Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Yearly Christmas craft project

When my daughter was 2 months old I was extremely poor for her first Christmas so instead of purchasing a gift for my mother I started a tradition.  I traced out my daughters hand and put it on a tree skirt with her name and date on it.  Since then I have made a new hand print every year.  I actually make 2, one for my mother and one for my tree.

This isn't the greatest pic but this is what it looks like right now.

My crazy child is not 12 and I'm not entirely sure if her big ol' hand print will fit on the skirt for many more years but I will keep making them.

This year I decided to use bead and ribbon to represent the new business venture my daughter and I started this year.

Now that I'm only moderately poor rather than extremely poor I kind of dread the time and energy it takes to make these every year but I actually enjoyed making this years because I am just so excited about this new venture.

Do you partake in any holiday crafting traditions?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


What is it about creepy crawlers that are so obnoxious and or gross when they're in your house or crawling up your shirt but sooooo much fun when on jewelry.  In high school I loved spiders and never took off a spider web necklace.  I still love spiders but I absolutely love this bee pendant I found at Hobby Lobby.  This is one of the first necklaces I made and also the first one I wanted to keep for myself.  But since I'm having a hell of a time trying to sell anything anyway I figured I'd put it on my Etsy shop.  So I can still wear it until it sells :)

My first few necklaces just featured little charms and buttons on the side tied bow and this was the first time I put a pendant on one.  I still kept put buttons on the bow that was tied on the side which I have since moved away from.  I am now keeping most of my necklaces left untied so that you can tie it to any length in the back.

Do you like insects in fashion?  If so what kind?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Custom piece

A friend of mine asked me to make a custom necklace for a good friend of hers.  Her friend who is 39 just found out that she has a 7cm tumor in her brain.  My friend wanted me to use her favorite color green and find a pendant that portrayed a sense of peace.  She expressed that there are few other sentiments for her friend from childhood who will soon be leaving her 2 young children.

I was worried that I would have a hard time but me friend was happy with it.  I wasn't able to take a quality picture of it but here it is.

I went to the craft store with no clue what I would get. I ended up going with a phoenix because it represents   rebirth or transformation.  I also feel all birds portray freedom and insight.

I've been in social services for over 10 years and it's a new concept for me to help people in this creative way.  Just like counseling someone in my office doesn't solve a problem creating a piece of jewelry doesn't either.  All we can ask for is that our words or actions may offer a little bit of comfort when life hands you a lousy hand.

I'd love to hear thoughts about this.  Thank you!!!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Ho Ho Ho

I took the last hideous necklace apart and made a new one.  I'm calling it "Steam Punk" because of the watch gears but I'm not entirely sure if this will appeal to the steam punk crowd.  I'm still working on getting my titles and tags perfected to draw in the right customers.  Suggestions welcome (wink wink).

I'm also gearing up for the holidays by creating gifts for friends and family.  I'm working on a custom piece for a co-worker would like a gift for a friend who just found out she has a brain tumor.  I making necklaces for my nieces and ornaments for all the relatives,  

Just for fun I put an ornament up on Listia.  I'm giving this away for free so I can get Listia points to get free stuff for myself.  Genius idea!!  So if your not in the mood to purchase something bid on a free something :)

As for my last rant...I'm feeling a little better about work.  Homelessness still sucks and I don't know if I'll be able to listen to these terrible stories forever but I do feel like I'm making a difference.  Many of the ladies I work with are truly appreciative of my help and I'm glad I am able to do what little I can for them.  Even if the only thing I have to offer most days is a sympathetic ear.  I guess I'm not quite ready to move on yet.  If you too would like to help all you have to do is ring bells for The Salvation Army :)

Sunday, December 9, 2012


I really hate this time of year.  I hate that there is only 2 minutes of daylight all day and it's cold and wet and miserable.  I also hate that it is so hard for the clients I work with.  I work with women who are homeless and indirectly with families that are homeless.  Everyone is just so sad because with good cause they feel alone and unloved.  I can not imagine spending Christmas day in a homeless shelter.  Actually, wandering the streets because the shelter is only open at night.  The ladies have to leave at 8am and nothing is open so they generally have to spend the entire day outside.  It is absolutely heartbreaking.

On Friday, the staff had a training on secondary trauma and compassion fatigue and we talked about how hearing all of the terrible stories from our clients is causing us trauma.  This wasn't the first time I heard about the subject but it hit home more this time because I have been soooo crabby with my family and sooooo tired ALL the time.

And to add to all of this I have zero dollars for xmas and still have not sold anything on Etsy.  I went to Edge Collectibles to check on my display and no sales there either.  Of course the only signs outside advertise for games and collectibles.  The person doing the art displays is still working on signage.

I hate to be so grumbly but I'm just blah today.  Below is the pic of what blah translates into as far as jewelry making is concerned....hideousness.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Hello all...Below is a pic of my newest creation.  I really love this piece because of crazy cool glass filled seashell pendant.

So that's that happy bit, now I need to grumble a little.  Having an Etsy shop is HARD WORK.  I'm barely getting any traffic and not a single sale yet. ( I hope the items have have at Edge Collectibles are doing better.)

I'm staying up way to late but instead of making jewelry I'm browsing through tutorials and forums on how to improve my shop.  I just spent 5 hours updating my listings and titles and I only have 25 items for sale.  At this rate, by the time I actually sell something I'll have made about 2 cents per hour.  Not that one sale will get me out of the hole.  I'm starting to think I just have a really expensive hobby.  You don't even want to see my accounting which of course took me several hours to set up too.  I'm in social services which roughly translates to no business sense and terrible at math.  All I really know how to do is help people.

Even just the process of taking the stinking pics is way too time consuming because I always have to edit them.  I can't take a good pic to save my life and the #1 advice all the forums give is have good pics.  Arg!!

OK, I'm done ranting....I feel better now.  Maybe I should get to sleep so I'm not completely exhausted...again :(

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Big Day

So it's been an extremely long day.  My amazing husband, Dale Mitchell, is a graphic designer and he stayed up all night creating these amazing tags for my jewelry.  It only took so long because I couldn't make up my mind what I wanted.

He designed this wonderful logo an came up with the tagline: "Every Design One of a Kind"

Then the entire fam spent all morning hand cutting the tags and attaching them to the jewelry.  We next took them to Edge Collectibles but the hooks weren't working right so we spent the next several hours going to nearly every store in Janesville to find something.  We finally came up with some cute ornament hooks that we bent to fit in the slots of our display.  The display is actually old slated closet doors.

I think it turned out really nice and I really appreciative of the help I received from my family.  I couldn't have done this without them.

 Of course you can still visit my online store at:

Big day

Today is the day!!!  My husband was up all night designing a logo and the tags for the store and he is about to print them off so we can put them on the jewelry.  Then we're heading over to the store after 10am. !!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


So it took me about 3 hours to perfect this new design but I really like it.  This ribbon is more whimsical but I think a solid colored ribbon will be attractive to people that are looking for a more understated look than some of my other pieces.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Brick and mortar

So it's official...I will have a display to sell my jewelry at Edge Collectibles at 4 E. Fulton St. Edgerton WI.  I will start on 12/1.  I'm soooo excited.  I absolutely can not believe that something I made is going to be on sale at an actual store.

Here's a pic of the necklace I was wearing to make the sale.
I also brought in ornaments and other jewelry to show her.  She loved it and is excited to have my products in her store.  She even told me to raise my prices!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

New Adventure

I'm embarking on an exciting new adventure and blogging seems to be the thing to do these days so here goes nothing.
About a month ago I made a necklace inspired by pic on Pintrest.  I put my own spin on what I saw and ended up with this 

I thought I had created other people might buy so I decided to look around for a way to sell my new creation.  I had heard of Etsy through my addiction to Pintrest so I started a shop.   Here's me:  Now I have 25 products in my "shop."  I've also had over 130 views of my necklaces.  However, I have had zero sales except for a couple of co-workers.

I currently work full time in social services and consider myself a very patient person but when it comes to dumping money into a project that I'm hoping to make some extra money from I get a little nervous.  But, today I got some exciting news as well as did some scary math.

For the scary part first...I started using accounting software to track my expenses and hopefully income soon.  I have kept MOST of my receipts so I went to town adding $1.47 for ribbon here and $6.00 for a pendant there and found out I have invested a LOT of cash into this little adventure.  I really thought I had been keeping my spending to a minimum.  I used to have a part-time contract counseling job in addition to a full-time job but with the state's last round of budget cuts my contract was not renewed.  So, I've basically been living paycheck to paycheck and I can not to be throwing money around like this.  I know it takes money to make money but jiminy crickets this is scary.  So, I have been a tad bit anxious today which has caused me to pour my stress into making more jewelry :)

But like I said I've also had some exciting news today.  Due to an amazing husband who has been working hard to build up local contacts in order to expand his graphic design/visual comm. career he encouraged me to speak to a local store that is looking for local artists to rent display space.  So we made a trip to Edge Collectibles in the lovely tiny town I call home, Edgerton WI.  I spoke to the owner and have an appointment with her tomorrow to show her my jewelry and discuss the possibility of having it on display and for sale in an actual store.  From what I've gathered in my recent research this in practically unheard of especially for people who have no idea what they are doing.  So wish me luck!!!!!