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.