Saturday, November 28, 2009

It's Been a While - for Etsy

After a couple months of creating, selling locally, creating more, and another sale, I've finally gotten what is left photographed and listed in my Etsy shop. I find that I tend to work in shifts, somewhat. I go through stages when I am creating new designs, and I just keep going and going. I don't take the time to photograph or list things in my Etsy shop. Well, I finally took a creative break, picked up the camera, and got to the part of the job that I struggle with. {photography} I'm working on improving my technique, and am hoping that I'm making progress. So, without further ado, here's all that is new and fresh in my Etsy shop:

I've been working hard on improving my photography skills, so please leave me a comment with any advice or suggestions. Of course, you can always leave a comment to ask me a question, too!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Inspiration for the Tired Brain

You know how there are times when your brain is full of ideas and there aren't enough minutes in the day to create the projects that are bouncing around in your head? Then there are the other times. The days when you have time, sit at your desk, and stare blankly at the wall. I'm guessing I'm not the only one who knows what I mean. At that point, where do you turn for inspiration?

I have the usual places that I tend to look: beading magazines, jewelry catalogues, websites... But sometimes, my favorite catalogue pops up in the mail, and flipping through the pages brings me a different kind of inspiration. Anthropologie doesn't {just} sell jewelry. Mostly they sell women's clothing and house wares. They are my favorite store in this universe, and flipping through their catalogue give me visions of color combinations, themes, texture, and mood that I just don't get by looking at necklaces in a beading magazine. Want to see what I mean? Take a look:

Anthropologie is not a store I get to visit that often. There's one in Chicago, which is about a 2 hour drive for me, and another in Indianapolis, which is about 3 hours on the road. Walking through the store is another level of happiness for me that I won't even try to express with words. I'll just let those pictures speak for themselves. For now, I'll just sit back and hope that someone out there {Santa} drops a gift card into my stocking this year! Even if that doesn't happen, it's just a matter of time before I make my semi-annual trip there to treat myself to something special.

Luckily, I get a monthly dose of eye candy in the mail, which tides me over between visits. So the next time I'm feeling like I'm out of ideas, I might find a quirky color combination in a bedspread, or a funky doorknob, or even a wrapper from a piece of soap that will spring me back into creative action! What inspires you?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mini Show and the Importance of being Flexible

I had a conversation this weekend with the wife of a local restaurant owner. Uptown Kitchen is a great little restaurant in Granger, IN, right in the middle of Toscana Plaza. My husband and I enjoy going to breakfast there on weekends - great food and delicious coffee!

Anyway, they have offered a spot in their restaurant Wednesday morning for me to bring in and sell my jewelry. Another local crafter brings in handmade soy candles, and I have the chance to join her. I got excited to do it, until reality hit {oh, wait...I have a job! I can't just wander off with jewelry in hand, midweek...}

But, family to save the day! I coaxed my husband and my mom into taking my jewelry there for me. Phew! I hate missing out on opportunities to gain exposure to new {potential} customers! So, if you're in the South Bend area, stop by Uptown Kitchen, this Wednesday, November 18 between 9 and 11 in the morning. My husband will be happily answering questions {just be kind and don't ask him to identify stones - he makes things up!}

Saturday, November 14, 2009

3rd Annual Open House - Fun, Jewelry and Wine!

Having an Open House is so much fun. Friends come over and hang out. Some friends bring others with them, perhaps co-workers; so I get the chance to meet new people. Not to mention that so many people who I know, but don't see on a regular basis, stop by. So it ends up becoming a time to chat with friends, catch up with people, and make new acquaintances. Oh, and sell jewelry, too!
My open house started on a Saturday morning, and plenty of people stopped by. I was surprised to see so many people, considering that we had freakishly nice weather for November (70's in Northern Indiana!?!), and a Notre Dame football game gearing up just a few miles down the road.

Then, it ended with a Wednesday night open house. I have always had my open house on a Wednesday night, and love being able to run home from work and throw open the door just in time! We have snacks, wine, music, and lots of fun. My mom always helps out by running the check out station. This year was an added trick for her, since she had to learn to run credit cards through ProPay. She got the hang of it, though, and everything went smoothly.

My husband is in charge of food preparation and serving, which is always well done (he's my Mr. Martha Stewart!). This year we had wine, tea, crackers and cheese, artichoke dip, caramel corn and cookies. He also helps out by being social and chatting with people, and generally keeping the party going. I always try to move around, answer questions, rearrange displays when empty spots start to happen, and take custom orders. I have a pile of a few custom orders waiting for me right now!

Between my Saturday and Wednesday shows, my plastic earring cards went missing. Now, this would not have been a big deal, except that I had made about 10 new pairs of earrings between the shows and needed a way to get them displayed. I was at my wits end, trying not to get crazy, but feeling a little crazy as I searched my entire house (and when you're checking your sock drawer, you know you're a lost cause).  Then I remembered this great blog I had read a few months back that offered a PDF for necklace and earring stands that you could make with paper. So, I found the entry on Boo's blog, sent my husband to Hobby Lobby for cardstock, and hit print. I ran the PDF home during my lunch break, showed him how they worked, and handed him a pair of scissors. Like a good sport, he put together a dozen of these little earring displays, and I must say, I was thrilled when I got home from work. See how they turned out?

I decided to try her necklace displays next. I bought round busts from a jewelry store that was going out of business a couple of years ago. See?

So, needless to say, I could use a fresh update. If that goes well, I may even see if I can fashion something to display bracelets... Ah, a project for another day!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Last Minute Preparations

My open house begins Saturday morning, and since I work full time (plus some!), I have precious little time left before the shopping begins. I have made some great preparations so far:

New items created since my last show.
New items have been priced and photographed for posterity.
New items hit a wide variety of price points, so most people will be able to find something in their range.
Gift certificates have been printed for easy gift purchases.
ProPay is set up to accept credit cards at the show. I'll have my computer set up at check-out.
I have some older items marked as clearance, which is always popular!
I have plenty of business cards ready to pass out.
{and a big one}
My house is clean!!!

What I still need to do before the show:
Stock up on bags/boxes for the check-out process.
Print and attach tags to all of my new items.
Get snacks and beverages.
Go to the bank and get some small bills, for those who pay in cash and need change. (I always forget this!!!)

I have a lovely friend who has offered to come over Friday night and help me set up. It's always challenging, figuring out how to turn your house into a store. I need to decide what surfaces will work as displays, bring more lighting into the spaces, and try to make things look good! All while trying to mess up the house the LEAST possible, because our home is currently on the market and for sale. So, we have to be ready for a realtor to call us and be able to pull the house together again on short notice.

What do you think? Am I forgetting anything?? Leave me a comment if you can think of something I should do that would make my open house even better. I'm hoping for a good turn-out, and I really hope that people are pleasantly surprised by what they find!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Less than a week now...

In less than a week, my open house begins. That means, the downstairs of my house will be transformed into a jewelry store. This is extra challenging this year, because my husband and I have our house on the market and are trying to sell. So, not only am I trying to get ready for a big event, but we're doing work around the house, trying to get it ready to be shown. It's hard to balance it all, and sometimes I feel like I'm losing my mind. You know how you start cleaning a room, and a couple of hours later, it somehow looks worse than when you started??? Yeah, that's what I'm going through right now. So, with a whole lot of hard work, I'm hoping to pull things together, somehow. Wish me luck!