly these recycled beads, it is so pretty and delicate. Hopefully it will get posted tonight, because my description would not do it justice. My other main project, saying it is a source of frustration right now would be an understatement. The desired result, which is only in my head, seems easy and fluid. The execution of assembly is proving to be anything but. I will not give up, because that is how you learn and stretch and grow, but it is so not fun!

Monday, November 9, 2009

...and the clouds parted....

The biggest news is my first sale has made it safely to its new home. Slight moment of panic when I released it to the unloving maw of the postal system, but you have to let go and let your babies be independent. Next, sound the alarms! I am looking at 2 completed creations, both styles new to me creatively. There was still some drama with lack of creativity until this afternoon, but just keeping my hands busy finally paid off. I can't wait for you to see them, but since my photographer is busy, you'll just have to deal with my descriptions.

The first one is an antiqued brass necklace, where the pendant is made up of small metal pieces held together with copper plated jump rings, so it has lots of movement, 5mm amber glass beads and 4mm red Swarovski crystals. The colors all together kept making me want to find a hookah, very spice market feeling., very Ab-Fab spice market, one of my most favorite episodes ever.It was inspired by a necklace a wonderful friend of mine let me bring home to study, it was her mothers' and it was very generous of her to part with it!

The second is a bracelet, which is completely new to me. It started off as practice for my bead wrapping/loops using natural garnet beads (I know, a bit too nice for practice!) and copper wire as busywork. Today I started to have a few necklace ideas for it. Nothing was exciting me till I draped it over my arm to look at a wrap....and it hit me, a bracelet! To top that off, the clasp is handmade by yours truly. I can't believe how giddy making my own S-clasp has me!

There are a new pair of earrings completed, so that really makes 3, and those earrings inspired a pendant, but still figuring out chain options for that one. B and I are heading to one of those 'antique' malls tomorrow to check out some jewelry, so there should be some great new stuff to work with and re-energize me. Can't wait for spring to come with all the tag sales, garage sales, and estate sales! We also have lunch with friends planned, so check back in a few days to see if the muse has hit me with a feather or a brick.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

I believe, Tweak.

I feel like a tortured artist! It felt so good to sit at my table today and start working, I haven't made anything in 2 days, trying to get some other parts of the business going. Yet, my work table is littered with projects I have started but just cannot seem to finish or even be happy with. I have no vision for what to make with these pieces yet, was hoping that it would just hit me as I went. Busy hands and all that. *sigh* Maybe if I leave it all out, the bead fairies will come by, like the cobbler's elves, or the underpants gnomes. Its making me cranky, which doesn't help me calm down and concentrate. No wine in sight to grease the wheels, maybe a nice cup of hot cocoa instead. Is there brandy in this house?

I did sign up for a local beading/jewelry making meetup group today and a beaders night out later in the month. Hopefully being around others who are as excited about this stuff as I am will help. Maybe I should start posting photos of things I am working on to get me inspired before then. Uh, not tonight, I'm too cranky and my table is too messy.

Friday, November 6, 2009

And in the beginning there was me

Welcome to the beginning of an era, which is me starting a business and a blog that tells all about it. This blog is meant as a space to talk about creating, following dreams, and the journey of turning that into a successful business. Why is this worth reading? There should be lots of interesting ups and downs, twists and turns, and painful mistakes as I try to start a completely new chapter in my life. As someone who doesn't usually make a move until all the i's are dotted and all the t's are crossed, this is uncharted territory. You'll be hearing from me the most often, but there may be posts from my husband/photographer/marketer B.

So, you can see the gist of my business over on the sidebar, but just in case, I create handcrafted jewelry designs. You can check me out at . I've always loved jewelry, but tend to wear only one piece at a time, so I am always on the lookout for something special, different. Not easy to find things that speak to me. So why not create my own? And, based on comments from friends and strangers, it seemed there was a market for my style, which tends to be a little off-center, vintage inspired, and one of a kind.

Oh, and throwing out a wild guess here, but I bet you want to know whats up with the name. intenyears.? intenyears ... aaaaaand ....what?!? That is a post for another day. :)