Looking Back ~ Looking Forward

Looking Back ~ Looking Forward

As 2011 comes to a close I feel grateful for family and friends who make each day so worthwhile.  I feel blessed by the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, the opportunity and the time to be creative, for laughter and health.

Last year I posted 5 jewelry related resolutions for 2011.  Let’s take a look at how I did, what I should carry forward and what I might add.

2011 Resolutions

  1. Build up to 100 items in my shop.  That seems to be the magic number for people to start finding you in a Google search. I’d get up into the high 90’s, but then I’d have a show and sell a whole bunch of jewelry and be knocked back down to the 60’s.  I found its not adequate to just have 100 items in your shop.  You must have more than that, so you can maintain a high number even when you have successful shows.
  2. Blog 2-3 times a week.  Aim for three.  I met this goal, with the exception of a few weeks,  I’m quite proud of how often I blogged–and it paid off in increasing numbers of readers.
  3. Increase the speed/efficiency of photographing and posting new jewelry online.  I’m very slow at editing pictures, writing the item descriptions etc.  This eats huge hunks of time.  I would grade myself with a C+ on this resolution.  My photography is much more efficient.  I got a light box, so I can take pictures at any time of day, whether it is sunny or not.  My jewelry descriptions are better, but still more time consuming than I would like.  The new Google algorithms require a minimum of 250 words per description and preferably more.  That can be quite laborious, to say the least!
  4. Submit one of my jewelry designs to a beading magazine.  OK, I get an F on this one.  I thought about it–does that count???  Ah-hm, I’ll have to carry this over to 2012.
  5. Work on de-cluttering my studio, (&  my house, life etc. sigh…). I made a lot of progress in this area!  Several carloads of clutter went to the Goodwill or were thrown out!  I wanted to make space in our extra room for a queen-sized bed and that meant a lot of my stuff had to go.  I’ll carry this goal over to 2012, though, because I need to keep de-cluttering the whole house.

Resolutions For The New Year

  1. Continue building up the number of items in my jewelry shop.  I’m down to 68 after the Christmas season.
  2. Part way through last year, I started photographing my jewelry on a slate background.  I need to re-photograph the older items that are on a plain white background.  I want my whole shop to have a consistent look.
  3. After Google reformatted its algorithms, I began writing longer descriptions and improving my use of key words for the searches.  Now all my older descriptions need to be rewritten (so not looking forward to that task!).
  4. Submit one of my jewelry designs to a magazine.
  5. Continue de-cluttering my creative ventures, as well as other parts of my life.

Happy New Year!

Wishing you and your loved ones an incredible, amazing, and wondrous 2012!

What goals have you set for yourself?  Do you think you’ll be able to make them happen?

Santa In My Studio

Santa In My Studio –

Bead Table Wednesday

I’m being my own Santa and bringing some gifts into my studio!  Take a look at my recent additions!

From Sue Beads:

Baby blue lampwork beads

mango sparkle lampwork glass beads

Snowflower lampwork glass headpins

Sue Beads headpins

From Melinda Orr Designs:

copper earring components

copper components

And from Oak Hill Silver Supply:

organic leaf charms

Oakhill silver supply

sterling silver charms

Turquoise Swirl Earrings

Turquoise Swirl Earrings

I am so captivated by ceramic these days!  I especially love ceramic with glazes that break to white on the raised surfaces and pool in deeper colors on the recessed surfaces.  My new Turquoise Swirl Earrings do just that!

Turquoise Swirl Earrings

Turquoise Swirl Earrings

The pale turquoise ceramic circles are handmade by Bo Hulley Beads.  The glass rounds above the ceramic are a molted blue-green that coordinates with the ceramic, without matching it exactly.  These one of a kind earrings are unique and eye-catching and yet they are completely practical.  They will look terrific with jeans on the weekend or with work wear during the week.  The colors are great because they will complement many outfits.

Turquoise Swirl Earrings

Turquoise Swirl Earrings

The Turquoise Swirl Earrings are available now in my ArtFire Studio.

Tuesday Tour – Week 5

Handmade Christmas Gift Ideas

On ArtFire

After a week’s delay, I’m back on track with my Tuesday Tours.  Thank you to everyone who wished me a speedy healing.  I’m still bruised and tender, but I’m feeling much better!

Each week I’ve been sharing items from some of my favorite shops and recently I’ve been featuring items from artisans living in the Pacific Northwest.  I hope you will find some cool Christmas gifts here – for yourself or others on your list!

buy handmadeFirst off are handmade glass beads from my good friends, Jenelle and Dan, of Beads and Botanicals.  Not only do they live in the Pacific NW, they even live in the same town that I do.  At my shows, the past two weekends, I sold at least two bracelets and two pairs of earrings that included their lampwork glass beads.  Aren’t these green disks awesome?  I love the contrast between the smooth green centers and the rough-hewn edges.  Is there a beader in your life?  Make them happy when they discover these handmade, lampwork beads in their stocking.

Lampwork beads Antiquities Olive & Raku Organic Orbit Disks Handmade

green handmade beads

Lampwork beads Antiquities Olive and Raku Organic Orbit Disks handmade

Moving from beads to finished jewelry – I  love this spectacular red poppy themed necklace by Janet of Honey from the Bee.   It starts off with an exceptionally beautiful handmade glass focal bead that looks like a field of poppies in glass.  The asymmetrical designs includes glass poppies vining up one side, accented by antique French brass centers.  As if that weren’t enough, Janet wove a spiral of tiny glass beads to encircle your neck.  This is an heirloom quality piece to give to someone really special in your life!

Green and Red Necklace – Poppy Dreams – lampwork, beaded necklace

red poppy necklace

Green and Red Necklace - Poppy Dreams - lampwork, beaded necklace

The String Lady, aka Erica, makes delightful crocheted items.  It’s cold in many parts of the country and a hand-crocheted scarf makes a welcome gift.   Aren’t the colors just yummy?

Multicolored Side to Side Scarf Unisex Any Age

hand crocheted scarf

Multicolored Side to Side Scarf Unisex Any Age

I really had a hard time selecting one item from Kristi Bowman Design.  Kristi’s work is very imaginative.  She has a great feel for color and interesting texture in her designs.  I really like the way she wire-wrapped the fire opal on these earrings and suspended them from the small blue ruffled rings.  Awesome!

Fancy Faceted Fire Opal and Lampwork Ruffled Rings

Fire opal earrings

Fancy Faceted Fire Opal and Lampwork Ruffled Rings

You can also find great handmade Christmas gifts at Linda Landig Jewelry.  Here’s the most recent addition to my shop.  Titled the “Blue Danube Earrings”, they have copper connectors that are handmade by Kristi Bowman (featured above).  Check out the gorgeous design in the copper!  I suspended cornflower blue ceramic dangles, (by Elaine Ray), beneath the copper.  I really love this combination of blue and copper.  I’m thinking that I may have to make a similar pair for myself!

Textured Copper Earrings Handmade Blue Ceramic Dangles Antiqued Brass

copper and  blue ceramic earrings

Textured Copper Earrings Handmade Blue Ceramic Dangles Antiqued Brass

If you have questions about any these items arriving in time for Christmas, just send a message to the artist about it.  There is a contact button at the bottom of the first page of each shop.  Some of us (including me) are guaranteeing same or next day shipping.

I hope you enjoyed your fifth Tuesday Tour.  I’d love to hear your comments!

By the way…did you notice that it’s snowing on my blog?!  Move your mouse and it will change the direction the snow is falling!  Enjoy! :)

Tuesday Tour Delayed

Hi friends-

Yesterday I fell on some loose stones.  Nothing is broken, but I’ve got bumps and bruises all over.  I probably had a mild concussion, because I’ve had a bit of a headache for the past 24 hours.  I’m basically OK, but my body is shook up and tired, so I don’t feel up to writing my Tuesday Tour post right now.  Hopefully Tuesday Tour can happen on Wednesday.

In the meantime, I’ll let you know that my show last weekend went very well!  I am so pleased.  The Fine Arts & Crafts show is having a second show this coming weekend.  One of the vendors cancelled, so I’ll take her place.  If you are local, I hope you’ll stop by and shop local & handmade for the holidays!

beads caution sign