July 24, 2011

On Hiatus

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that I haven't been keeping up with the blog. I've spent a lot of time trying to create some jewelry for my ArtFire studio, which left me with little time to blog. Lately I've been really uninspired to make anything, or to write anything, so everything has come to a screeching halt!

I made three sales on ArtFire despite not advertising, so that was nice. I don't really think that ArtFire had any real hand in the sales that I did make, since two were referrals from family and one was due to keyword search.

I was using a free basic account on ArtFire since I did not have many items to sell. ArtFire recently announced that they are making a lot of changes to the site, including eliminating basic seller accounts. In other words, in order to keep my shop, I will need to "upgrade" to a pro account, which costs $10/month. They used some lame excuse about the new shop design not accommodating ads to justify the change. Well, I just can't justify paying $10/month since this is not something I do full-time.

So, it looks like my ArtFire shop will be closing as of September 13. I haven't decided whether or where I will move to another online storefront at this time. I might just have a lot of new necklaces and earrings added to my personal jewelry collection.

Ah well, it was fun while it lasted!

July 23, 2011

Nostalgia Around Your Neck

I have vivid memories of summer camp as a kid. I didn't go to "sleep away" camp like so many other kids did, but there was a county park near my house that had a day camp that my sister and I would sometimes attend.

I remember on those super hot, humid Florida summer days, the joy of an orange soda and arts and crafts time inside the park's community center. We would fashion birdhouses out of popsicle sticks, tie-dye our t-shirts, and of course, make lanyards and keychains. The counselors would give us the plasticky cord and we'd go to town until we had something like this:

So when I saw the Accordion Strands necklace at Anthropologie, something seemed strangely familiar:

That's right, it's a box braid! I was officially inspired and decided to see if I could still remember the technique I learned in summer camp so many years ago. I came up with this:

I'm currently working with narrower ribbons on another box braid project. I'm not sure yet what it will be, but it's going to take a while!

April 23, 2011

Vintage Graphics Goodness

I really love old and vintage images, because they often have a detail and aesthetic that is not found much in modern print. I'm often inspired by vintage images, and I stumbled across an amazing source of free images - Karen at The Graphics Fairy.

A great example of some of the graphics you can find on Karen's blog is this adorable nest: *The Graphics Fairy*: Vintage Clip Art - Gorgeous Nest with Eggs & Ivy

She sometimes generates a few different versions of the graphics, perfect for use in craft projects!

The Graphics Fairy also has a page of blog backgrounds for use in Blogger - and they are free! I've used one as my blog background, which I love.

Recently, Karen added two more blogs to her world: one for DIY projects and other for crafts others have created, all using the graphics that she has posted on her site. Absolutely wonderful stuff here, and so inspiring. I have a long list of images I can't wait to find the time to use!

April 22, 2011

Home Decor from Your Recycling Bin

In the spirit of Earth Day, I found this blog post with a great DIY on how to make some cool decor accessories out of stuff you can find in your recycling bin. I love figuring out how to make really cool (and super expensive) things that I see but can't afford.

The Evolution of Home: Ballard Designs Knockoff Pears Big Enough To Choke...

Now I just need to save up some plastic bottles, considering that the recycling just went out last night...

Oh yeah, and an actual house of my own to decorate would be nice, too!

April 2, 2011

It's a Match!

I finally finished the project I was working on, took photos, and edited them. This is the first matching set that I've made with chandelier style crystals. I didn't have a plan for the rose colored crystals when I bought them, they just looked pretty, and I like using acrylic crystals because they are lightweight. You can use more crystals in one piece because they won't be heavy or uncomfortable, and they are especially good for earrings.

When I received the aqua Czech glass beads, I had one of those light bulb moments, and I knew I would be using them with the rose crystals. I decided that I wanted to create a cluster pendant as the focal point of the necklace instead of using the crystals as the focal point. I wire wrapped everything for a secure finish. The earrings were a given when I decided I only wanted to use six crystals in the necklace. Here they are!

handmade crystal earrings, rose, pink, aqua

handmade crystal earrings, rose, pink, aqua

handmade matching rose crystal earrings and necklace

handmade rose chandelier crystal necklace

handmade rose chandelier crystal necklace

handmade rose chandelier crystal necklace

March 22, 2011

Sneak Peek

handmade, crystal necklace, cluster
Here's a sneek peak at something I've been working on. It is almost finished and I will be listing it on my ArtFire studio in a few days! I'm excited because I wasn't sure how I was going to use some of the components when I first bought them, and then it just hit me, the way things sometimes do.

(Please pardon the awful photo. This was just a quick snapshot.)
Posted by Picasa

Becoming Collectible on ArtFire

During my lunch break today, I popped on over to ArtFire to do my daily Check-In, and I noticed I had a message in my inbox. This is not a frequent occurrence at this point in my crafty business venture, so I was super excited to see what it was all about. I had a message saying that one of my items had been featured in a handpicked collection by another ArtFire member. Yippee!

What's a collection, you ask?

Each member can pick some sort of theme and choose at least twelve items to feature that are somehow related to that theme. Collections are featured in a separate section on the site, they can be rated, and they can be commented upon. Basically, they are a nice way for other members to promote each other and themselves. Thanks to JazzitupJewelryDesign on ArtFire for including my earrings in your collection!

March 18, 2011

House Hunting

Time for a small detour in my topics. My husband and I got married in November and are currently in the market to purchase our first home. It is both exciting and a bit scary at the same time. I can't wait to have my own place with walls I can paint whatever color I like and just generally feel like it's mine. Not to mention, after living in a one bedroom apartment for the past five years, we are ready for a little extra space.

Our current apartment is actually pretty cool. We live in downtown Raleigh within walking distance to everything our growing downtown has to offer, including a cupcake shop about 25 steps from our front door (yes, dangerous!). At the same time, our street is quiet despite being in the thick of it, and we have become spoiled with the combination of being able to walk home from a bar and still get some sleep at night without a ton of city noise. We are hoping to find a house in downtown that still allows us to walk to many of the places we enjoy, yet our modest budget certainly limits our options.

Our current building is over 100 years old and was renovated just over 10 years ago, so it is a great combination of old house charm and modern conveniences (can you say dishwasher? Yay!). It has high ceilings, lovely hardwood floors, those old heavy doors through which sound cannot penetrate, and glass doorknobs. These little details add so much character to a dwelling, and I just love them. The majority of apartments that I have lived in have been similar, and I would love to find these same details in the house we eventually purchase.

But as great as our apartment is, it is only a one bedroom, and well, we need more space! Both of us are creative and crafty people, and our living room and dining room table are always morphing into studio and workshop. This kind of hinders things like watching TV on the couch or eating dinner. Hm. So it is time for something bigger, and ours.

March 16, 2011

To Blog or Not To Blog...

Blogging can be fun and inspiring, but it can also be intimidating. This is not my first blog, but it is the only one I've attempted in about seven years, and it is the only one I've actually hoped to share with others outside of my circle of friends and family. It is also the only blog I've started with the hopes of starting a business!

Fatdogbeads had a post featured on Handmade Spark  about actively entering the blogging foray as a regular blogger. She talks about the reasons excuses she has found not to blog, as well as the very good reasons that she should. I found myself relating to a lot of what she mentioned, and I find myself making some of the same excuses. But, like her, I'm determined!

So far, one of my biggest barriers to blogging is when my ideas occur to me. Since I started this blog a month ago, I've had some really good ideas come to me - during the most inopportune times! I have great ideas driving down the road at 70 mph, while I'm washing my hair in the shower and mentally following rabbit trails, or when I'm at my full-time job (when I'm supposed to be working on someone else's work, not mine).

Another barrier is that I want to make things based on some of my findings in the blogosphere. I've found some great DIY projects that I can't wait to try out and put my own spin on so I can post about them. Right now I've got a list of about five projects I want to blog about, but I'm still working (in what little spare time I have) on building my inventory for my ArtFire studio. Some of the blog projects will hopefully end up good enough to sell, but there are no guarantees when you are trying new techniques out for the first time!

But I know that blogging will help my business aspirations. I'll be able to chronicle my work, the interesting things I find from other artisans and crafters, and hopefully provide inspiration to others.

Like Fatdogbeads, I also promise to blog.

March 14, 2011

Salty + Sweet

I don't have much of a sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for salty and sweet flavor combos. Something about the two flavors balancing each other out make me unable to control myself. So a cookie made out of potato chips sounds right up my alley.

I found this recipe for potato chip cookies on Handmade Spark that sounds amazing.  I decided to put my own spin on the recipe by adding crumbled Heath bar. Delish!

Oxidizing Sterling Silver With Lime Sulfur

how to oxidize silver with lime sulfur @ Things Uncommon

After my failed attempt to oxidize silver with a boiled egg, my next experiment was oxidizing with lime sulfur, and I thought I'd whip up a quick tutorial, since I had not seen one online for this method. Lime sulfur is easily found at a garden center and relatively inexpensive (about $10). It is a potent chemical, so be sure to use gloves and work in a well ventilated area - it stinks like rotten eggs (that's the sulfur for ya!).

I never found detailed instructions mentioning time or specific measurements for this oxidation method, so I just made some educated guesses the first time I tried this. I used this method to oxidize a few jump rings.

how to oxidize sterling silver with lime sulfur jumprings @ Things Uncommon

I placed about ¼ cup of hot water in a plastic container (cut off bottom of a soda bottle) and added about four drops of lime sulfur (just eyeballed it out of the bottle, though I may try to get a dropper for better control next time). I added my sliver findings and let it sit, checking on it every five minutes or so, and giving the liquid a little swish.

oxidizing sterling silver with lime sulfur @ Things Uncommon

After about 20 minutes, the silver had completely oxidized to a dark gray finish and I removed the silver from the wash. I rinsed them off thoroughly, of course.

oxidized sterling silver jumprings lime sulfur @ Things Uncommon

I like the gray finish, but will try this experiment again to see if a darker finish can be achieved if I leave the silver in the wash a bit longer.

And here are a pair of rose quartz earrings I made with my oxidized findings.

rose quartz oxidized sterling silver cluster earrings

March 13, 2011

Oxidizing Sterling Silver: A Multitude of Methods

Call me crazy, but I adore the look of oxidized silver. There’s something very romantic and organic about aged silver, not to mention that you never have to worry about polishing it!

What do I mean by oxidized? Oxidation is the dark coloration that forms on silver over time, also known as tarnish. It is caused by a chemical reaction between the metal and chemicals in the environment. Usually, oxidation occurs over time and is something that people generally try to prevent or correct by polishing silver to a high sheen. However, the antiqued look of oxidized silver can be very attractive in a jewelry application (not so sure I’d want to eat off of oxidized silverware, though).

Since I hadn’t really worked with sterling silver until I decided to create my own craft business, I had never really thought about oxidizing it on purpose. When I finally realized what I had been missing out on, I searched and searched to find different techniques for hand oxidizing. There are several different methods (it is only a chemical reaction, after all), but I never really found one good place that compared the most popular ones. I’m going to try to do that now!

Liver of Sulfur (LOS)
This is the most common method of oxidizing sterling silver. LOS is a potent chemical used by jewelers to create the dark patina on silver. It can be used to achieve several different shades of oxidization. I haven’t tried this yet for a few reasons: it is a hazardous chemical making it expensive to ship and it has a short shelf life. Since I’m just experimenting at this point, I don't really want to invest in something that goes bad quickly! However, if you simply search for “oxidizing silver”, this will be the most common method you will find. I think it is considered the industry standard, so I know it will work. If I don’t find any of the other methods to be adequate, I will probably go with LOS.

LOS comes in several different forms such as pellets, premixed liquid, and a gel. It generally needs to be diluted in warm water before applying to your silver.

Lime Sulfur
While reading forums about using LOS, I noted a few posts that mentioned lime sulfur, which is a chemical used in gardening for pest control on plants. This chemical has a longer shelf life than LOS, is a bit more economical ,and is easy to find in a local hardware store or garden center.

Lime sulfur comes in a liquid form. The information that I found said to dilute a few drops of lime sulphur in a larger portion of hot water, then soak the silver.

Hard Boiled Egg
There are tons of tutorials out there for oxidizing silver with a boiled egg. I tried this method with a few headpins and earwires. I boiled a large egg (it had been in the fridge for a while), broke up the yolk and placed it in a plastic container with some findings. According to the tutorial I read, I should have noticed some oxidation after five or so minutes, but I had nothing after 10. Bummer. I thought my yolk cooled off too much, so I heated it up (without the silver!) in the microwave and placed it back in with the silver. Ten more minutes passed and my findings were merely eggy. Then I thought that maybe I just didn’t have enough yolk to do the job, so I boiled up another egg (a little fresher than the previous egg) and added it to the container. After another 10 minutes I still had nothing. What the heck? Everything I had read said that it works great, takes a bit longer to achieve a black patina, but you should be able to see oxidation after a little while. Maybe my container isn’t airtight, I thought. So I switched everything out to a ziplock bag and forgot about it until the next day.

Disappointment. I noticed just a very small amount of very light uneven oxidation after a full 24 hours and stinky eggs. It just didn’t work for me this time, but I do plan to try this again because I would rather oxidize my silver without having to use harsh (and toxic, I might add) chemicals. Unfortunately I did not take any photos of my findings after this process, but I will the next time I try this method.

Household Bleach
I found very little information about using this method, but it does seem to work. I tried oxidizing a ring I don't wear anymore in straight bleach, and it oxidized to a nice dark black. I’ve read in a few other places to make a 50/50 bleach/water solution as a straight bleach solution may damage the metal.

Next time I’ll post the photos from my experiment with lime sulfur.

March 7, 2011

Necklace from Nature: An Awesome DIY

I found this very cool DIY via the One Pretty Thing Jewelry Making Roundup for a necklace using pieces of wood you can find around your yard: Wood Disc Necklace: Guest Tutorial by The Scrap Shoppe.

What a great way to use natural elements in your projects. I tend to forget about the use of glue and adhesives when I make my pieces, but it definitely opens up more possibilities for the variety of materials that can be used. I can't wait to try my own variation of this technique!

March 2, 2011

ArtFire Rocks: Things Uncommon

So far I've opened a studio on ArtFire.
Things Uncommon ArtFire studio
Some of the benefits I see with ArtFire versus other online handmade sales venues are:
  • ArtFire offers a free Basic Membership. This means that you can set up a shop (called a "studio" in the ArtFire world) for free. You can post unlimited listings in your studio, and they will be active for four months (assuming they don't sell, but hopefully they will!). You get to personalize your studio with a banner and an avatar. Once you get your sealegs you can go Pro for a flat monthly fee (currently $9.95) - ArtFire does not charge listing fees, nor do they take a percentage of your sales!
  • ArtFire does not require buyers to be members. To me, this is an awesome benefit compared to Etsy, where all buyers must sign up for an account with Etsy in order to make a purchase. I know how I feel about constantly having to create new logins and memberships (and the associated spam that inevitably comes with them). So I feel that potential customers would appreciate the ease of putting items in a cart and checking out without having to create yet another login and password to forget remember.
  • SEO. ArtFire is big on Search Engine Optimization (SEO). They offer tutorials and information to sellers on how to get the most bang for their keyword bucks. They want you to be found, because buyers who do not know about ArtFire most likely do know about Google. They also like to keep members informed of changes in the internet search world, such as the latest changes at Google and what they mean to sellers.
It was super easy to set up an account and get started. Listing items is fairly straight forward, and navigating your studio is generally intuitive. So far so good. I need to get busy and get to work on some more items to list. Like I said before, it's going to be a slow process, and so far it has been. I feel like I've been working two full-time jobs despite not actually having the free time of another full-time job. But it is exciting, especially since I've already made one sale!

February 27, 2011

Collaged Crystal Necklace

Here is a necklace I recently finished. I'll probably just keep it, or perhaps switch the crystal out for another one and sell it. I accidentally put the collage on crooked. If has some character, I suppose, but I wouldn't sell it like this.
collaged, chandelier crystal, collage, necklace, handmade, jewelry
I've had that crystal for quite some time now, but I never knew how I wanted to use it until now.

February 24, 2011


Chandelier Crystal, Czech Glass, Cluster Earrings, Handmade, thingsuncommon, things uncommon, artfire
My First Sale!
OK, I don't use the term very often, but OMG! I had my first sale today and I hadn't even realized I started! I actually put a few pairs of earrings up on my free Basic ArtFire studio a few days ago, created a quick and dirty banner for it, and tried to start familiarizing myself with how things work there. I asked my husband and my sister to take a look at it just for some feedback. My husband wanted to tell everyone right away, but I said, "I only have four things on there! I'm not ready!!"

So he held back and I've been frantically trying to purchase more supplies. This week has been busy with other extracurricular activities so I haven't had much creation time. I made 1/4 of a necklace on Monday, but that's not really getting me anywhere!

So today my sister posts my studio link on her Facebook, and one of her awesome friends bought a pair of my earrings! Woohoo! Oh, but wait. I haven't figured out my packaging yet. What am I going to put the earrings in? It has to be pretty, and unique. I want the buyer to feel like she bought herself a little gift. I also wish I actually had a solid logo figured out. Business cards would be nice. So would a custom rubber stamp. But I want to get her earrings in the mail ASAP! I guess tomorrow will be an interesting day of figuring out something cool for my packaging in a pinch. Then I need to really sit down and thing about what I need to order!

February 22, 2011

Indecision May or May Not Be Your Problem

My husband says this to me a lot. I'm frickin' indecisive. It is a tragic flaw that has certainly impeded me in many situations. I've now got to overcome this crap and make some executive decisions, dammit!

Here are some of the decisions I'm facing as an aspiring craft entrepreneur.

Should I go high-end, low-end, or middle-of-the-road? Base metals, sterling, both? Glass, plastic and acrylic or gemstones, or both? Should I purchase findings that are already antiqued or do it myself? Should I buy from Chinese wholesalers to make a better profit margin? Should I purchase my supplies from my local bead store because I prefer contributing to my local economy even if it means I have to charge my customers more? Should I make every piece one of a kind or just create a few designs that I can make with a few minor variations? And this is just for the jewelry side of the house. What about when (yes, when) we expand our offerings to other items? Just thinking about that makes my head spin.

No, I'm not a booking agent for musical acts or burlesque shows - where am I going to sell my wares? Clearly, I will have an online store. But which one? Etsy is the original virtual craft bazaar, but it is no longer the only place where you can sell handmade items. There is also Artfire, 1000Markets and a bevvy of others to choose from. They each have their own quirks and advantages. Etsy is almost to the point of being "mainstream" in that many people know about it, but it is also flooded with tons of competition. Artfire lets you set up a store for free so you can test the waters, but it isn't as well known at this point.

I like the idea of creating Anthropologie inspired jewelry, but I know that is limiting. Plus, I dont' want people to think I am making knockoffs, because that is not my goal. In the end it will come down to what sells and where the demand lies, but first I'll need to make some inventory in a variety of styles before I can figure that out.

Once I get all that figured out, I still have to make myself "legal" before I start doing business. Yes, even someone who sells handmade crafts as a hobby still has to pay sales tax on those items sold to customers within the same state. Tune in next time for more on that ball of fun.

February 21, 2011

Anthro Inspiration

Here are a few items at Anthropologie that are inspiring me right now.

February 19, 2011

Just Doing It

Today my husband, two good friends and I joined a group of local cyclists on the CircumRaleigh Greenway Ride. This was a 24 mile bike ride circumnavigating Raleigh utilizing the greenway system. Yes, I said 24 miles. I haven't ridden my bike that far in...ever. We were lucky to have an absolutely beautiful day for this great feat, and now I am just about ready to turn into a big pile of jello.

As far as exercise is concerned, I think that riding a bicycle is my favorite variety. However, it isn't something that I do on a regular basis, so today's ride was a challenge. I admit that I had some doubts about how I would hold up for that distance, but I didn't really say anything about it to my husband, who happens to have way more confidence in my athletic abilities than I do. But I got out there and did it. Not to say that I wasn't cursing many of the hills we had to climb, the wind, and the chafing from the padded shorts I borrowed (I did this loudly and with gusto). Still, despite all that, by the end of the 24 miles, I really had a sense of accomplishment and surprise that I completed this monumental physical task without much trouble.

What does this have anything to do with my current endeavor to make and sell handmade jewelry? Not much other than the fact that I just need to do it. Much of my indecision is the fear of failure, or the evil little voice in the back of my head that makes me doubt my abilities from time to time. I enjoy making handcrafted jewelry and creating other handmade items, I can do this!

I've ordered a few supplies and have many more to order. I'm a bit gun shy on the amounts of chain, beads and findings I should be purchasing at this point. The prices get better with higher quantities, and as much of a bargain shopper that I am, I am just going to have to suck it up and purchase the smaller quantities at first until I actually start making some sales. I just have to "do" it.

February 18, 2011

Research, Research, Research

I’m super risk-averse. I’ve always been the type of person who wants to make the right decisions and the best choices possible, based on the information available to me. In the age of Google, that now means that just about any information that exists in the world is available to me – and that is a scary thing. Why? Because I will look for it. If I have even the slightest inkling that there is more information out there somewhere, I’m going to try to find it. What does that mean for getting my handcrafted goodies business started? It means that starting out will be s l o w.

So where am I at this point? Well, I'm still researching, of course. But I'm forcing myself to start taking meaningful steps toward getting this baby off the ground. For all intents and purposes, I could research forever - and I will! Just because you get something going doesn't mean the research stops. At least, that's my theory to having a successful business model. I guess we'll see if it works. But I need to start putting some of my research into action. The question is, which comes first, the product or the branding?

February 17, 2011

Creative Rebirth

I’ve basically thrust myself into this attempt at a creative business due to my boredom at work. I have a job that pays enough for me to live a relatively comfortable lifestyle, and for that I am extremely grateful. For the past eight or so years I’ve been content with performing my job as well as I can, but not really being that challenged by the nature of my work. I had a rough time after I graduated from university with a Bachelor’s in Business-Marketing, battling a recession after a national disaster, depression, and lots of confusion about what path I would end up taking. It didn’t really feel like a choice when I finally got my first real job. It was definitely more about feeling lucky to even have a job. It was something I knew I could do well without too much stress, so I didn’t really think about how my creativity would be affected.

Over the course of the next eight years, my creativity waned and eroded. I would still have spurts here and there, but inspiration would usually just sit idle in my brain. I quit writing the blog I had started, stopped taking photographs, and basically quit making things for myself.

People always say that you have to hit bottom before you can crawl out of a hole. I think that happened for me sometime last year. I was planning my wedding with my husband, and even though I didn’t think I really even wanted to have a “wedding”, I started becoming absorbed in the creative process of the planning. It happened a little too late in the planning process to be able to go into the painful detail that I normally obsess over, but it happened with just enough time to actually teach me that painful detail is not always necessary, nor is it always appreciated by those you are doing it for to begin with.

So I’m starting to crawl out of my creativity vacuum. And I am all in. It’s almost as if ideas have just been stockpiling in some forgotten closet in my head, and now that I’ve opened the door, everything’s falling out. It’s quite difficult to focus on work, because what I really want to be devoting my time and brain cells toward is working on my ideas. I can’t wait to start creating things!

February 15, 2011

It's Just a Start

My husband and I love to create things. I've always gained great satisfaction from creating or physically changing things so that I can see the fruits of my labor. I never really thought much about it until recently, since I've become quite bored with my job and need more personal joy from doing something. It's a decent paying job, but I just don't get much satisfaction from it (other than the complete and utter gratitude that I actually do have a job in these trying times). I've had hobbies that come and go, since my interests range from such things as photography, reading, drawing, and playing music to doing research, doing math (I know, I know - I used to hate it, but now numbers seem to make some sense), and cleaning (yeah, I know, another weird one). I never really ever picked just one thing and focused on it for more than a few months or a year at a time; however, I've always gone back to each of these things (and others) when I get bored with whatever it is I happened to be focusing on lately.

But I really just love to create things. I like to make clean things out of dirty things, functional things out of broken things, and pretty things out of a bunch of what looks like nothing. Mostly, I just like to make things better than they were, or better than their parts. I started making jewelry a couple of  years ago, inspired by my local bead store, Ornamentea. The store is so cute, and there are so many lovely goodies to choose from, how could you not be inspired to at least make a little something? Of course, I hadn't made jewelry since middle school when I taught myself how to make daisy chains with seed beads and knotted friendship bracelets. Needless to say, I've kind of outgrown those styles a bit. This is where Ornamentea really proves how awesome it is: they not only do they offer a variety of classes at the store, but they also offer FREE tutorials for different techniques and project ideas.

From Ornamentea.
OK, so another thing that I've slowly (and painfully) learned about myself over the course of my life is that I love teaching myself how to do things. No offense to any of the awesome teachers and instructors I've had in my life, but I really do learn and retain better by being given the basics and then being left to my own devices. So the tutorials that I found on Ornamentea's website totally tickled my fancy. They had amazing photos and instructions, and before I knew it, I'd made my very own seahorse necklace!

I was so proud of myself! Not only did I now actually have an awesome, unique piece of jewelry, I also had the pleasure of knowing I made it myself. I got so many compliments on it, I couldn't wait for the next new tutorial to come out, so I went to the store and bought a whole bunch of supplies that I hoped would inspire me. I had this wild idea that I'd make some necklaces for my sister and my Mom, which I eventually did. But I also bought a few things that are still sitting in my supply. I think I just jumped the gun, considering I didn't really have a whole lot of jewelry crafting experience under my belt yet. However, those other pretty ingredients will be used eventually, so they were not bought in vain.

So three years later I I now find myself itching to create my own designs. I've been inspired by many of Ornamentea's free tutorials, and I've learned a lot from them. I probably have plenty more to learn, and will likely take a few real classes sometime in the future. But I've also found another inspiration: Anthropologie. I just love the eclectic, yet beautiful, style of pretty much everything they sell. Just one problem - I would not be able to eat if I actually shopped there as much as I'd like to. Sure, they have great sales, and I've certainly found some incredible deals, but so many times I've missed out on something I really liked. And many times I've thought to myself, "I can make that!" This is mostly true with the jewelry, since I am far from being a seamstress with enough wits to even make a simple apron that won't fall apart (I do plan on improving upon that, though).

I've made jewelry for friends and they've had people ask them if I am selling my wares, but I've just never put enough time into it to actually create an inventory. Well, that is changing, my friends. I'm feeling enterprising and inspired, so let's see what I can come up with. I'm still debating whether to open and Etsy or Artfire shop, but I'll save that great debate for another post.

Thanks for tuning in, and we'll talk at ya later.

February 13, 2011

The Keywords

So, knowing how important Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is for just about everything these days, my first post will simply establish keywords on my blog. Major search engines tend to favor sites that have a longer tenure when returning search results, so here we go.

I'm hoping to start selling some of my Anthropologie inspired jewelry to just make a little extra money. I enjoy creating things, and I think that people often appreciate handmade lovely items. I'm hoping to keep an affordable range of items for those who love Anthropologie, but who can't always handle the steep prices there.

Jewelry, Anthropologie, earrings, necklaces, handmade, handcrafted, vintage, inspired, one of a kind, ooak, unique, bronze, copper, brass, sterling, silver, gunmetal, antiqued, oxidized, acrylic, chandelier, crystals, faceted, drops, pendants, czech glass