Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Why My Black Friday Sale Starts Early.

No, I do not want any of you to feel compelled to shop on Thanksgiving Day -- trust me, I will be selfishly enjoying all that time with my family, barely noticing if my phone goes cha-ching. 

But, the Black Friday through Cyber Monday sale in my shop does begin on Thanksgiving day -- and I am partially upset with myself about it.   But there are a few reasons:

1) I set it up to kick off automatically.
     Knowing I wanted the day to not think about my shop -- and spend possibly bringing my tree out of the garage to decorate with the kids before the hubs goes back to work on Friday for a 24 hour shift -- I planned early and was actually kind of off by a day (the date) on my etsy on sale account.

2) I don't think things through all the time
     Knowing customers want their gifts mailed out quickly -- and knowing there is downtime between the preparation of side-dishes, I too will wander onto Etsy to see what is available.  But -- like I said earlier, I had the date wrong to start and when I figured it all out, I didn't go change it.

3) Thanksgiving isn't everywhere
     A lot of countries don't celebrate like we do for thanksgiving.  I personally adore the holiday -- but I know not everyone celebrates.  So for that reason I was also okay with my mess-up on dates as noted above. 

4) I am really okay when I make mistakes like I did above
     So, it starts on Thanksgiving.  No one is working, but you can shop (like I said, I may also online between the making of side dishes.)  But, since this is really just an error on dates on my part -- I don't want to pay again to change it -- so it's there if anyone wants it, and it's there on Friday through Monday also.

What I am really saying is -- I want everyone to enjoy the holiday that celebrates it.  And, I can see if someone is upset (as many are with retailers that start the black Friday shenanigans on Thursday) about it -- but, I didn't mean for it to be that way.  It's just kind of a big "oops" on my part.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Out of the loop...again

I have been absent -- from many things related to my Etsy shop.  I haven't been paying as much attention on the forums, I haven't been adding new items like I should be.  I haven't been renewing items because -- well it's pretty busy work around here these days.

I know I should have prepared better for the holidays -- I know I should have focused more on the shop.  But, these days, I am of the mind that I have enough items.  I struggled enough for the keywords and views and really, what I like is my customers.

I love when someone asks me if I can find something for them -- something special.  I love when someone says "This is for my mom," or "this is for my best friend," and tells me what is special about them choosing my shop to order from.  I've been working a lot one-on-one with customers and find it difficult to concern myself with SEO and exposure and other things I concern myself with generally.

But -- more than that, I've been busy, busy, busy.  I've been in a Veterans writing class for a long time now -- well over a year.  I enjoy it immensely and am a little miffed that because of the holidays -- I don't get to go as often. 

That's me being selfish right there.

I am preparing for the holidays and everything is still up in the air.  I don't know if I am cooking here -- or if we are going to family's homes.  It's just not cemented.  And that, is stressful.

I've been diligently completing my thesis -- finally, after a year off from my MA program, it was tough to get back into academic writing.  Really, really tough considering I am also in the creative writing type groups for Veterans.  The writing in the Vet classes is pretty cathartic -- so I find myself going there instead of my shop, or my thesis -- so I am always frustrated with running out of time.

I recently lengthened my processing time to 1-3 days, so that I can have that little breather if I need to write.  But, I still try to get items out within about a day.  It's just a personal breather for me to know is there.  And, more often than not, if for some reason (like we recently had a power outage that left all the kids at home and me unable to get to the post office) I can't get your item off until the 3rd day -- I will probably upgrade your shipping without you knowing to Priority.

But, back to the creative writing -- it's done nothing more than make me wish I had not gone to all these communications programs.  I know that sounds horrible -- but it's no longer my first love.  I now wish I could sit in a room and read and write -- and get paid for it, lol.

I often hear "do what you love" and I agree -- but I wonder, what if what we "love" changes often?  Is it okay to move between things like that?

I can't remember where I found this -- but I think it was on

Friday, November 7, 2014

Shop Unique for the Holidays

It's not all about me for this one -- as much as I would like it to be sometimes.

I am going to ask you to shop unique for the holidays -- even if it's not with me.  There are so many wonderful shops out there, on Etsy and off that deserve a bit of a look.

I am linking to a facebook post here so that you can find  a list of shops doing amazing things -- with the new ways of working on Etsy sometimes the most wonderful creative and ingenious designs are lost in the shuffle.  With this list -- it's easier to find them through the noise.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Weekend Giveaway!

Normally, we would be giving away a piece of jewelry -- but we are trying something a little different this time.  We've joined forces with a few other bloggers to create this giveaway for either a $50 paypal cash amount or a Amazon gift card. 

For THREE Days ONLY we are offering this Flash Giveaway!
One lucky reader will receive $50 USD Paypal Cash or Amazon Gift Card!!

This giveaway is for THREE Days Only! Enter Now!

We are making it easy peasy to enter! Just use the form below.

Remember, this giveaway ends at 11:59 pm on Nov. 9, 2014! Tell your friends so they can enter, too!
Good Luck!

Disclosure: This giveaway is organized by Giveaway The participating bloggers were not compensated for this post. We are not associated with any of the companies named above. No purchase is necessary to enter. Void where prohibited by law. The odds of winning are based on the number of entries received. Must be 18+ to enter. Confirmed Winner(s) (by will be contacted by email. Winner(s) have 24 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law.  My blog is not responsible for product shipment/delivery. This event is in no way administered, sponsored, or endorsed by, or associated with, Facebook and/or Twitter, Google, Pinterest. This disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements. Entrants must only enter with either one email address, IP address and/or Facebook account, anyone found violating these rules will be disqualified. It is at the sole discretion of the admin of the giveaway if the winner has met the rules or not.
If you have any questions about this giveaway please email Tina at

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Sometimes it's all about the subtle colors -- which is why I love those Ethiopian Welo Opals so much -- they are fiery and subtle all at once.    But this trasury -- called "blushing" -- is just elegantly subtle.

Blushing by DMarieTrevinoDesign

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The other side of this life

I have a deep, dark secret: I viscerally hate being a work-at-home-mom.   I don't know if it's the acronym #WAHM or if it's that I now need a modifier to explain what I do every day.

True, when I worked out of the house -- I still explained what I did, sort-of.  First, I was a soldier -- but that was a given, I had to wear a uniform so there was an obvious acknowledgement there.


Then, I was a college student -- working work-study positions to get a little extra money while hubby wore the uniform.  Not as obvious -- but still easily explained when dropping the kids off at day-care.

Then I worked for the government -- and while you couldn't tell "where" I worked by looking at me as a GS civilian-- but, I obviously worked outside the home.

During those times there was the issue with the day care on post needing proof that I and my husband had to work on certain training holidays -- certain holidays or what-not.  We had to provide proof to get them into care those days, and it was tedious.  We couldn't just use the day care for a 'training holiday' (which we paid for anyhow) to get a breather.  We couldn't go grocery shopping without them, we couldn't clean house while they were at school: there were rules.

When the hubby was deployed, less questions were asked.  Less questions came up when the kids were in school too.

Now, the kids are older and I work-at-home but I just feel like there is no time for me.  And, sometimes I feel very selfish when I need that time.  Because, put quite simply: there is this notion that since I work-from-home and my kids are in school for 6.5-7 hours a day that that time is mine.

It's just not.

I have a load of laundry in the washer and dryer (it's about 8:45 am) -- I've washed a load of dishes my daughter promised to wash last night.  I've prepared the package that was purchased sometime in the middle of the night.  I've sent all three kids off to school and put gas in my husbands car. I've talked to my mom for our morning b*tch session.  I have removed kittens endlessly from my dining table.  I've made mental lists of what I have to get accomplished and when today (must prepare my topaz for November birthstones). 

The list goes on and on -- and were I working outside the home, I would have turned on my computer, read a few emails and gotten some coffee.  I would be preparing for the day -- and only a few moments into it.  The laundry would have been there when I got home tonight, or maybe I would have washed a load to move-along tonight.

I would have asked co-workers how they are doing -- what is going on with them.  I would have had outside conversations with actual adults.  I would probably be stressing about the portion of my thesis due last week -- but would mentally note to myself to work at my desk for lunch.

I would already be dreaming of the fabulous lunch I made for myself, instead of thinking openly: "well, at least I already put on pants."

And, I would dream of having that 6.5-7 hours to myself.  In a cabin.  In the woods somewhere.  With a coffee pot and a warm, comfy blanket until the kids got home.

A shed conversion I am drooling over for my hideaway.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Working from Home and what can I make for dinner?

It's tough stuff -- the working from home thing.  I've been at it full time for a few years now (OMG seriously did I just type years?) and it just doesn't seem to get any easier as the kids get older.

Sure, I don't have to stop everything when they get home from school -- they can get their own snacks now.  But still, it's like that 7 hours they are away at school feels shorter and shorter all the time.  It's like it *could* be a reprieve, but it's really not.

Yesterday, two were off from school while the third took the PSAT's.  Not a biggy --until you add the friends who come over all the time since we live so close to the high school.  It's not that I mind the friends coming over -- it's just that I have not remodeled the shed out back to make and office / hide-out.  So, my office is right next to the kitchen -- more to the point, next to the fridge.

And -- it doesn't have a door, because it was designed to be a dining room when the house was built in 1950. It would never, ever, work as a dining room now -- so I stole the "bonus room" for the dining room instead.  It's fine -- but it's not conducive to "alone time" -- or "conference calls".  Really -- it's just a sunshiny place I can stare out the window at the birdies and dewdrops as the weather changes.  Also I can tell when anyone is near my driveway easily.

But -- the whole working from home thing can really wreck havoc on the whole work-life balance thing.  It's so much easier to respond to on off-hour message when you have everything you need to do your job right there.  It's hard to pull away sometimes when it really, truly is family time.  And -- it's really difficult to feel like there is room to breathe, even when no one is around, because there is always that laundry staring you in the face -- the kids often forget to make their beds and there is the never-ending slew of pinterest things you should make for dinner -- you know, since you've got the time.

But the biggest things I have found lately -- is that the family sort of gets to a point, when one works from home like I do -- that shows they don't really think you "do" much.  Sure, there is money hitting the bank account -- sure, you are contributing. But after a few years, your time doesn't seem to matter in actions rather than words.

I was frustrated and angry about that this morning -- like pretty over the top grumpy (don't worry, my mother yelled at me to snap me out of it).  And it was all over really stupid things -- "Mom, can you go to the store today and do x, y, and z?"  No, I can not -- I have things I have to do during the time you are at school besides buying you more XBox games. 

For example, I have to read these articles on how to better do this or that in my shop, son, so that we still see things happening.  I have to write this paper -- and read that one -- and I have to find where you hid my kindle so I can do those things in multiple locations.  Because, my work day does not simply "end" when you get off the bus in the early afternoon.

And -- I have to weed through all the apps, so that I can ostensibly figure out how to work better, faster and by myself, so that we can have that pintrocity for dinner -- or that escape dinner and a movie.

The point is -- my time is valuable, even working from home.  As is their's.  I wish they knew how valuable this time they have -- before they have to start working and going to college and doing all the things we do -- is.

The youngest asked me yesterday what my favorite thing about being a mother is.  I didn't know -- I told him such. 

But what I do know is this -- trying to teach them about this time thing: it is not even on the list.

Italian Drunken Noodles from:

Friday, October 3, 2014

One Big Sale Day -- 4 October 2014

I know it's been a while, I have been super busy outside of my Etsy shop.  Still trying to revamp my own website (; just can't seem to get the SEO right on that baby.  I've also had this cold that's going around, not fun at all and thanks to three kids in school -- they get me sick all the time.

I have also been working on some writing for my Veteran's Writing Workshop I go to as frequently as I can -- it's an amazing experience each time I go and I am so thankful for it.  Also, I have finally been keeping up this season with my Thesis -- I am only two days behind this year.  But, I am okay with that because it took a few extra tries to get the proposal through.

But -- what I am really writing about is the One Big Sale Day on Etsy.  More than 100 shops (including mine) are participating. 

List of Shops
For my shop, it's one day at 20% off a $30 or more purchase with code OBSD4OCT2014 -- make sure you use that during checkout.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Fall Foliage -- Autumn is upon us

This time of year is usually wonderful for me (forgetting the start of cold and flu season that is).  I love the changes in weather -- starting to bake again en masse, really everything that goes with this season.

But mostly, it's the colors. 

I went to high school (for the longest period -- I actually went to 4 high schools, graduating from Arizona.  But I went to one in NY, one in California, and one in Vermont also) in Vermont and fell in love with the autumn changes in color.  NY was great -- but there is something magical about Autumn in Vermont.

Here, in the Pacific Northwest, the autumn rains are upon us -- I suppose nature is getting even with us for the hot, sunny summer because the rains hit this week with a vengeance.  Yesterday, my mother was driving home from work and said to me (yes she always uses a bluetooth):  "The rain-drops must be one inch in diameter."  Probably an exaggeration -- but the rain is heavy and chilling to the bone here when they set in.

And some years -- we have a little fall foliage (especially north or nearer the mountains), but not often.

When I came in from checking on my garden (yes still growing even this late in the season) during one of the 'breaks' in the downpours -- I found this treasury on my etsy shop notifications.  OoooohEmmmmGeee, it looks like Autumn in Vermont.

october rust by michaela         

I really love the variety of colors there -- so lovely. It's why I made these Autumn Leaves in Vermont earrings out of fabulous tunduru sapphire.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

My Views on Customer Service

I had a meeting up in Seattle recently -- it was one of those meetings you really don't know what is going on until you get there.  About the hardest part of the meeting was being so darn close to Fusion Beads and not being able to stop by because the traffic was about to get horrendous on a Friday afternoon.  Sigh.

But the discussion I had with the two people who asked me to come up was fun, engaging and quite interesting.  They were trying to get to the heart of what worked on e-commerce for small business owners.  I did not try to be "smart" but rather answered honestly about myriad of topics.

They asked how I got started -- which personally, I love that story.  It's the story of being sick and staying with my mother who lives near Shipwreck Beads and spending a small fortune to get her "something to keep the kids occupied" while I recovered.  Then there's the selling to a kiosk on the military installation nearby -- and doing commission work for the owner while I was in college after 6 years in the Army.

That discussion always morphs into my best friend from high school telling me to give Etsy a try -- which I did, half-heartedly, while stationed in Fort Hood with my hubby and unemployed for most of that jaunt.   Then the move up here to Seattle -- and losing that job after the budget battle of 2011.  I got a sale about a year into unemployment (while in surgery) and another sale shortly after -- which sort of started me on this road to "prove to myself" that I could do this.

We discussed everything -- my views on how to be noticed on Etsy, the changes that happen every year just as christmas season is starting (now seriously, I do not have a problem with changes -- but why institute something EVERY single year just as Christmas shopping is about to pick up?  What is wrong with like March instead?).

In the end -- they asked me about customer service, and where I came up with my policies.

"I honestly got my ideas on customer service, returns, and shipping from you.  I ordered a Kindle one year for myself for Mother's Day while my husband was deployed.  My son promptly broke it and I called customer support.  Their answer:  We are sending you a new one, just send us the old one back in the box you get."

And that --that moment -- is where I started forming my customer service policies, from that experience with Amazon.  Sure, I have to pay for Prime so that I get free shipping -- but that's where my free domestic First Class USPS shipping policy comes from.  My return policy too -- I have lived in Amazon country for the better part of my adult life and just love the return policy, and love the satisfaction policy.  So I molded my shop around how I personally, as a shopper, loved being treated the way I always was at Amazon.  I wish I had the staff to have my customers able to call me like I can call Amazon (you know click a button and they call you within 3 minutes or something?).

But, until that day, all I can be is available if there is a problem -- or if there isn't.  Or if someone wants something tailored a little -- or a lot.

I try to be available right away -- but sometimes, it's just not feasible because I am just one person. With three kids.  And a husband.  And a house that never seems to get vacuumed enough. And, where is my cleaning fairy?  Is she on strike again?  So unfair.

Amethyst Teardrops in 14k Gold Filled


Monday, September 8, 2014

Rose Gold -- Popularity and Care

I mentioned a while back that Rose Gold -- Gold with copper added to it to make it 'pink' -- is becoming very popular.  Indeed, I saw on some jewelry trends for the autumn that Rose Gold is one of the top 5 or so "to have" in your jewelry wardrobe.

Being someone who can neither wear gold, nor copper, I am only slightly jealous of you folks that can do both. I personally like the pink in the gold -- but always feel the need to give a very lengthy "how to care for rose gold" in the card I write each of my customers.

It's tough -- 14k gold filled in and of itself is a unique (ish) product -- having the top 40 or so percent of the actual piece being 14k gold bonded to usually sterling silver or a base metal.  That keeps the cost down -- without the threat of chipping like Vermeil.  Don't get me wrong -- Vermiel is nice, but it just doesn't look as rich to me as 14k gold filled does.

Plus -- with my sensitive skin -- I have to be very cautious about what I am making items with -- I am so very allergic to most metals (especially base metals) that there is not very much in the way of other metals in my shop. 

Really it's personal to me -- I don't stock it, if I can't really work with it.

Enter the new addition (a couple of years ago at least) of 14k Rose Gold Filled -- so now we can keep the cost down -- but still have to worry about the care.  Because of the copper -- 14k Rose Gold filled will tarnish with age -- becoming a darker pink generally.  I haven't seen it darken beyond that, though I imagine some other funky colors could happen -- I mean think of a penny or anything copper -- weather does weird stuff to it.

So the care of it -- right?  You have to polish it with a cloth.  I would generally say use a spray cleaner -- since it's so darn easy -- but since I have had some issues with copper and spray cleaners, I would steer clear.  But I usually use a very simple jewelry polishing cloth -- and I store everything in plastic baggies completely dry.  That keeps the tarnish from not happening -- since it's mostly weather (and Pacific Northwest weather to boot) that causes the "rose" part of the gold to tarnish.

Ethiopian Welo Opal in 14k Rose Gold Filled

Mookaite Jasper Necklace in 14k Rose Gold Filled

Emerald Green Onyx in 14k Rose Gold Filled

Heart Post Earrings (Shown in 14k Rose Gold Filled)

So -- just doing a cursory search in my shop for "rose gold" -- there is quite a bit of variety (and will be more in the coming weeks since I have to make an order soon). 

So -- if you can wear gold and copper -- enjoy the Rose Gold of the season, which is likely to be popular (if history shows us what lasts) for the next several years.


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Blame it all on an obsession with "Outlander"

Well, I haven't really been slacking.  I have had a million and one things to do.  Honestly.  It's like I will never catch up with the summer out here. It's been painfully hot -- especially for me, I have that whole one degree of temperature variation where I feel comfortable.

It's 71 degrees in case you're wondering.  At 70, I am 72 I am overheated. My mother always laughs at it -- because she is lucky enough to have a very wide range -- if lower than most people -- around 55 to 73 degrees and she is fine.  But once the weather tops 72 degrees, I am literally overcome by the heat and hiding from the sun.  (Red-hair, can only be outside about 5 minutes before I actually start burning to a crisp -- sunscreen or not).

So that leaves very little of the day that I am "okay" to be doing work.  Add to that that my office is facing the south -- and sheesh, it's pretty hot here in the studio by about noon.  Even today, I was taking photos on my windowsill about an hour ago -- so bright I about went blind shooting though the lens.  Meh, well it's alright.

I have been making a few items of late -- but I discovered that I am just plain bad at taking photos as I go and rather end up with about ten items to do a photo shoot of.  I feel kind of badly about that -- because I should be better -- it's like I just put of the photography and editing until I absolutely must list the item -- then pack it away for when it sells.

I recently started watching the "Outlander" series on Starz.  Can anyone say hooked?  I started reading the book -- and then eventually I did the whole whispernet synch on Amazon so that I could listen through my kindle or phone while I was in the office -- working.  Or in the car.  Or in the kitchen, doing dishes.  Or lounging in a hot bath.  Or...well you get the point.  

There is this wonderful description in the book of the pearls Jamie gives Claire in the book -- the baroque white pearls from the fresh waters in Scotland -- that tipped me to try and make a set like that for my mother.  But finding filigree that could work for between the pearls has been hard.  I was thinking of just using stardust beads instead and making the piece "inspired by" instead. 

By the way -- these are stardust beads:

Rose Gold Stardust Post Earrings
It could work -- but boy if I don't have to have a little down time after finally getting those kids back in school for the year.

Here's a few of the newer items I've finally shot and edited for the shop:

Light Amethyst Baroque Crystal Earrings

Hemlock Green Opal Stud Earrings in 14k Gold Filled

Emerald Green Crystal Stud Earrings

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Grow Up...

When I awoke this morning there was a fabulous treasury featuring my emerald necklace.  But it was the title that really made me giggle.  It's called "grow-up," and just made me snicker.  Here it is below:

Grow-up by Efratul



Monday, August 4, 2014


My husband got home early last week -- I think Tuesday (the days all run together for me). He was only gone for about three weeks this time -- miserable in Idaho because of the heat.  We were pretty miserable here too because of the heat -- but it was about 20 degrees cooler here than there, though only about 6 hours away.

This last temporary duty seemed so long, almost longer than trips five times as long.  It's not so much that it's unusual for him to go away for a few weeks at a time here and there -- it's that we got the keys to the house on June 4th -- and he has been home only about 10 days since then.

So while we spent Tuesday evening just resting -- getting back into being at home together, Wednesday he had a few things to do at work -- then a surprise longish weekend.

It was never actually said -- but we pretty much disconnected from everything.  Except each other.  It was like a stay-cation without worry of checking email, facebook, really much of anything.  Sure, if I had an order, I packed it up and sent it, but then I went back to our staycation.  

Hubby bought a few artwork reproductions -- knowing how much I love Van Gogh, I was excited to see "Terrace at Night" in the hallway near my kitchen.  Just so fitting.  Though it's a reproduction -- I still love it, and frankly, I am not sure I could ever hang (or afford) a real Van Gogh in my house -- let alone so close to where I make pasta sauce.

It's sort of got the bug in me to actually decorate the walls in my office in here. They're pretty barren -- and while I am kind of used to bare walls because of never really feeling like a house was our home, I think some artwork would look nice.  And photographs -- especially scenery, so that there is always some inspiration around.

Hubby and I talked endlessly about what we loved about the house -- words like "reprieve," "calming," "relaxing" always escaping our lips.  We're technically in city limits -- no more than 2 miles from the actual city center of this smallish city outside Seattle.  But, it feels like miles away.  Like we live out in the country, away from the hustle and bustle -- yet we're right here for all my creature comforts.   We discussed things like: "When you were dreaming up your dream house, what was it like?"  "Well, it wasn't this -- but I couldn't imagine a better place now."

When we were in the apartment -- we felt on top of each other, always in each others way.  My "office" was a corner of our bedroom -- that doubled as the TV area when we watched netflix on the computer. I often sat in bed creating long into the evenings.  We were cramped. This house is technically only about 200 square feet larger -- but it feels like another 1000 square feet.  Hubby walked by the kitchen over the weekend, and puttered into my office (my office is off the kitchen, originally designed as a very, very small dining room) and said "I always forget this room is back here -- it's so nice."

It's so relaxing and calming to disconnect for a few days.  I get why people sign up for offline conferences and retreats now.   While we didn't intend to go offline -- I think we may plan that in the future. (And, we weren't completely offline, truth be told -- we still watched netflix a little at night).

Do you "go offline" from time to time? Is it rejuveinating, or do you freak out a little?


Sunday, July 27, 2014

What to do...

So yeah, I love my back yard.  Sure, I can also see the millions of things I need to do to make it super pretty.  But for now I love it.

There are three sections -- divided most ingeniously by the previous owners of my house.  While I do have certain plans to take out some of the items they grew here (I am not a fan of ivy going pretty wild) -- the general separation is just plain calming. 

I spend much of my time in the middle back yard -- an area just covered in fruit trees and greenery.  It's raised on a bed of rocks that remind me of growing up in New York -- like those huge rock-walls around grand estates.  The people who lived here before put in so much time and effort into those rock walls -- I just can't bear to take them down. 

So, I sit -- on a raised 'circle' of grass, which is separated from the rest of the yard by an apple tree, a cherry tree and a plum tree.  Those three trees make a triangle that the circle sits inside.  Within that area -- I allow my husbands dogs to have their dog houses and play as much as they want because they just didn't get that in the apartment, so we're making up for lost time.  It provides shade, grass for them to roll around in, and apples -- which the midget doggy just loves.

Surrounding this raised bed of grass and fruit trees and fully separating the front back, the middle back and the back - back is a stone path that meanders through hazelnut trees, roses over an arbor, rose bushes -- my planting beds for gardening are on one side -- and my little shed that eventually I will "re-purpose". 

I am back there all the damn time.  Instead of making jewelry.  Instead of cleaning house.  Heck, instead of unpacking.   There is this innate serenity back there, a calm that is almost indescribable.  It's addicting, like not being able to put down a good book.  But the trouble is -- the book never quite ends.  I am back there constantly.  Moving my lawn furniture to either follow the shade or the sun depending on the temp outside. 

So now -- where in the apartment I was always behind because I was always stressed -- I am always behind here because I am seeking out the calm far too often. (In fact, once I finish this post I am going out there to check on the garden and relax before I clean house -- yeah I will totally get to cleaning house.)

Here's some green -- so you can love the outdoors a bit today also.

Hello by OOMISEH

Monday, July 21, 2014

Soft Pastels

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The golden hour

I've been working hard at putting together my "home".   While it's been very exciting for me and the hubby, the poor guy I am married to is not going to get much time to enjoy the place as he has so many trips away from home to train soldiers with the Army this year. 

Last year would have probably been better as we were in that budget battle that caused a lot of training to be cancelled -- if we had closed last year, maybe he would have gotten more time to enjoy the place.  As it is, it seems like it's about a week or two home to every 4-5 weeks away for this year.

With all that time away -- it's a double edged sword, really.  On one hand, I can kind of set up places around the house how I want -- on the other hand, he doesn't get to experience the wonder of the new place at the same time. 

Also -- I am kind of doing it all by myself, so my poor shop is suffering and I am not getting nearly as much done as I would like.  Like right now I have some fabulous peach moonstone and some fabulous Swiss blue topaz I just have not been able to touch.  It's sad to me, because they are so pretty that I wish I could just make them into something and post them.

I did however, get a few new items listed -- finally, even though I am still not caught up on creating my work-spaces.  I will show you those later in the post.

I think, however, the thing that is messing up my desire to work in the office / studio here is the golden hour.  It's this time of day that my yard is bathed in this fabulous golden light. I sit back in the back yard during that time every single day, enjoying the fabulous lighting hitting my fruit trees and my gardens.  When raspberries were in season (you know for about a week) it was like heaven in my back yard during that time.

Hubby has been home for almost his two weeks now -- and he can't seem to drag himself away from the back yard golden hour either.  It's like this moment of heaven on earth -- peaceful, serene, and absolutely stunning. There are several photos of the golden hour on my instagram, you'll see what I mean.

This is a Peridot colored Swarovski starfish.  I love it, because finding actual Peridot in this size would not in any way be cost effective -- or probably possible as Peridot cracks easily.  Think August birthdays.

This is a simple rutilated quartz wire wrapped pendant -- except the rutilations are purple.  OOOOH purple!

This was a custom design -- Rainbow Tourmaline Teardrops.  I have only listed these as a custom order -- but may list them for the greater shop later this week.

I bought this strand of Ruby on a whim -- and oh my goodness I am so in love. I wish I could keep the whole strand for myself, but that's not really fair is it. Minimalist Oxidized Ruby Necklace -- July Birthstone

This is a statement pendant -- a gorgeous specimen of Labradorite with all the flash you could imagine.  It was so pricey that I only bought two gemstones and am thinking my mother would love the other one :)

Friday, June 27, 2014've got a summer cold.

Summer colds are brutal, nasty and no one wants to deal with them.  Colds are expected in winter, almost as a seasonal right of passage.  But, when something creeps up on you in the summer-time it's such an annoyance -- you just want to throw your hands up and scream.

Last Friday, I was lethargic.  I was pretty certain I was having allergy issues and too much stress from the move.  So, I took a day off from everything.

I sat in my bedroom, watching netflix the whole day through.  I went outside just to water the garden -- and look at my trees I love so much.  I figured that if I took one day to recuperate, I would be fine to keep on keeping on the rest of the weekend.

I noticed my eldest son laying down covered in a blanket that afternoon -- so I checked on him, sure enough he was with fever.  But I figured maybe he had a allergy issue also that just became a "sinus infection."  So, I went to the store, miserable and hating every single minute, and got tons of juices and drinks for he and I to just veg the rest of the evening with.

And, I got home to the youngest starting to cough and having watery eyes. Followed the next morning by my daughter just not being able to get out of bed.   So -- I called my mother:  she is coughing and hacking on the other side of the phone-line.

Well, there we go: a summer cold rears it's ugly head.

It's a miserable situation -- because it's so pretty outside, and I have a million tiny little things to do to clean out the apartment and we are all kind of stuck here waiting to be correct when we say: tomorrow I will feel fine.

We have yet to be correct -- and now we are to the point of "well, we will finish the apartment tomorrow so that we can set everything up properly after that."

It's tough for me though -- because I really want to show you all how the studio is coming along.  However, I really can't because it's really not coming along.

Here's hoping that this weekend is the last weekend of stress (now that hubby is coming home and can help with the tiny little bits remaining in the apartment).  I have about half a dozen half finished new designs -- which kind of makes me chuckle when I think about it.

Here's hoping you also have a great weekend this weekend.


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Behind as behind can be....

I've been moving this month.   It's long, arduous and often annoying.  

We closed on a beautiful house (with lots of new room to set-up for a studio) with an exciting old-growth property.  I have yet to set up the studio fully yet -- because the move is taking me forever -- you wouldn't think that a 3 mile move would take all month, but here we are, entering week three on having the keys.  I am about to head out with the kiddos to finish moving out of our apartment.   I hope that goes well.

But part of the problem is the timing -- I needed to get the garden in almost the moment we closed because it was so much later than we planned. Part of it is the kids just getting out of school yesterday, and hubby out training soldiers in California.  So, I have been doing the moving tiny load by tiny load mainly into the garage here at the house.

But, I think the biggest part is my excitement -- every time I go into my back yard, I find something new to enjoy, which stops me from setting everything up because I have to identify it (thank you google images for help in that process.

When we were first looking at the house -- we saw this blossoming.  Oooh, cherries.  But -- we didn't know what kind until they started 'ripening' a week or so ago. They are Rainier cherries -- those lovely golden and pinkish red variety. 

After we put the offer down, we found the tree below blossoming.  I went home and identified it as apples of some variety.  Again, we won't know until they come in, but how exciting. 

It looks like it may be a grafted tree -- with a few different varieties now. (you can see the base of the cherry tree in the background.  That sucker is huge. Oooh la la. While those are ripening, I find myself out there every evening picking ripened cherries right off the tree and having "dessert".  Bonus side effect of that dessert?  My weight is dropping like winter rain in the pacific northwest.  Maybe I will be totally thin by fall. 
After a bit of time tooling around, waiting to close, my husband found this beauty.  So I had to identify it.  I looked like plums -- but they were still pretty small, so I had to check.  This time I took one of the fruits and went to a nursery to check.  We were pretty sure it's Plums.  Oooh, plums, you know that's right.  Now there's the whole "what in the world am I going to do with all those plums?  Looks like gallons of sugar plums are in our future as you can see below -- how many plums are on that sucker.

So I went out this morning -- to check on my garden (above is a portion of it) and I bump head-long into a tree that seemed like something ornamental.  But, there are little nut type things laying on the ground -- and I HAD seen a squirrel having a field day yesterday near that tree).

So, I called my mother, as I often do and said "I think it's hazelnut, Mom -- I can't really tell until I get on google images inside, but I am pretty sure that's hazelnut scraps on the ground."

So, I look it up -- sure enough, looks like hazelnuts.  Looks also like I will be making another trip to the nursery today to get this identified -- because Mom LOVE hazelnuts.  And maybe, just maybe, I can make my own Nutella.  LOL.  Of course I am thinking about Nutella.

Makes sense why my studio isn't set up fully yet -- right?  I am pretty sure I saw some pear trees this morning, but I won't know until I get those identified also.   So exciting.

Does anyone know if that really is a hazelnut tree?  Answer in the comments :)


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Weather ... or Commit to a Season Already!

I have a habit of checking the weather, daily.  It's odd I know, because generally if you know the five day forecast -- you really should be okay.

But, not here.   For example, when I checked the weather yesterday morning it said today was going to be bright and sunshiny -- like go find those sunglasses you put away last September, Seattlites: You're finally going to need them.

It's pretty much the same for me though -- either I wear my sunglasses in the rain because I am obsessive about having something polarized during the fickle Pacific Northwest Weather spurts -- Or, come April or May I am buying a new pair.

This year it was kind of both -- because for whatever reason I kept breaking my mid-winter sunglasses.

But back to Seattle's fickle weather forecasts -- Yesterday it said today would be bright and sunshiny.  Today I awoke to overcast, foggy, totally confused weather.  And told me this morning that today was now going to be AM clouds / PM sun.  Sigh.

There's a bit of a nip in the air -- but it's the level of nippy where you don't know whether or not to wear a light sweater, because you will just be taking it off and putting it back on until the Sun finally burns away the clouds.  At which point, I may add, you will be wishing you could just wear a tank top without getting funny looks from people.

Wow -- what a bunch of nothing for this blog post, my bad.

Anywho -- I found this fabulous Blue Treasury just wonderful for today's weather -- so I had to have an excuse to share it.

Blue Fashion by Ilaria at IlMondodiPetra

Monday, May 26, 2014

Popular in the Shop: Stud Earrings

Amethyst Stud Earrings

Peridot Stud Earrings

Every so often, dainty, tiny stud earrings come into fashion again.  This year is one of those years. I have been having a lot of fun perfecting wire wrapped studs in the shop this spring -- and they are turning out adorable and are available in such variety it's hard not to steal many of them for my own jewelry box.   Below, find a super fun variety in multiple gemstones and colors.

Aqua Terra Jasper Stud Earrings

Pearl Stud Earrings (my biggest seller, ever.)

Cherry Creek Jasper Stud Earrings

Woodland Green Pearl Stud Earrings

Oxblood Red Garnet Stud Earrings

Hemlock Green African Opal Stud Earrings

Blue Fire Labradorite Stud Earrings
Aquamarine Stud Earrings