Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Special Treat for Me!

So I purchased a special treat for myself the other day and I wanted to tell you all about it! I know that all you other indie people out there don't want to hear this, myself included, but I try very hard not to spend all my money on buying all the great handmade stuff out there. I would go broke if I bought everything I loved! I appreciate handmade items. I love handmade items. As a matter of fact, I am rarely interested in anything in the stores anymore because they are machine made and have no "soul". I have said it before, but I am all about the soul.


Back to my story. I bought myself an apron! It felt so domestic!I've never had one before and I fell in love with a green paisley fabric so I had to have it! And the maker of this apron isn't bad herself! Check out her work. Christina is a wonderful, conscientious, business girl who aims to please. And her stitches are perfect. I even found her signature on the back, which makes it feel even more special! The only downfall to having such a wonderful apron is that I get all upset if something gets it dirty!!! Please check out her website at
www.designsbychristina.biz


This is a picture of an apron in one of Christina's other amazing materials. Thanks!

Monday, January 28, 2008

I Will Pursue!

So I took some time off and regrouped. It did me some good to get away from the over load of information that the internet can provide. I love information. Don't get me wrong. I just tend to over do it. I research and research until my head is swimming and then I get overwhelmed.

Lately, I've been working on how to get my bridal jewelry line recognized more. I have been surfing the net for outlets- ways to connect with the brides. I feel like I am banging my head against a wall because I just don't feel like I know what direction to take anymore. I spent time researching how people make sales on etsy. Geese. Some of my friends have 1000 hearts and more!!! I have 19. Granted, I haven't worked much at promoting over there. That is why I was looking into it! But I just don't know how they do it! I have tried some of the techniques that are suggested, but I don't see any payback! I Flickr. I've joined groups and made contacts. I have fun, but not much else!



I have been calling to purchase vendor space at upscale expos. They won't sell me space! I go into bridal shops and they already have vendors that they represent! I'm not sure where to connect, but I will not give up. I will find my way through this mess! I believe in my product and I believe that brides will want my jewelry. If you have any ideas, please pass them on!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

An Even Keel

So I took a few days off and I feel soooo much better! I guess I can get myself overwhelmed when I spend too much time surfing. It becomes "too much information" and I go into overload. I read so many success stories and compare everything to what I am trying to do. I realize that I can't do that. It is human nature to compare, but everyone's stories are different. I realize that I have to concentrate on MY story! I find that the internet is amazing for connecting with other people, but the more you connect and the more information you gain, the more you have to try and keep up with. It is up to me to keep everything on an even keel.

Chinook

I wanted to thank Mellisa from www.chinookjewelry.com for the mention on her blog. She has wonderful jewelry. She is also a very talented clay pendant designer. I just love the earthiness of her designs. There are wonderful colors to choose from and her pieces look like artifacts. Please visit her website and you will be as excited as I am. Here is a picture of a simple necklace that I designed to showcase the bead, itself. I love the sage green of the bead with the oxidized sterling bar chain. If you like this, I can make you one, too. Pick any bead from her site and it is yours!!!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Design to Sell? or Design from the Heart?

I probably shouldn't be writing this at this moment. It is late and I am blurry-eyed from being on the computer ALL day. I am feeling at a crossroads and I'm really not sure what to do. When I feel like this, there is no stopping me though...

I guess every designer faces this at one time or another. It is probably inevitable. I am questioning everything about my jewelry. Up until now, I have believed in my instincts. I know what my style is and I know what I expect from my designs. I know what price points I feel comfortable charging and I know what customers I am targeting. Then, along came blogging, Etsy, The Switchboards, and my website, among other things.

All of a sudden, my head is swimming. I haven't had many sales at all. I am spending so much time reading about so many other peoples' successes that I have started to second guess everything that I have worked so hard to figure out for myself. I am beginning to wonder if I should be designing to sell or designing from my heart.

I have always felt very strongly about designing what feels right and good. I have taught myself this wonderful craft of jewelry making. I adore every aspect and every minute of it. This, I am certain of. I have worked hard to find my style. I know what makes me inspired and I have such a wonderful time exploring it. What I don't know is whether I should compromise these things to do what is proven true. Less expensive items sell more. But they are not challenging or inspiring to design. I have felt that what makes my jewelry my own is that it is more intricately designed and created. I love to work detail. That is what I do. I find the balance between intricate and classic. But people don't seem to want to pay for that. At least that is what I see online.

I'm going to sleep on this and see what tomorrow brings.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Wrestling is Over!


I am so relieved. We (and by "we" I mean "me") made it through the season. I try to be strong. I really do. But someone, sometimes, more than one, gets hurt. Sometimes they get very hurt. I've seen too much. Well I thought I did, until yesterday. One of Jake's teammates got hit on the back of his head, stood up and fainted to the mat. These are 8th graders. They are babies still. It is hard to watch. The boy was sick to his stomach when he woke up and the coaches took a long time until they let him get up. Fifteen minutes went by. I was having a fit that they didn't call the ambulance. My instincts were screaming to have him checked out.

They had him sit for awhile , and then he kept falling asleep and not remembering things. HELLOOOO!. It was hard to not take matters into my own hands. His mother was there and trying to stay very calm, but come on. They eventually called the EMS which took another 15 or 20 minutes to get there. I was nauseous by the end of the event.

I still haven't found out any information. I'm sure he is fine. It was probably a concussion, but my message is to act on the side of caution with your kids. The last casualty was a compound fracture and the boys parents weren't there or available by phone. I know we are all busy, but be there for your kids. They need us.


I'm done with my rant. WRESTLING IS DONE!!!!!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Can She Make it Work?!!!

Hang in there with me! I am trying like the devil to make this blog design my own! I really enjoy working on this. I am actually very proud of myself because I have taken on this challenge of understanding HTML and CSS with no one to ask any questions of. I have spent many more hours than I should obsessing over this. I have lost much sleep, too. Why can't I get the border to work? And how come the line won't move over a bit? The colors are fun to play with, but I can't make the pictures fit correctly?!! I know that I am one of many, many beginning bloggers who are obsessing, but what the heck? I have gone from "Just let me see if this will work.", to "@#$% it! I can't believe this!". And then to add insult to injury, Blogger can't be contacted to save what I've done!!!

But I'm having fun! And soon, you will see the end result of my obsessive creativity! Check back often to see this work in progress. If it hasn't progressed, I've lost my mind.........!

images

This beautiful picture of yarn, or something like it, is what I hope to incorporate into my header. We'll see....!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

How Come Jewelry?

A woman over at The Switchboards posed a question today that made me think about expanding on the topic. She wanted other women to explain what exactly made each of them decide to settle upon what they do. She stated that she had the desire to "channel her creative energy", but I guess she is feeling unsure about what exactly that should be.

Deciding what to do with myself, in my case, was like knowing if I wanted to marry my husband. There was not a question in my mind. Every bit of me just knew that I had to use my creativity. I used to work in an office for 10 years and a piece of me died every day. I felt so out of place and all I thought about was the project that I was currently involved in. It was an obsession and I had no control over it. I did not understand this pull and I felt awfully about it. I felt like a failure, because I worked so hard to receive my BS and Master's Degree and all I could think of was knitting.

This went on for many years. I eventually stopped working to be home with my children. Those 10 years were all about soul searching for me. I had anxiety problems that had to be dealt with. They came to a head when I quit my job. Little by little, I started to realize that I had choices. I could decide to make my self worth dependent upon what I wanted to be doing, not only on what other people in my life perceived to be success. In those 10 years, I started to understand that living a happy life was essential to me. I needed to feel right in my own skin. I had never felt that way before. The quest began. I started to study what other people were willing to spend their money on. I went to trade shows and just watched. The booths that had the biggest crowds seemed to consistently be food booths and jewelry booths.

After some time, I attended a friend's jewelry party. The jewelry was beautiful, handmade jewelry and everyone was very responsive to it. I sat and watched. I took in everything. I was mesmerized by the excitement and enthusiasm that the customers showed. And then the light bulb went on!!! I can do this myself! I can learn how to make this and sell it myself!

I set out to learn a whole industry with no one to teach me anything. It was a difficult, but very challenging. Five years later, it is ALL I still think about (besides my beloved knitting of course!). I researched the fashion district and now have my favorite shops that I rely heavily upon. I have gone to many trade shows and have searched out the best resources for silver findings, wire and everything else I might need. I purchase materials directly from dealers on 47th st. It is so much fun to take a day with my mom and galavant in Manhattan! This is what makes me feel right in my own skin. I now look forward to working every minute of the day!

Don't get me wrong. There are still MANY frustrations and difficulties, but I feel challenged by them, not depressed by them. I have MANY mountains still to climb, but I still get excited by making a sale. Each time a customer wants a piece that I have created, is a reminder to me that I am right where I belong. The biggest hurdle I have, is to find a way to make people know I exist! That is huge for this quiet, fairly private person! I have yet to find my success with this. But I am not going to let this stop me. I am now working on finding my niche in the industry. I have recently begun to extended myself to brides.

I believe that I have a product that brides love. My goal is to provide brides with choices that are subtle, classic, and have quality. I want to provide jewelry at affordable prices, yet have no rhinestones! In reaching out for this market, I have found a love in sparkle and romance!

.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Why we knit

Well, Josh passed his road test. I can't believe I have a son who drives. It just can't be happening. But it is, and so on we go. Please keep him safe.

I have been knitting a blanket for him for two years now. This is a very special blanket. I began planning it two years ago so that it would be ready for next September. It is Josh's "college blankie". I know I've mentioned it before. I've even shown a square or two. It has sentimental meaning to me because, besides the obvious, I have some very emotional memories that are connected with it. When I began testing out patterns, my knitting buddy went into the hospital for a knee replacement. She was actually my buddy in all aspects of life. Momma was my husband's grandmother and she was the most special person I have ever known. We were together many days a week and she was a part of everything I did. Joshua was her pride and joy. No two people could be closer or more in love. Josh was the first grandchild of the now 6. He had a special place in her heart and everyone knew that. Thank goodness he was old enough to know that till this day.

When Momma went in for her surgery, I came in with 3 or 4 different ideas for the blanket. I stayed with her and knit by her bedside for a week as she healed. I would make one square, decide that it wasn't just right, and rip it out. She made fun of my quest for the perfect blanket idea! On the night of Valentines Day, the doctors told her that she needed a pacemaker. Momma was 83. She was very upset, but we told her how lucky she was to have a new heart at that age! She was the youngest 83 year old I had ever met! As she slept, the snow fell outside. It piled to 1 foot. Inside, we snuggled and the perfect pattern settled into my head, my heart, and my hands.

The next morning, she went in for a 15 minute "procedure" and then she was gone. I have never told anyone this, but every stitch of that blanket is a part of her to me. And what makes it even more special is that it is made for Josh. Maybe I will tell Josh this story someday. For right now, it is his college blankie.

I wanted to say that the reason I needed to share this very personal story is that it represents the essence of knitting. This story has come full circle as I am almost finished assembling the squares. It feels melancholy.

Josh's blankie

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

New Designs for spring

Well, it felt like spring today- I think we broke some records here on Long Island! It was almost 70 degrees in the middle of January! I was in such a spring mood that I took out my camera to capture the gerbera daisies that my darling hubby gave me the other day when it was 23 degrees out! I wonder if he knows that this is my most favorite color in the world! Come to think of it, I just built a website and blog around it! This fuchsia just makes me smile :) ! And I fell in love with the pictures I took of them, too. Isn't it funny how you can try so hard to take a picture and it doesn't meet your expectations, and then you just snap a picture in your kitchen and it can look like it was taken at a beautiful garden?!!

Gerbera Daisy

Gerbera Daisy03

Gerbera Daisy02

I have been working on a new line of jewelry for the spring. I just love how gold and silver look together and have been having a lot of fun combining them in unexpected ways! I really like the graphic look that I have come up with. Working with wire is my first love. It is so satisfying to me to take a straight line and form it into whatever shape I want. I also feel the need to create my own findings lately. I want my pieces to be my own design whenever possible. I'll give you a peek at what I have been working on.

Valerie01 - E492

Brittany - E491

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Gimme girl time!

Ok. So It isn't easy being the only girl in a house full of boys! This isn't news to me. I have been living this for 20 years! Sometimes I am more aware of it than others. During baseball season, it is my life. My family eats and breathes baseball. We even plan our vacations around spring training! I have been to the Mets camp more times than I can remember! Don't get me wrong. I am so grateful for those experiences. The memories are incredible. But other times, I just long for some girly talk! The other day, my husband saw a knitting stitch counter that I had made. I used letter beads to spell out some knitting abbreviations. He looked at me slyly and smiled. "See," he said. "Here is proof that I really do listen to all your girly talk!" He pointed to the stitch holder that had PSSO and said, "That means pass slip stitch over! And that (CO) means cast on and that (BO) means bind off!" I belly laughed and realized how much I LOVE my boys! I wouldn't trade them for the world... I'm off to paint my nails ;)

Stitch holders


Stitch holders01

Friday, January 4, 2008

The Handcrafted Wedding

What a nice treat this morning to check my emails and see some happy news! Lynn, at The Handcrafted Wedding, included a wonderful write up about L. Stone Designs in her blog! What a nice feeling to see my pictures featured! And she described my company exactly as I am working so hard to be! That tells me that my website depicts exactly what I am trying to convey. Success at last! I finally feel like I am truly headed in the right direction. Now the challenge is to find brides. I have so many ideas and I am sorting through how to accomplish them. If anyone has any ideas, I'm listening!

For the meantime, I plan to do some wedding expos. That is a large step for me because these expos are usually very professional, but I feel really confident that I will find the right market this way. I also feel like I am ready to handle the more professional shows! It is even a little more exciting than scary!!! I am also interested in advertising in some bridal magazines. I have to find some that are in between Martha Stewart Weddings and the dinky little local ads. I also want to do some local newspaper articles.

Please check out www.blog.thehandcraftedwedding.com
Lynn is doing a wonderful service for indie designers and I would like to support her back!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

I was tagged!!! I feel loved! I've seen other people who were tagged. Now it is my turn! The thing is, I have to think of seven weird things about myself. My husband would love to chime in! He would come up with 20! I, on the other hand, am having a hard time thinking of something to write! Oh well, here it goes...

1. I have an obsession for magazines. I could spend hours at Borders just reading every magazine I can get my hands on! It gives me a rush.

2. I LOVE to rummage through old things. I absolutely love going to antique shops and looking for old things with soul. It is so inspiring to me.

3. I knit EVERY possible moment that I can...in the car, at my friends, at sporting events, everywhere! I have gotten a lot of looks! By the way, not while I am driving!!!

4. I save cutouts from magazines for probably 20 years now! I love cutting them out an putting them in a box that I have. It is like a dream box to me.

5. I get nuts if words are spelled wrong or if grammar is incorrect. What can I say? My mother is an English teacher and she drilled it in to me! My children love it when I correct them ;) !!! I actually hear them correcting others.

6. I get freaked out when I can't figure something out or if I can't make something work. You should see me when I can't get something to work on the computer! Or maybe you shouldn't!

7. OK. I want to be an author. I want to write a knitting book. I have always wanted to share my enthusiasm of knitting with others. Maybe some day.

So how'd I do? Do you think I am weird? Do me a favor. Follow the rules below! And have a good one!

The rules are as follows:

Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
Share 7 random and/or weird things about yourself.
Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.



I linked to :
1. www.claudinehellmuth.blogspot.com
2.www.msbelle.blogspot.com
3. designsbychristina
4.www.belbaciojewelry.blogspot.com
5.www.bridedesign.blogspot.com
6.www.thedapperdarling.blogspot.com
7.www.anniesmarket.blogspot.com