Friday, November 30, 2007

Zencart, Templates, Photos, Oh My!!

I'm going to give a quick hello! I am working day and night to get my website completed. I had NO idea that it would be this much work! No complaints, just surprised! I have been entering information into zencart for what seems like days at a time. I guess that means that I have lots of choices to offer. "That is good." I keep telling myself. I get a little frustrated because when I take a peek, I wish I had the foresight to take my pictures differently. I want them all to match each other as well as the site. The picture taking was happening gradually with no idea about the website so I have to remember to give myself a break and realize that I can change things as I move forward.

That being said...I LOVE MY SITE!!!! I have to admit that I had no idea what I was getting in to when I signed up. I didn't realize some of what I was buying when I signed on with Lightning Bug Designs. They are wonderful with a capitol "W"! I have learned so much and Leila has put up with so much of my nitpicking! Or maybe I just know what I want. Anyway, she always obliged.

I did not know what zencart was. I didn't realize that templates played such a large role in dictating my website. I worked around it, but I do feel like the product page looks very "all over the place". There is no cohesion to the template. I feel like all of the details are just thrown on the page. Leila worked with me to get it as best as we can without going into a lot of custom charges. That is what I wasn't aware of before hand. I thought all of the pages were going to be customized, not just the first page.

Anyway, I do love my website and I highly recommend working with LBD. They got me through something that I never thought would happen! Thank you Leila and Lauren!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Felted wool

I have a passion for wool. I always have. I've been knitting for 25 years and not a day goes by without it! It is like your morning coffee. Well, last year, I thought I'd try out felting. It was in every magazine and it piqued my interest. Like every good crafter, I went to the thrift shops and started searching. It became a near obsession! I get such a thrill in seeing how the sweater fabric comes out after it has been shrunk! I don't know what it is. I am driven. I love the search for great colors and patterns. I love the fact that I am saving these sweaters from being destroyed. I love the idea that this will be exciting fabric to someone else. And it is fun to get out and have an excuse to shop!

felt scraps
felt scraps 01

I hope that I am able to connect with those of you who have a need for 100% wool felt. There are so many applications. I'm sure you know of someone who uses felt. I cut the sweaters into smaller pieces so that I can offer an array to those of you who need them. I feel good recycling, too. So pass the word and I will keep providing what I can. If you have a need for larger pieces and less color choices, let me know. If you are looking for certain colors, I'll keep that in mind. Have fun with these scraps. There are some really pretty colors to be had! And some really pretty things that you all make with them!

Maggie got in on the fun as well!

Maggie hides a cookie
felt scraps 03

Monday, November 26, 2007

Back to work! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday! Mine was quiet as my family was scattered. But I thoroughly enjoyed cooking with my Jake, visiting with my mother-in-law, and enjoying my son Josh and his girlfriend. We were all together and for that I am grateful.

My husband, Ira, is a wonderful cook. He loves to try fancy projects and 99% of the time, he has amazing results! This Thanksgiving, he decided to make a ham. Being that we are jewish, we haven't made all that many hams... lots of chicken soup and matzah balls, but very few hams! He loves ham and so he bought all the wonderful ingredients and set about his dish. I wanted to show off his amazing results! Here is the before and after:
Daddy's Thanksgiving 07 01
Thanksgiving 07 01

We also made all the usual and the turkey came out just perfectly! I also had great luck with my pies this year! I have a thing with pie crusts and it is not good. I tried Martha's perfect pie crust and it really is doable and perfect! It really was so easy to do. Forget the store bought kind. I was actually so happy with the results that I took a picture! This blog thing is really fun! I never thought of taking pictures of my pies before!!!
One perfect looking pie

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just a quick note! I wanted to wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving. It is one of my favorite holidays and I love being with family and friends. I know you do too, so I hope you are with the ones you love enjoying lots of wonderful food and laughs!

Monday, November 19, 2007

My Fashion Jewelry

Ok. Here we go! I am going to post some pictures of my fashion jewelry because I think that I have really made my bridal jewelry my main focus. I actually have been making fashion jewelry for five years until I added my bridal line and decided that I LOVED making a better class of jewelry to offer the brides.I think the pictures will actually work this time!
And I also have some earrings...actually, I have many earrings, but my website is opening in two weeks and I should leave some reasons for you all to go visit! Here are my favorite ones! I have been in a real earring mode lately and in designing, you go with what moves you!

And here is a bracelet-one I wear every day might I add! It's funny how certain things just catch you attention! It never leaves my wrist. I had no idea when I made it that it would become my favorite. I wear it with another charm bracelet that I made for myself with Amy Peters charms that my children got for me. I chose the "create" and "follow your heart" ones. It is very special to me. I adore her work.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Now I'm losing my patience.

What's going on? I can't add pictures to my blog. It is unacceptable. I am frustrated. I keep coming back here to try and nothing. I wish I chose a different company to go through. I was just getting in to this whole blogging thing and then I hit this roadblock. I guess that I will have to find a way around it.

Well I did have some beautiful fall pictures to share with you all. My son's friend visited from Florida last week (we live in NY), and she asked if the trees were always yellow! I laughed, but realized how much I adore the colors of the fall. They seem extra vibrant right now and so I went out on a color adventure. I've been so couped up with my website assignments that I haven't been out in a few days. The air smells fresh.

I am going to post about my adventures when I can illustrate them.

Back to my website assignment.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bye Bye Nikon

Well, I had to give it back. It was difficult, but I did it. It was the right thing to do. I gave back the camera. No more crystal clear shots. I guess I'll have to start saving my pennies! Or selling lots of jewelry! Come on everyone! Do a good deed. Buy lots and lots of jewelry so I can buy an awesome camera and show you far superior pictures!!!!

Well, I promised to share some of my favorite fashion shots. I have so much fun making fashion jewelry. It seems that every time a woman walks by with a cool necklace or earring, I run home to create a new design! Does that happen to all you jewelry designers too?! I can't turn on the tv without finding inspiration! Here are some pix. (If only I could upload them...damn Blogger glitch).

Thank you Aunt Debbie!

So I spent the day taking pictures! And yesterday too. I actually like taking pictures, but in excess of 300 is a little tiring. My sister-in-law did the most amazing thing for me. She lent me her Nikon D40 for a day or two. I have been salivating over her camera since she got it a few weeks ago. The pictures are crystal clear... just amazing. Don't get me wrong! I actually love my camera! It has been a good friend to me, but for the type of close-ups that I need to take of my jewelry, it doesn't always do the job. I know what I expect of it, but it doesn't always come through for me. And I have been feeling sorry for myself.

I am adding the product information into my website and my pictures are telling my story. That is why this issue has become so personal. Thank you Aunt Debbie. You came through in a big way! I am VERY happy with most of what I took. I have come a really long way in this journey of photographing jewelry! I think it is next to impossible to get good pix of jewelry unless you have professional equipment. I have tried every setting in every possible lighting situation! I think that there is no science behind it...just pure luck! And to top it off, I am trying to capture pearl and crystal. Try taking a picture of a clear glass and see how difficult it can be!

Here are some of my bridal favorites:

Stay tuned for my fashion jewelry best pix tomorrow!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Fashion District shopping

Well, I finally got to NYC to pick up some materials that I need to get. I always have such a hard time keeping my purchases to what I went there for! Over the last five years, I have accumulated the most awesome collection of beads so I usually don't need too much any more. I just have to "fill in" with the most up -to -date colors. I also have to keep my pearl stock current and supplied. I, personally, never buy pearls on line. I MUST touch them and see the shine etc. It is such an important part to me of what I do. How the beads feel is just as important as how they look. Here are some pictures of one of the bead warehouses that I shopped in. It is so colorful...and soooooooo many choices!

The amazing thing to me is that I can actually choose beads with no plan in my head and then create just the right piece with them! It is great fun! I can't wait to actually get down to work. I have so many ideas in my head and never enough time to create!

My two boys are off galavanting in NJ. This is the first time they have ever gone anywhere by themselves. They actually went on the train to meet some special friends they made last summer. Our family took a trip to Israel for my 13 year old's bar mitzvah. It was an amazing trip and they met so many great kids. A bunch of them met in NYC and went back to one family's home for the weekend. I miss them, but they will be home soon. It has made me realize how different things will be next year when Josh goes off to college...

My knitting is coming along. For those of you who are new here, I am making preemie hats to bring to the local hospital NICU. Here are some pix. Aren't they cute? It is so much fun. I'm trying to find more people to contribute hats. If you know anyone who knits, please pass my blog address along. I want to make a difference. The hats don't need to be knitted. They can be crocheted or sewn. Send them along and ask me any questions.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

My Website begins!

Yay! I have been waiting soooooo long to say this.My website is being made! I sent over some pictures and answered my first set of questions! I am so looking forward to seeing what it will actually look like! I'll keep you all up to date. The beginning of December is the target date for my launch. I have heard such great things about Leila and Lauren of Lightning Bug Designs. I just know that all my failed attempts at a website are going to be put to rest and I will love my successful one!

Yesterday, I spent a good part of the day over at Flickr getting acquainted. I have put a few pictures up and joined a few groups so please go take a look! If you have any suggestions, please comment. I am far from being proficient with it yet, but I got the hang of what it is all about. I am hoping to meet some new people over there that have similar interests and maybe even a bride or 10 or 20! It is so amazing to me how many people there are in the world if you know what I mean! There are so many opportunities to connect with people in so many different ways if you just have the time and the inclination.

I actually got to make some jewelry today. I don't seem to be able to do that lately with all the computer work that I have been doing. It felt great. I'll post some pictures of my works in progress tomorrow. I didn't have my camera with me today.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Is computer time worth it?

It happened again! I was up all night long trying to figure out this whole business thing. I started out with my business being home parties. When I used up every favor that I could pull out of the past, I moved on to trying to sell to boutiques. When that didn't seem to be productive enough, I tried to figure out a niche and I am presently working on bridal jewelry. I am sooo excited about my decision, but with that decision, came delving into the online world of blogging and websites and Flickr and everything else I can possibly think of! It feels like I am in school all over again. I knew nothing to start out with. Now I know next to nothing! I am wondering if this part of my journey is all that it is touted to be. I feel like I am on the computer 24 hours a day, which I actually enjoy, but it feels like I am in high school gabbing with my friends!!! Just like my kids do!!!

I guess that I need to hear some feed back about the successes and failures of networking on line. I have always been very confident about following my instincts and my instincts are very strong that I can connect, eventually, with the brides out there. It is also so much fun surfing the web wedding wise! But the $ is sparse and I need to make this work soon.

If you can take a minute, share your feelings about your experiences. I would love to hear what you all feel about this. Is my time and effort worth putting into networking online? I guess I'll figure it out eventually.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Spamalot for the boys

Well, I didn't get to go shopping as planned, but I had a wonderful evening anyway! I even got to take some pictures to share with you. I am so lucky to be able to go to Manhattan as often as I like. It is about 1 hour by car and we go in at least 5 or 6 times a year. This time, my mother-in-law was so generous as to buy my two boys tickets to see Spamalot on Broadway. It has been a tough two years for her and to see her enjoy this night with us to such abandonment was a wonderful feeling.

We had a yummy dinner at Juniors, famous for their cheesecake, and then she and the boys attended the play. My husband and I had a few hours to walk around and enjoy the gorgeous weather. We walked over to Bryant Park, my favorite part of the city, and saw that the skating rink had been constructed for the season. I was so excited! We sat and people watched. It was so refreshing to see so many people having such a fun time with their loved ones and family and friends! So many smiles. It was like we were on vacation.

As we sat and enjoyed, we received a text from Josh saying they were having a blast! I was so excited for them. You never know how boys are going to like a play! The funny part of this story is that my husband bought us two tickets for the same play in February without the boys and my mother-in-law didn't even know it at the time she bought her tickets! My boys were so disappointed when we only bought two! Grandma pulled through in a big way! And it really paid off! They can't wait for us to go now! Me either. My favorite person is going to be starring in it!!!
Here is a shot of the famous Times Square in all it's glory. Enjoy.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Off to Manhattan Tomorrow

I will be going to NY City tomorrow to buy some materials. I consider myself pretty lucky to be able to have the fashion district at my fingertips. It is an important part of the jewelry making process to me to be able to touch and actually pick out the beads that I am interested in. I don't usually go with an exact plan. I just buy the beads that call to me. It is always amazing to me that when I am ready to start a piece, I usually have exactly what I need! I guess that that is why they were calling me!

I thought it would be fun to take pictures tomorrow and show you a little of what I do- a bit of a tour! I hope they will let me use my camera. We'll see. After 9/11, it is a little tricky as to what is acceptable. I know some of the store owners, so hopefully...

Thursday, November 1, 2007

My first PR success!!!

I am soooo excited! I got bold the other day and submitted my jewelry to The Handmade Wedding and they actually featured me as their Indie Star of the Week!! Look for a full feature on L. Stone Designs in the weeks to come as my website is launched! I feel so good about this accomplishment as it is my first publication. Thank you to Lynn for the opportunity! Check it out !
The Handcrafted Wedding