Monday, December 31, 2007

New year, a new me?

Its that time of year to make resolutions. And like so many others I have my fair share of things I'd like to change / do in the new year.

But I am a bit lazy and a bit of a procrastinator (ok a huge procrastinator) so my resolutions always fall flat. However, this year may be different. Because of this wonderful blog I can publish my resolutions to the world (or to the 4 people who may actually be reading this) and hopefully you can help me hold my feet to the fire.

So here goes nothing:

1. Create more jewelry. Simple enough to do, right? Its something I love to do so why wouldn't I create more? Well this is were the above mentioned procrastination and laziness come in, I could make jewelry or I could take a nap, or do laundry or well you get the idea.

So this is my resolution: Post 3 new pieces on this blog per week.

2. Lose weight. I'd love to lose 30 pounds but would be estatic with 20 and perfectly content with 10. So how to overcome my laziness and procrastination? I've joined two on-line communities for weight loss so I'll have tons of support to help me avoid eating an entire candy bar or bag of chips because I'm bored. I'll even post updates here from time to time.

I've already made so many changes over the past year that I think I am in the right frame of mind to make these changes too.

Meanwhile what about my plans for New Years Eve you ask? Well they will be exciting - after the wee one goes to bed a dinner of Filet, baked potato and salad along with some great wine. Then maybe some board games or a movie and if we are lucky hubby and I may actually stay up until midnight to ring in the New Year. Or else we'll be in bed by 10.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Ch ch changes

A lot has changed since my last post. I got fired from my job (along with all of my co-workers) and for a while was really bitter about it. But then I got over it and began to see it for what it was - a really great thing.

Getting fired forced me to take stock of my life. It made me make a decision that I had been thinking about for a long time. I am going to stay home with my daughter and work on my jewelry business.

Its going to be hard and we will have to make some sacrifices to make it work. But I truly believe that it is the right thing for me and my family.

So today is my last day of work. I was able to walk in with a spring in my step and a song in my heart, knowing that I have the best of all possible futures lying ahead of me.

Now I raise my cup of coffee and toast to the great unknown challenges that lie in front of me. I know that I will truly enjoy the ride.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Family Day One Year Later

Its hard to belive that it was just one year ago today that we were in China and met our beloved Vivienne Chao, Ivie to those who know and love her, for the first time. If you want to read our original posts on the day they are here and here along with our pictures here

What a difference a year makes. On Family Day, Ivie was this tiny scared little baby.

Today she is a self-confident little girl. She loves to dance, jump, read, run and play. She is speaking in small sentences like "More please hot dog mommy", "No bite people" (we've had a bit of an issue there) and "Get down kitty". She recognizes letters and when she sees writing in books she will start to recite the alphabet song (well as much of it as she can remember). She has also started memorizing some of her favorite books and can recite parts of them along with me when I read.

She loves spending time with our family. She can't wait to see her Amas (grandma) and Bacas (grandpa). In fact when I told her that Ama and Baca G and Ama F were coming over tonight she said "two Amas". She also loves to play with her cousins and will ask about Alex and Arie.

She loves going to the Zoo to see all the animals. Her favorite parts are the playground in the kids area, the Family Farm (with the cows and bunnies) and the Zoo train. She loves yelling "Choo Choo" and "All Aboard" at the top of her lungs.

Another favorite activity is dancing. Well really its more spinning around and hopping up and down. She will be hopping around to No More Monkeys or the Bunny Hop and decide that Scott and I should join her. She will say "Dance Mommy" and "Dance Daddy" and then grab our hands and jump some more.

She has just brought so much joy to our lives. It is hard to remember what our life was like without her. I look forward to many more anniversarys and to experiencing all the joy yet to come.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Crafting For China Charity Challenge Update

Well there are only two weeks remaining in my Crafting for China Charity Challenge to benefit the Half the Sky Foundation (see here for information)

So far I've sold 4 items for a total of $54.40. While that is great, I haven't made any progress since my last update. So for the last two weeks of the Challenge, I am increasing my donations to 75% of the proceeds from the Charity section in my shop and 35% of the proceeds from the remainder of the shop

I am still hoping to reach my goal of $300 to sponsor a child for a year. Hopefully I will reach it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Pure Joy

Sometimes we can get so caught up in what is going on in our lives that we forget to enjoy ourselves. I know that I am guilty of this very often.

Watching my daughter play reminds me of the pure joy that can be found in life if you open yourself up to it. Nothing makes her happier than dancing, singing, reading her books and playing with her favorite toy of the moment.

She has recently taken up "cooking". Sometimes she is at her kitchen set and sometimes she is at her little "table" which is really a low shelf on the tv stand that she sits on and our speaker which doubles as a table (yes I know she needs a real table which she will get for Christmas). She takes her stacking cups and pretends to mix and measure. She will then come over to me and Scott with a huge smile on her face. She will either hand us the cups or feed us herself. She looks so proud of what she has created, it makes me want to cry with happiness.

This is what is important, not the day to day grind, the little things that give us joy.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Running A Business Part 2

So I looked through my materials on running a business and the first thing I am going to be working on is defining where I fit in the marketplace. My dear friend Sonja will get a big kick out of me using all this "MBA speak" on my little jewelry business. But it is a valid question.

The short answer is I make jewelry. Well so do a million other people. So what makes my jewelry unique so people will actually want to buy from me and not from the other million?

Looking at my Etsy shop I don't really see a cohesive look. I have twisted wire pieces, some beaded pieces and some paper collage pieces. Is this a problem? Should I have one store for my more traditional pieces and one for the more experimental Trashion / collage pieces?

I'd love to have some opinions from you all while I ponder this question. I hope to have some answers next Tuesday.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Running a business

Although I might not always see it as such, my jewelry design has evolved into a business.

When I started out designing it was purely for the love of creating. I saw something that I liked in a store and said, "I can make that better myself." I wandered into bead shops browsing through the strands of beautiful beads seeking inspiration which was easy to come by.

If I wanted to learn a new technique, I would try to figure it out on my own or I would buy a book or magazine with a tutorial. The possibilities were endless. I created for myself, I created what I loved.

That passion for creation lead to an amazing amount of jewelry. I had to do something with it. I gave it to friends and relatives for every conceivable present giving occasion and sometimes just because.

But just like I couldn't possibly wear everything I made, my friends and family were reaching a saturation point as well. I had to start selling to other people. I started out at a local farmer's market. Every Saturday I would set up my tent and eagerly await my customers. I always sold something, at least one thing. But more often than not I sold lots of pieces. It was an amazing feeling, people I didn't know loved my work as much as I did.

After that experience, I ventured into some local boutiques selling pieces on consignment. It was fun to walk into a store and see your jewelry displayed next to professional designers.

But all this time, I never really treated it as a business. It was a fun hobby that I made some money doing. The money went to buy more beads and sometimes it helped me buy something for myself.

When I started selling on Etsy in March of this year it was also a fun little experiment. If I put my stuff on the internet, what would happen. If I opened my shop would people come? The short answer is no, not really. They didn't know I was there.

So I started promoting, promoting, promoting. That helped somewhat. People began to know I was there. They hearted my shop, showing that they liked what I was doing. But the sales didn't necessarily follow. I got frustrated and jewerly was no longer fun for me. This lead to my creative funk that I've detailed here before.

Well I've gotten my creative mojo back and am again creating for the love of creating. But what to do? I now know I need to channell some of this creative energy into running my business. I've been through some training sessions at my day job on how to run a successful business. The lessons I've learned there definitely apply to jewelry. But how to make them fun? This is my challenge.

I'll be posting some of what I've learned on this blog in the next few days to see if I can turn my business from ok to good to great.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Waiting for the mail to come

I did some serious birthday shopping on Etsy last week. Hubby also bought me a few goodies from there. So I've been running home every day to see what prettys have come in the mail.

So far I have received these gorgeous earrings from Foundling

This awesome hat from Melissam4715 with my bobbed hair I look like a real flapper in it. Now if it would only get cold enough to wear.

Finally, I got this beautiful print from YumiYumi

Still waiting on a few more goodies. I feel like a little kid waiting for santa to come.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Lazy Hazy Day

Today is just one of those days I wish I could stay at home with the wee one snuggled under the covers making jewelry. The wee one was feeling a bit punky this morning. Rather than being wound up and raring to go, she let me snuggle her for at least an hour. She started getting back to her normal self after a while so I decided to send her off to day care.

I'm feeling off today as well. I think its the weather. There is such a thick fog over the city that I couldn't see the tallest building in town just two blocks away from my office. Very strange to see one building and then nothing next to it.

I've been working on my charms for the Trashion Street Team charm swap. At first I looked at using some found objects like washers and other random bits I found on the street. It sounded like a good idea but it really wasn't what I do. So then I hit on making some more of my paperdolls and creating little outfits for them. So I have been spending the past few nights designing my paperdoll wardrobe. I'll post pictures of the finished results.

I am exicted for the charm swap because I will be getting 5 charms from other members which I hope to work into a really cool charm bracelet or necklace. I can't wait to see what these crafty people come up with.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Getting older

I turned 38 on Friday and you know what, it was no big deal.

I used to worry about getting older but now I realize it was just a superficial worry. I am at a point in my life that I am happy. I love my husband and my daughter. We are starting the process to adopt a second child. I get to create beautiful jewelry and play around with other fun crafts. Life is good and its not going to change just because there is another candle on the birthday cake.

That being said, there are definitely some things I want to change this year. For one I need to get into shape and to lose about 15 pounds. Lately I've liked eating and drinking wine a bit to much and have not exercised as much as I should.

Second, I need to get my business organized. My work room is finally in shape where I have a place to create. Now I need to get my pieces photoed and posted. I also need to concentrate on promoting my Etsy shop and getting more pieces into the brick and mortar shops that currently carry my designs.

So all in all I think 38 is going to be a good year for me.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Internet Friends

With this blog and running my jewerly business on-line I have met a lot of people that I call "friends".

I have found incredibly creative and supportive people here and on the Etsy Forums. They get the need to obsessively create, the joy one can find in a new strand of beads or a beautiful skein of yarn. They also tend to be very smart, insightful and funny people. Just the kind of people, I'd like to be my friends.

But I haven't met any of them in person, and that seems a bit weird to me.

So I decided to organize a get together for Etsians in Milwaukee. It will be so cool to finally be able to put a face with a shop name and avatar. Today I am having lunch with Barflybling (Laurie) to organize the get together. It was funny to convo eachother with pictures and what we are wearing so we'll know eachother when we meet, even though we've been talking for a while now.

I'm looking forward to meeting them but I also like the anonymity that I have with my other internet friends.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

New designs on the horizon

I've got my jewelry mojo back. Its been missing in action for a while now but its back, baby its back. There are so many ideas floating around in my head just waiting to come out.

I've made a few new pendants and just need to photo them so I can post on Etsy. I've also got some earring and bracelet designs waiting to come to life.

I'm still experimenting with other mediums such as collage and painting but jewerly is my first love. I'm glad we've been able to reconnect.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Crafting for China Charity Challenge Update

I am almost one month into my Crafting for China Charity Challenge to benefit the Half the Sky Foundation.

For those of you who don't know, my husband and I adopted our daughter from China last year. In her honor I am donating 50% of the proceeds of sales from items in the charity section of my Etsy shop and 20% of the proceeds from the sale of the other items to Half the Sky to benefit children living in Chinese orphanages.

So far I have sold 4 items and have raised $54.50. My goal is to raise $300 so that the Etsy shop can help sponsor a child for one year. I hope to reach that goal before the end of the Challenge on October 30th.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I'm going on vacation

A real live vacation for the first time in two years, since before we adopted the wee one. I will miss the wee one terribly but I am also really excited.

We are going to the Elk Lake Lodge in the Adirondack Mountains with our friends Matt and Sonja. (Matt was Scott's friend from college and Sonja was my friend from law school, they met at our wedding and are now married. Just had to share that cute aside.) The lodge is made up of rustic cabins which look just beautiful.

There is no television, no cell phones and no internet access. (although I am worried because I won't be able to call my parents to check on the wee one as often as I'd like. Just once a day from the main lodge phone.) It will be total relaxation. Matt and Sonja want to go hiking and I am sure that we will do some but Scott and I are just looking forward to relaxing.

I won't be getting the crisp fall weather that I was promised, its supposed to be in the 70s, so there won't be any fires at night. But the colors are supposed to be changing and it should just be beautiful.

I can't wait. A real live vacation, wow.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

My Dad

My dad has been writing me letters every week for the past three years. Real letters sent through the mail. Even though we live only 20 minutes from each other and see each other at least once a week, he still takes the time to write. I can't tell you what it means to me to get these letters, I wait for them every week.

In the letters he shares bits of his life, what he and my mom are doing, how his golf game is going, what he is doing at work. He also shares a poem, article or cartoon. They may be focused on what is going on in my life, lately we've been getting articles regarding raising children to help us navigate the waters with the wee one. Or they may be something that is important to him that he wants to share with me. My dad studies meditation and has found lots of interesting articles and poems related to that inner journey.

A lot of times my life is so busy that I don't share with my dad how much these letters really mean to me. When my parents were out in California recenlty to visit my brother I didn't get my weekly letter. It felt kind of strange. So I went back through my file of letters, rereading them. I realized that so much of what he was saying and sharing was still relevant to me today. He talks a lot about being present in the moment and enjoying what is in front of you.

One of the poems that he has sent a few times really hit home, Ithaca by Constantine Cavafy. The poem talks about taking a journey to Ithaca, but it is about the journey not the destination. It made me think about making jewelry and making art. I shouldn't be so concerned with the output. I should really focus on the creative process. Why am I making this? Am I enjoying it? Does it make me happy? If I am happy with my process, the results won't matter. I will have learned something and expanded my horizions, the result will reflect that growth.

I should also enjoy my time with my hubby and the wee one. The moments we have now are so precious, I shouldn't worry about how we are going to pay for college or those things. That will all come with time. Just enjoy the silliness, the smiles, the hugs and the love.

So today I would like to thank my dad for his inspiration, for sharing his wisdom with me and for being a wonderful dad. Happy Birthday Dad.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Self Portrait Thursdays

There is a group of people on Flickr that take self portraits every Thursday and post them to the group site. I found out about this through Etsy and was immediately intrigued. You see I don't really have that many pictures of myself and I am not sure why. I don't mind having my photo taken and I am not camera shy. But its there, even my blog picture was taken 3 years ago - I couldn't find a new one to replace it.

Maybe its because my dad always was snapping pictures when I was younger. I learned how to pose when I was really young. I think the wee one will be the same.

Maybe its because when we go on vacation, I want to have pictures of the sites I see, not me in front of the sites. I know I was there, I don't need a photo to prove it. This drives my husband nuts.

Maybe its because I am always holding the camera. Its part of the control freak in me, I take better photos, so I'm gonna be the one to take them.

This is slowly starting to change with the wee one, I like having my picture taken with her because she is so darn cute.

So I decided to join this group and take pictures of myself every week. Its been fun and I have been pleased with the results. Who knows maybe you'll see alot more of me in the future.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Fall is almost here.

I for one am completely giddy. Last night I slept with the window open and the wonderful cold air blowing in while snuggling underneath the comforter. This morning I pulled on a pair of tights under my skirt and put on a new sweater practially dancing around the room. The wee one looked at me like I was crazy until I pulled out her fancy new red cords with a coordinating pink top and jean jacket. Her eyes got wide as she murmured "pretty" over and over again. So I think she gets my joy.

Fall in Wisconsin is my favorite season, with the beautiful colors and crisp weather. Summer is too hot and humid. Winter is well winter, they didn't nickname Lambeau Field the Frozen Tundra for nothing. Spring is nice but doesn't hold a candle to fall in my book. This fall will also mark the first Halloween with the wee one (we were in China last year) so I am already making plans to make it special.

I also have my upcoming trip to the Adirondack Mountains next week to keep me excited. We've rented a cabin with friends to go hiking. I have been promised cool weather and leaves turning all sorts of beautiful colors.

Meanwhile, I will continue crocheting my scarf, eyeing new sweaters and tights in the stores, dreaming of hot apple cider and jumping in leaf piles with the wee one.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I was wrong.

I'm not afraid to admit when I am wrong. And it happens a bit more than I would like. I was wrong about organization being the enemy. It can be a really good thing. I organized my desk at work and it does look better but it feels weird to get up to get a file, but I'll deal.

After work, I took the plunge at home. While hubby and the wee one were chasing eachother around the living room, I spent a half hour on my studio desk. I managed to clear off a substantial portion so that was good. I also found some really great things that I completely forgot about.

First, I found a double picture frame that I had used as an earring display at a store I used to work at. When the store closed (almost 3 years ago), I took home my jewelry and display. I thought I had worked all of it into my inventory but apparently not. When I opened the frame, I found 11 pairs of earrings. Score! Some I really don't like and will probably take apart. But some are really cool and once I clean them up they will probably find their way onto Etsy.

Second, when I was putting some of my piles away I opened a drawer and found this yummy yarn. I don't remember when I bought it, probably two or three years ago. I know that I made a scarf for my mom and this was what was left. So what's a girl to do when she finds something so cool? Start crocheting a scarf, that's what. Because there is only one skein, I will have to find a coordinating yarn to finish but that is ok.

So now I am totally excited about organization. Who knows what other treasures await. I may even tackle the "Closet of Doom".

Monday, September 10, 2007


I admit that organization is not my strong suit. Well I shouldn't say that. I tend to have piles of things but I know where everything is in those piles. So its sort of "organized chaos" but looks like disorganization to the untrained eye.

My co-worker and I share an office and share organized chaos as well. It works for us but drives our boss nuts. We used to blame it on a lack of storage space. Well he went out and bought a work table where we can store all of our pending files. He just wants our desks clear with only what we are currently working on on them.

So I must spend the afternoon going through my "organized chaos" and organize it according to someone else's system. I am not sure how this will affect me and the way that I work. I freaked out last week when I couldn't find a file that should have been in one of my piles. I turned out that he took it off my desk to work on it and put it back in the filing cabinet. So we'll see how this goes.

Now you may ask what does this have to do with my little designing world. Well everything and nothing. My work desk at home is organized in little piles with virtually no space for actually working on it. There are piles and boxes of supplies in my work closet as well. I have also accumulated another pile of supplies on my dining room table.

So I think that it may be time for me to break out of this "organized chaos" mode and embrace change. I would love to have the space to create and work that actually inspired. It would be so much fun to have the table just be for the chaos of the project. I could spread out and work instead of having to find other spaces to do my work.

Tommorow's Studio Shot Tuesday photo will show some progress from the original photo taken on August 14th. It is my goal to progress each week until there is an actual project on that table. I'll need all of you to help hold my feet to the fire.

Thursday, September 06, 2007


For a while now I have been playing around with collage, painting and drawing. My materials, other than the paint, have been sourced entirely from my home using junk mail postcards, newspaper, magazine subscription cards and magazine images. Its been fun to see what I could do using what I already had.

I've had some cool attempts that didn't turn out quite right but I liked the overall effect. I turned one of those attempts into my Night series of earrings and pendants. I used a postcard from a realty company, images from the literary section of the newspaper, want ads from a Chinese language paper from Chicago and some paint. So far I have only listed one in the Etsy shop but I think they are pretty cool. This pendant is another in that series.

I've also been making some little collages for the wee one. I'd like to have an arrangement of art in her room, some of mine and some made by others. So I thought I'd post this for you all to view. It is not a grand artistic statement but I think its simple and sweet.

I think that these are good beginnings or experiments in this new field. But even if no one else likes them I am having a lot of fun creating them and I think that is the most important thing.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

I'm a TV star

Ok its just video but its still cool.

Etsy took video of us during the Trashion Trunk Show in July. They just posted it here

Check it out to see all sorts of cool Trashion finds and to meet some of our really talented members. And of course yours truly.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Front Page

I made the front page of Etsy! Twice! And it missed it both times.

The first time was as part of the Trashion Trunk Show group picked by Etsy Labs. A great honor to be chosen by the Labs. They chose my paper doll pendant Unfortunately that was the day I was traveling to New York and I missed it.

The second time was last week, my Night Collaged Earrings were included in a treasury that made it to the front page. I didn't know about the treasury because I can't check them while I am at work. Apparently it made it to the front page for a while that day. I was on Etsy all day but I think I was chatting away in ETC. at the time.

Thanks to the lovely tomate d'epingles, the moderator of the Trashion blog for providing me with the photographic evidence.

Monday, August 27, 2007

August 28th

On August 28, 2006 I received a phone call that changed my life forever. A woman from Chinese Children Adoption International told me that I was a mother to a beautiful little girl named Lin Shen Chao.

I remember it like it was yesterday. I was sitting at my desk at work feeling blue. I had heard the next round of referrals was coming out of China but I thought we weren't going to be included. Referrals are based on the date your paperwork is logged into the Chinese system, ours was logged in on July 23, 2005 and we had heard that referrals were going through the 22nd. So I thought we'd have to wait an extra month. We'd already waited offically for 13 months (21 months since we'd started the paperwork) what was one more.

Then the phone rang and the woman on the other end told me that we had our referral. She asked if I wanted to conference Scott in so he could hear the news but he was in a meeting and I couldn't find him. Then she said she could call back. Call back are you crazy, I needed to know everything right then.

Her name was Lin Shen Chao and she lived in the YiHuang Social Welfare Institute in Jiangxi China. She went into the orphanage when she was approximately 1 week old and she had spent most of her life living with foster parents. At the time of referral she was 7 months old.

I couldn't believe it, our "Non-Existant Hypothetical Baby" (her name during our wait time) really existed. She was our little Vivienne. They e-mailed pictures and I saw this beautiful little girl with a heart shaped face and a rosebud mouth. I just sat there and cried. Then I realized I had to go find Scott. I ran next door to his office but he was still gone. I finally busted into his meeting and dragged him upstairs to see the pictures. Needless to say he was beside himself.

We wanted to hop on the next plane to China to bring her home. But again we had to wait for another round of approvals. We got our clearance to travel and set out to meet her in October. We were finally united as a family on October 30, 2006.

Now fast forward 10 months. I can't imagine a time when Vivienne or Ivie for short, was not in our lives. She is a happy, healthy, spicy little toddler. Our transition as a family has been smooth, like we were made for eachother. She constantly amazes us every day.

When I think back to that day, I think about the time she spent in China. I also think about her sisters and brothers who are still waiting for a forever family. So I have decided to start a Crafting for China Charity Challenge. From August 28 through October 30, 50% off the proceeds from the charity section in my Etsy shop will go to the Half the Sky Foundation which works to benefit the lives of children in Chinese orphanages who are waiting for their forever families. I hope to raise $300 which will be enough to sponsor a child for one year. This will be in addition to the personal gift that Scott and I plan on making. The charity section will have items inspired by China, family and love. Please check it out and help me share the love.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Happy Saturday

Today I had a rare day off. Completely off from everything including being a mom. Hubby has several golfing and fantasy football related evenings planned next week so he took the wee one for the day. They went to the zoo.

What did I do with my free time you ask? Well first I went to the spa and got a pedicure. That was so much fun and very relaxing. I wish I had time to do it more often. Got my toes painted a really cool shade of purply blue called Siberian Navy from OPI.

Then after a trip to the cafe for a scone and latte, it was off to the art store. I got a small sketch book and a pencil that I am going to carry around with me to see if inspiration will hit. I also picked up a book on altered books and some new brushes. I've had some ideas floating around in my head for altered books and collages that I think this book will help me realize. Finally I signed up for a drawing class at the store starting in September.

Then it was a trip to the thrift store. I picked up some wool sweaters that I plan on felting. Inspired by the latest issue of Adorn magazine, I want to try to make a felted jumper for the wee one for fall. This will also force me to break out the sewing machine that has been gathering dust on my work table. I am excited to see if it will turn out.

After a late lunch, I plan on going outside to photo some jewelry to post in the Etsy store. Then maybe a nap.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Thanks for the encouragement

Thanks for everyone who posted on my Identity Crisis thread on Etsy yesterday and who sent me words of encouragement.

I've decided to take the plunge and follow this new direction to see where it leads. I want to feel the joy of creating just for creating sake again. The end result really doesn't matter to me.

I will still list jewelry from my inventory on the Etsy site as well so I can maintain that connection to my past. But I am hopeful that this new path will spark a new creative binge for me.

Closes eyes and takes giant leap . . .

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Search for inspiration

Lately I have not been inspired to create any new jewelry. I've done the custom order here and there but that is it.

Last year, before we traveled to China to adopt the wee one, I went on a creative binge. I bought lots of new supplies and made a ton of jewelry. This binge created a lot of inventory and enabled me to stock my Etsy store and the local boutique where I sell my jewerly. In fact I still have a few pieces that I can photo and list on Etsy.

My problem is the boutique is now out of my pieces and they are asking for more. I have a few I can bring in to keep my work out in the public eye. But I am not sure if this is the work that I want shown. I've only been into the bead stores to buy something specific like findings, not to spend hours imagining all the possibilities I could create with the beautiful beads.

Instead of creating my traditional jewelry, lately I have been playing with other mediums. I have been creating collages out of junk mail and magazines. I've been experimenting with painting and drawing as well. I turned a few of the collages into earrings and pendants which I brougth to the Trashion Trunk Show. I've only listed one so far on Etsy, these Night Collage Earrings but I am really proud of what I've done. When I get the courage, I think I'll list more.

I am even considering taking a drawing class at MIAD this fall. I always said I couldn't draw a strait line. But my experimentation has really freed me from those concerns. I feel a joy about creating that I haven't felt in a long time and I think I need to explore it further. I am not sure where I will end up but I'll certainly enjoy the ride.

I could use some thoughts or encouragement. Do you all think I'm crazy?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Birthday Palooza Part 2

I don't normally post lots of personal info on this blog but this was too good not to share.

Today was Mr. Design's (Scott's) birthday. I decided to take him out to the Capital Grille a really good steak chain that has recently opened in town. I told the host that we were there to celebrate a birthday when I made the reservation.

When we arrived the host called up our reservation and greeted Scott with a happy birthday. Our table had little happy birthday signs scattered on it and a card signed by all the staff. We received a free "pre-appetizer" of lobster salad. We had a wonderful and sinful dinner of steak and wine. Very decadent for a Monday night but ama and bapa were babysitting so we could enjoy ourselves.

After dinner we received complementary champagne and creme bruelee (score for me because Scott is allergic so I got it all to myself). They also took a photo of us and printed it out for us before we left. While it wasn't the best meal we've had (it was very good) it was the best service we've ever had. It was nice to go out and be treated like kings and queens instead of mommy and daddy who are there to serve the whims of a toddler.

All in all the perfect night to celebrate my hubby's special day.
Birthday Palooza

Its that time of year in my husband's family. We had the family birthday party to celebrate my father-in-law, my husband, my niece and nephew's birthdays.

I decided to have an Etsy theme and share the handmade love with the family.

For my two year old niece Arielle, a lovely tutu from AngelBabes

For my six year old nephew Alex, a cape from SuperflyKidz

For my super-supportive husband an Etsy Widower T-shirt from Elle Belle

Unfortunately my hubby beat me to his dad's gift and he got a gift certificate to a bed and breakfast in Lake Geneva. So he'll have to get an Etsy Christmas gift.

Thanks to all of the wonderfully talented sellers on Etsy who make shopping so much fun.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Custom order

My parents are going to a black tie wedding this weekend for the daughter of a friend. My mother bought this beautiful blue silk jacket to go over a black dress. She wanted some earrings to go with the jacket and this is what I came up with.

The jacket was almost the exact color of some Kyanite drops I had in my supply box. I hadn't used them much because the rich color felt more like fall than summer to me but this was the perfect opportunity. I mixed the drops with some round Kyanite beads and some Aquamarine and Labadorite rondells.

I did a single strand variation on my Vine earrings with the drop serving as the final flower. I also did a more dramatic chandellier version.

I can't wait to see which one mom picks. The other one will be available in the Etsy shop this weekend.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

My latest obsession

Rice Krispie bars from the deli downstairs. They are so yummy. Not too gooey, just gooey enough - perfect.

Every day when I go into get my coffee I ask if they are going to be making them today. They've started telling me in advance the days they'll have them so I can be sure to get there first.

Its gotten so bad that the other girls I work with are addicted too. One has taken to doing walk bys to find out when they are ready.

Now if I could only get them to give me the recipe.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Jewelry Displays

For years at craft shows I have been displaying my earrings on a large collaged frame with screen material. I always got so many compliments on it so I thought it was finally time to make smaller versions.

So I hit up the local thrift stores to find some cool 8 x 10 frames. I made the collages using magazine images, newspaper, old ribbon and other ephemera just lying around the house. I attached some ribbon at the top so they can hang on the wall.

I just love the way they turned out. They are now available inn the Etsy shop. I think that this is the perfect way to display all of the gorgeous earrings available on Etsy and elsewhere, just like the works of art they are.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Studio Shot Tuesdays

LittleputBooks asked us all to share our work spaces. It is such a cool concept to see where all this wonderful art is created.

Well I have been neglecting my studio, often making jewelry on my bed and collaging on the dining room table. Instead my work space became a place to dump all of my junk, not very creative. With some help from my family, the room is beginning to take shape and I hope to actually start working in there soon.

Maybe next week's photo will show some more progress.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Two days remaining to the Trashion Trunk Show.

I feel like I am running around with my head cut off trying to get everything ready for the show. Just when I think I have everything under control something goes wrong. I got all set last night to print out my tags and realized that I was out of black ink for the printer. I had gone to Office Depot and bought colored ink last weekend but didn't think to check the black ink. So it's another stop off tonight after work. I also have some last minute finishing of pieces to do as well.I leave for New York tomorrow afternoon so I'll have the morning for the last minute details.

I am looking forward to the trip. For one I get to meet all of the talented Trashion members attending the show. I have admired their work online and have been awed by their talent and determination in organizing this show.

Second, I get to go to Etsy Labs. I have wanted to visit since the first time I heard about it. I also can't wait to meet everyone who works at Etsy.

Finally, I get to visit my friend Sonja and her family. We've been friends since law school. She was a bridesmaid at my wedding and married the best man. Scott and I love to go out to visit them and we tried to go at least once a year. But now that we both have wee ones at home its a bit more difficult. So this will be fun.

It will be said to leave little Ivie at home but I know that she and Scott will have fun.

Stay tuned for updates from the show.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Trashion Scavenger Hunt

The trashion team is having a scavenger hunt. What does that mean? It a hunt through the shops of some team members. You have to look for the clues in the postings and follow them to the next clue.

You can win a very cool Etsy goodie bag,a secret Trashion goodie bag and this amazing Etsy bookmark from naturemadescents.

Sound like fun? If so go to sweetyprize for your first clue! Its hidden in one of her shop item that would look darling on your floors. ***if you can't find a clue dont forget to look in the sold items!***

When you've made it through and foudn the answer, convo . The answer will be posted at the Etsy Labs blog next week.

Happy hunting.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

TRASHION Pre-Trunk Show Sale

The Etsy Trashion team is having a pre-trunk show sale from now through the date of the show, July 27th. Be sure to stop by these wonderful shops to experience loads of Trashion goodness.

  • Etsy Trashion Team Store

  • Wabisabibrooklyn

  • Miggipyn

  • Sweetyprize

  • disCARDS

  • Spaceodditites

  • Tomatedepingles

  • Fairytalefibers

  • kae1crafts

  • Buriningrubber

  • Fitterknitter

  • Dismantled

  • Samman1121

  • Shandke

  • Crankypickle

  • Reduxdesigns

  • purekatherine

  • Tiltcraft

  • Naturemadescents

  • Reneedesigns

  • Trashionmode

  • Pillboxproductions
  • Friday, June 29, 2007

    Trashion Trunk Show

    The Trashion Team Trunk Show at Etsy Labs is now only a month away. I am busy creating all sorts of new paper jewerly and other trashiony goodness.

    If you are in New York City on July 27, please stop by Etsy Labs to shop the latest in trashion items.

    Monday, June 18, 2007

    New bracelets added.

    I just listed these bracelets yesterday on the Etsy site:

    They are old flea market bangles that I wrapped and decoupaged with magazine images. I like how there is an impressionistic feel to the results.

    While I was photographing the bracelets outside, my daughter Ivie grabbed them and put them on. She loves wearing bracelets and carrying purses just like mommy. I think that she is a great advertisement.

    Wednesday, June 13, 2007

    Featured Artist

    I am the featured artist on the JET Myspace page. JET is the Jewelry on Etsy Team. It is a great group of jewelry designers, I am honored to be included with them.

    Tuesday, June 12, 2007

    My husband is the best.

    Today I was sitting at work when my husband came in and gave me a present. It was this beautiful yellow sundress with flowers on it. I couldn't believe it. He said he likes buying me things. It is so sweet, I just love him.
    New jewelry added

    I've added some new jewelry to the Etsy site

    These are some of my favorite pieces but I am not sure that the pictures do them justice. I have been having a bit of a fight with my digital camera of late. I think I am doing it right but the photos are still turning out blurry.

    The problem with this is we bought the camera in China when we were there to adopt Ivie and the instruction manual is in Chinese. Now of course I don't read Chinese so it has been a bit difficult to figure out how the camera works properly. I need to find the manual on line and download it.

    I also need to build a light box so I don't have to wait for the weekends to take my photos. That way I could make some pieces and photograph them the same day. It sure would make my life easier and I am all about simplicity these days.

    Monday, June 11, 2007

    JULY 27TH 6 - 8 pm
    Etsy Labs, Brooklyn, NY

    Creative Journal Take 2

    Well just as I predicted the whole process was a bit to much for me to undertake with a full time job, a baby at home and a bunch of jewelry to create and post on Etsy.

    So it has sort of morphed into a different project - making ACEO's out of office supplies while at work. It has been a fun little project. During my lunch hour I have been taking financial magazines, paper bags from lunch, paper clips, staples, glue sticks and highligher and making little collages. I find it very inspiring, making something beautiful out of something mundane.

    The project has carried over to my creations at night. I have been making more recycled jewelry. I have also started making postcards using the magazine subscription inserts and images. These creations are in anticipation of the upcoming Etsy Trashion Trunk Show in July at Etsy Labs.

    Wednesday, June 06, 2007

    ReneeDesigns Featured Interview

    My Etsy shop has been featured by Less Than Three Designs:

  • Less Than Three Designs

  • Check out the cute interview and all the other cool Etsy artists she has featured.

    Tuesday, June 05, 2007

    Creative Journal Update

    Well the journalling process is going fairly well. So far the results are interesting. I view myself primarily as a jewelry designer but what I have been driven to create lately is not jewelry. I have started drawing and making collages. Yesterday I made one at work using an old paperbag and circles cut out of a financial magazine.

    Friday, June 01, 2007

    Featured in a treasury.

    Michellep74 curated a lovely treasury of denim blue items and featured my Iolite Blossom necklace.

  • Forever In Blue Jeans Treasury
  • Thursday, May 31, 2007

    Who I Am - June 2007

    I decided to keep a creative journal of sorts for the month of June. My interests have been changing and it is affecting what I am creating. Also now that I am a mom my time is limited. So I thought that keeping a journal of what ideas I have and what inspires me each day would give me more focus in my work.

    The plan is to journal every night in a recycled journal that I am creating as I go along. I want to include my thoughts for the day on one side of the page and drawings, photos or bead designs on the other. In order for my scattered brain to wrap itself around the project, I plan on keeping a small notebook with me to jot down ideas. Then after my daughter goes to bed, I would put everything in my journal. I would then try to post updates here the following day on what I have done.

    I am not sure if this project is to ambitious for me or not but I am willing to give it a try.

    Tuesday, May 29, 2007

    Asleep at the wheel

    Whilst I was preparing for my Memorial Day weekend trip with my family, ReneeDesigns was featured in the Trashion Week feature on ImpyBat's website. You can check out the feature here:
  • Impybat - Groovy Vinyl

  • While you are there be sure to check out the other featured Trashion artists.

    Thursday, May 24, 2007

    I've Been Tagged.

    I was tagged by the lovely and talented Beadinky. This means that I am supposed to tell you 7 things about myself and then tag 3 others.

    1. I am married to Scott (nine years today!!) and the mother to the beautiful Miss Ivie Chao who we adopted from China six months ago.

    2. I have spent all day at work dodging cockroaches. That's right our office building is having "a bit of a problem" with roaches. I'm thinking about asking the boss for hazzard pay.

    3. I say I watch Playhouse Disney shows for my daughter but secretly enjoy Higgleytown Heros, Little Einsteins and Handy Manny. But the Doodle Bops freak me out.

    4. I am a TV junky. I love watching House, Lost, Grey's Anatomy and Gilmore Girls (so sad its over).

    5. I know a ton about sports. My husband said he knew he wanted to marry me when instead of going out I said lets stay home and watch the University of Wisconsin basketball game.

    6. I have two kitties, Tabasco and Detroit. Detroit has a big attitude problem and thinks she owns the world but Tabasco is sweet and cuddly. I want a dog and am trying to train Ivie to say "Daddy I want a doggie". Right now all she can manage to say is doo and point when she sees a dog.

    7. I love making jewelry and wish I could do it for a living. Its such a rush to see people I don't know wearing my pieces. Ivie loves jewerly too and wants to wear all of my bracelets.

    Now its Jewelry By Tara, Combustion Glassworks and RedCatRun's turn.

    Tuesday, May 15, 2007


    I have continued to find ways to declutter my workspace from all of the magazines I buy for inspiration by turning the junk into beautiful jewelry.

    Here are two of my latest creations:

    Read Rose - a pin with magazine pages sewn together with seed beads

    Pink shoes - earrings with mismatched pink shoes - very cute

    Both of these are available in my Etsy store, check them out.