Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Calling in Sick

It's an odd thing, running a business from home.  In some ways -- I work all the time on the shop, much like I did when I worked in an office all the time.  It's one of those things a work-a-holic is saddled with: a constant drive to improve with the inability to ever really 'turn-off'.  I did it in the office, and now I seem to have that same obsession in the "studio".

It's rather sad really, when I think about it.  For while one could certainly say that the time spent in my "studio" or my "shop" are for me anyhow -- is it really?

Last night I was packing up some last minute orders -- just before dinner, and just before my writing class I take through my Local Vet Center where I live.  Dinner had finished, and I had not.  I still had writing to complete / perfect for the class and I was still packing up what needed to get mailed.

My daughter walked in as I was stressing about what to complete first -- I went with the shop stuff before focusing more on the 'me' centric writing -- and asked if she could just make the sides to go with the meatloaf I had made.   While this is a wonderful thing my daughter asked me -- and I let her do it of course -- I wonder, how much time when the kids are home am I too focused on the shop?

It's an important question when the lines are more thoroughly blurred like this in a "home shop"  -- sometimes I wonder where the shop ends and where "home" really begins.   Indeed, I often have to make a formal decision to stop with the shop (as I have stopped shipping 7 days a week, since the Post Office now locks its doors and I am constrained by dropping off during certain hours) and 'start' with the family.

For while working with the metals and gemstones is a healing thing for me - it's calming to my very tactile nature to be sure - there is always a time that becomes less healing, and more hiding.  Hiding behind my drive focuses my attention from what I should be doing, what I need to be doing and stops the actual healing process at some point.  I know this intellectually, but when one has dueling priorities it's tough to choose: Build the Business into a successful endeavor, or focus on what I started this with, calming my weary nerves.

So, today I called in sick to the shop.  My shop.  I was angry with myself, and thought for certain I was faking.

And lets be honest, even when I called in sick from work in the office, I still checked as much as I could at home -- so I will probably check on the shop once in a while.  But, for now, my 'to-do' list is put to the side, my 'must create' and 'must photo' lists can wait for tomorrow.  Even my mid-day chores around the house (which I use to break up the long days in the studio and working on the shop) will get done when they get done today.

I am calling in sick -- and probably watching many, many hours of cooking on television.  This is for one reason only:  For me.

Spring Green Glass Earrings

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Green Valentine

I love green -- I always have and I always will.  So incredibly happy when I woke up in the middle of night and found this fabulous "Green Valentine"  treasury featuring a pair of my earrings.  

On a personal note -- I am not to Valentine's Day Oriented, generally.  This year is different though.  Normally -- I say normally because there have not been very many Valentine's Days that hubby and I have spent together over the course of our Marriage -- I am celebrating it alone.

This year however, is different.  This year hubby is home -- and while he was home last year also, we were still in the honeymoon-he-just-moved-home from a two year stint in a location I couldn't be with him at. So this year it's for real.  I know it's probably a bit early, but I already have ideas floating through my head on making Valentine's super romantic this year.  I am actually excited for a non-major-historical holiday.

Swarovski Crystal Wild Heart Necklace -- Aquamarine
So excited in fact that I have been laying with hearts in the shop -- from Swarovski Crystal to hand created ear wires.  You can See a few below -- and hopefully in the next few days I will be posting a few videos on how to make these for yourself.

Heart Drop Earrings- Swarovski Crystal "Garnet"

Monday, January 13, 2014

Hubba Bubba - Radiant Orchid

I am not going to lie -- when Emerald was chosen as the color of the year last year, I did an insane happy dance. No really - imagine being a red-head who's hair color runs so deep there really is no way to hide it.

No matter what industrial hair coloring you want to mention -- trust me, I've tried it.  I even went platinum once -- and my hair turned out the color of the year for 2012, Tangerine Tango.

In fact -- the last time there was a color my skin and hair could truly pull off was 2010 -- and I just wasn't a big fan of turquoise.

So along comes Emerald Green -- plays off my hair perfectly, plus adds a little sparkle to my already green eyes.  Trust me I needed that "coolness" for a year.

But, 2013 is over and now we have a new "color of the year"  and judging by my mother's love of it and how well she pulls it off (having red hair also), I just may grow to love Radiant Orchid. Certainly I can get away with a little pop, right?

Photo Credit:  http://www.thebrideseyeview.com/

See, here's the thing about Orchid -- it's not just one color, which makes it fabulous for me. Just look -- you can you choose a million colors that all fit into the umbrella.  Nice, right?

Amethyst Pendant Necklace, Butterfly Necklace, Swarovski Crystal, February Birthstone 

Amethyst Necklace, February Birthstone, Orchid, Minimalist, 

Lilac Swarovski Crystal Heart Pendant Necklace, 14k Golf Filled, Orchid, Lavendar, Purple, Valantines Day

See -- they're all a form of radiant orchid.

Want to add some color, but not commit to jewelry?  Check out Sparrow and Joy -- she makes the most darling clutches, wallets and handbags.  She also made me a key-holder when my car key broke. Genius.

Here is an example of her work -- in another hot spring color: Sand.

Padded Zipper Pouch or Gadget Case - Butterfly Study

Check out the entire Spring Color line here:
Pantone Spring Fashion Colors, 2014

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Water Sign

It is again a bit dreary here outside Seattle -- but that doesn't mean I am not longing for ocean waves.  Plus, Who doesn't love a little teal to start their day?

Some great ideas here for Spring -- am I right?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Someday it will be spring...

I have been playing around with treasuries on Etsy and Collections on Artfire -- really because I am kind of taking a bit of a post-holiday break from creating.  Don't get me wrong, I have a ton of plans, but I am just taking a little breather and checking out what others have to offer.

Now -- I love both Etsy and Artfire, don't get me wrong.  But with Etsy, there isn't the ability to create a widget beyond a "treasury pin" that I have found -- but on Artfire it's right there, ready for you to use.

I made this Hemlock Collection yesterday -- because it looks as though Hemlock is just a very slight variation from Mint (as in just a name change from what my eyes can see.)  And I am embedding it here, because I think that ability is kind of cool -- plus I like to show what others are creating out there in the world.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Baby It's Cold Outside...and gray, and black and white...

Indie Design

It's one of those mornings outside Seattle -- the gray, gloomy and cold mornings that frequent winters here. Luckily I woke up to find this fabulous collection featuring a pair of my black and white earrings.  So much fun -- and black and white is always in fashion and elegant.  

Monday, January 6, 2014

Non - New Years Resolutions ...

Every year before now, I've had New Years Resolutions. This year it's not so much about 'resolutions,' but instead just about focusing on the positive.

Here's the thing -- my Mother and I started working with beads literally ten years ago during the holiday season, and for us, that's quite a feat. See, we're both a little flighty in our own ways, and I wasn't really crafty before ten years ago. Sure, I could make certain crafts, and bought things at Craft Stores for the kids to play with -- but I was never into doing the whole crafty mom thing. My mother, on the other hand has been through all the crafts you can imagine before beading -- from knitting and crocheting, to tatting, to painting, you name it and while I was growing up, she tried it and got us girls into it -- for a time.

I, on the other hand, have always been super high strung and the thought of sitting down and creating something never seemed like a valuable use of my time. Plus -- my time was limited, first there were all those hours in the Army.

Then there were kids -- all born within three years of each other -- they needed me more than a glue gun or some bead stringing material. Then there was college, a job search that took six months and added too much stress to my already hectic life (imagine being unemployed, out of college, unable to get unemployment because you went straight to college from the Army, but having to keep day care, and paying for it so in case something came up you were not searching for care for three full-time care kids -- not a lot of fun). Then there were hours of overtime working for the government in the midst of two wars -- kids needing my time, a husband deployed seemingly all the time, etc., etc., etc. And after everything finally got normal, and the bills were met, and the time was there for everything, and bam! The Army tells you you have to move.

So we moved, and a job I was supposed to have evaporated in the ten days it took to drive from Washington to Texas -- seeing family along the way, and a new job search was upon me. Then the job I found was short - term and another job search was upon me. Then -- I became so allergic to the area, I had to move the kids to an area where I did get a job -- and that Term but will become permanent, we swear, if you just move here evaporates because Congress fights tooth and nail, where would one find the time or inclination to find a hobby that makes sense considering where you are in the world? It's amazing to me really -- and no I do not mean to toot my own horn -- what I have done in the past year.

Sure, I kept applying for jobs left and right, (and still do), kept working at perfecting that resume, and making sure my suits were ready at the drop of a hat in case I got that magical call for an interview. But it was harder than anything I have ever been through -- it's tough to sit there applying and applying and hoping something will work out and only getting the automated "we got your resume" followed by the "we went another direction" emails. It really wrecks havoc on the psyche.

So -- 18 months or so ago, in the middle of surgery while hubby was still stuck down in another assignment, someone bought a pair of earrings I had forgotten I had listed. Then someone bought a necklace that same month. It was a boon to my ego -- so I said, you know what? My resume says I can do all this stuff -- it's been a while, but let me prove it, if only to myself.

So I did. I relearned how to writing Marketing copy for my humble little shop -- I learned about SEO both on Etsy on off. I worked diligently at photography and 'staging' -- I worked at building my community. And now, here I sit -- looking back at the past 18 months and I am proud. Very proud. While it's been tough, and there have been days I have just wanted to pull my hair out, I can now actually add a few more keywords to my resume.

Tripled both revenue and sales in one year.

Increased interaction through social media channels.

But that's not the big thing -- that's not where my non - resolution is this year.

Where it is is this: I honestly started this year happy.

Sure I don't have a lot of money in the bank, and I work a lot of hours on the shop -- but I woke up on New Years day smiling, happy and ready to tackle this year with gumption and purpose.

And -- I figured out how to better edit my photo's which added to that already over-sized smile.