Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Got to find some balance

I'm pretty sure this could be classified as a transitional period in my life. There seems to be a ton going on, just in day to day life. I know it has a lot to do with starting back to work. Right now I'm feeling like there are not enough hours in the day. I can't seem to fit in much time for jewelry design or production (much less tending to my blog), and when I do manage to get some pieces made, it seems that it takes days for me to find time to list each one. It's feeling pretty ridiculous. It's not like I have kids running around demanding my attention. (Well, my dogs and cats seem pretty demanding, but that's my own fault. lol) I don't know, I'll figure out a system or it will work itself out, it's just driving me a bit crazy right now.

In the meantime, at least I have my gardens for some peace and tranquility. From a distance, I can't even see all the weeds I need to pull. :P  This little beauty (Lithodora) is a newish plant that my mom picked up for me a few weeks back. We've had lots of rain lately and it's just flourishing. This pic is from the day it was planted though.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Time to catch up...

With the blog, that is. I'm not even sure how I got this far behind this time! It makes me a little crazy...

Work is going pretty well, so far, which is good. It's been a little less busy than I like it, but it should pick up soon with the addition of a couple new clients. Hopefully they like print advertising (which is mainly the area where I specialize). I feel like I'm back in the swing of things there. That's a nice feeling for sure.

A lot of time this week seems to have been devoted to getting some more shows lined up for the upcoming spring/summer months. At the middle school show last weekend, I did have a chance to talk to some really nice vendors and I got some good show leads. A photographer mentioned one that is being put on by Hamilton County Parks District at Glenview Gardens on June 7. I figured it's worth a try to get in, plus it's an art fair, so maybe I'll have a little better luck, who knows. Anyway, I went to their website and found out that it is a juried show and the submission deadline – well, I missed it by a mile – was February 6. That's right, I'm 3 months late. I have a knack. I sent an email to the organizer and she said they are trying to fill a couple more spaces if I want to submit photos and an application. I sent those materials off today. I would think I'd hear pretty soon one way or the other.

Then I found another one online that is at a local community church in July. They have over 10,000 members within their combined locations and are going to do radio, tv, print and internet advertising, not to mention they are inviting the local news and vendors also have the option of purchasing ad space in a booklet that they will hand out to everyone who walks in the door. Love it! I'm in! It sounds really promising. At least there should be plenty of people to not buy my stuff this time. :P

Other than that, I have some new loose beads and strands that I picked up a couple weekends ago at a traveling bead and gem show. I'm impressed with this batch. Lots of sparklies. Take a look:

Left to right: Thai silver toggles and links, flower amazonite, lodalite, green amethyst, chalcedony, opal, serpentine, sunstone, Mexican fire opal and amazonite. I already have some of the green amethyst and the serpentine in my shop. Just trying to find the time to work with the rest!

If you've made it this far, thanks for reading my rambling. :)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

I guess you can't win ’em all.

Today was the Woodland Middle School Spring Fever Fair, in which I was a vendor. It was the first annual show there. I was approached by one of the organizers via email weeks ago and then again at the last craft show I did a couple weeks back. I decided that for $30 for booth space, I'd go ahead and give it a whirl. 

Unbeknownst to me, it was slated to be an outdoor event. (Panic!) I've never done one of those before and was completely unprepared... no tent! Fortunately for me, I guess, it had been raining all week and they were forced to move it inside (thankfully). That let me off the hook for running out and purchasing a tent that would either be of good quality and more than I'd like to invest right now, or cheap and probably not that great.

At any rate, the show was today. From 9 am to 4 pm. That is a long show. My goodness, was it a long show. Good thing I was only feet away from one of those big white school clocks with the big black numbers and the slow-as-molasses moving hands so I never lost track of time. (Remember when you were in school and the clock felt like it never moved? Seriously, it felt like that.)

It poured and dumped rain most of the day, so I'm not sure if that kept away shoppers or if the event just wasn't advertised much. I think over the course of 7 (l-o-n-g) hours, we maybe had 60 people through there. Needless to say, no sales for me. Other vendors were having the same luck. It was sad. And boring. Oh dear.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

It's back to work for me.

Last week I wrote that my former employer called me with an offer to return, which I happily accepted. "Do you want to think about it over the weekend?..." asked my HR Manager. "No way! I'm there, see you Monday!" (not in those exact words, of course) was my reply. Initially, it is for 4 days or 30 hours per week, still considered full-time, with the hope that later this year it goes back to 5 days or 37.50+ hours per week.

I returned to work Monday after a year and one week. Lots of people I once worked with are no longer employed there, some victims of the initial lay-off like me, some who left over the course of the year. But then, there are quite a few familiar faces and some new ones as well. It was a little strange and not everyone knew I was returning, so some were surprised to see me. It didn't take long for me to get back into the old swing of things. I have done some freelance work for them over the course of my year off, so that helped, I'm sure.

I can't put into words how relieved I am to be working again. Although I enjoyed much of my time off and being able to put lots of work and thought into my Etsy store and jewelry design, I'm completely enamored by the thought of a steady paycheck. It was getting a little tough there in spots, but things are definitely looking up. I even woke up to an earring sale this morning. What more could I ask for? :)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

A few months back while perusing the Etsy forums, I came across a wonderful blog, Just Something I Made. In it the author, Cathe Holden, posted photos of her too cute little wire bird nests and instructions for making them. (You can view that post here.) My mom is really into watching and feeding the various birds that come into her yard... chickadees, finches, mocking birds, woodpeckers, etc. She just loves them. So I thought it would be a fitting Mother's Day gift if I made one of Cathe's bird nests for her to wear as a necklace. I'm new to building nests, but I think it turned out okay. I think she'll probably get a kick out of it. 

Happy Mother's Day to moms everywhere. I hope your day is special and that you feel appreciated and loved!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Today was a good day.

I started today (Friday) with an unfinished project – the pendant I started working on last night for a custom order. Long story short, lots of wire-wrapping of small and even smaller beads and my temporary workspace (okay, the living room couch) just doesn't have good lighting and it was getting late.

It was sunny this morning and into the early afternoon, flooding the living room with light, and I was getting ready to sit down and get back to it when my phone rang. It was the HR person from my old job (the one I've been gone from for a year now) and she was calling to offer me a position. Same responsibilities as I had previously, but for now 30 hours a week with full benefits. I was so relieved/excited/freaked out! Well, of course I accepted it and start back on Monday. 

Which is right about when my mom walked in with a new perennial for me. She was delighted to hear that, after a year, I was going back to work. Honestly, she was probably more relieved than I was (she's quite the worrier). So we found a spot in one of the front beds for the Lithodora (pics to come soon, I'm sure) and planted it before it started raining. 

After mom left, I finally got a chance to sit down and finish the pendant. By then it was raining and dark (go figure), so I brought out another lamp and got to work. I'm really happy with the way it turned out and my fellow Etsyan was very pleased as well. I'm sending it out already tomorrow (which by now is today, Saturday). 

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A favorite in my garden

I've been keeping an eye out for these guys to start opening. This one was sudden! I know I didn't see this vibrant orange poppy bouncing around yesterday when my mom and I were outside weeding the other beds. Sure enough, when I let the dogs out this morning, there he was! All bright and billowy... Amazing!

Well, this day didn't seem possible

If you had told me this time last year that I'd still be looking for a job, I wouldn't have believed it for a second. Today is the 1 year anniversary of my layoff from a job that I really enjoyed. Even when it had me completely aggravated (which seemed to be often). 

I'm trying to think positive thoughts as I continue my search. I know lots of people have it much worse than I do. At least I have my jewelry design to keep me busy most days and I can fill in now with gardening. I just can't believe it's been a year...

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Love this time of year!

It was a gorgeous, sunny day today. A little cooler than it has been for most of the week, but it was a day without rain, so the kitties were happy to be able to be out in the back yard playing wild cats. (They're indoor cats, but they're allowed out in the fenced yard when our dogs are out.)

This is Lucy, most likely stalking a bird. Or, she may be giving the dogs a crazy look... hard to tell with her sometimes.

And here is Zoey (you may remember her from the photo where she's camped out on the corner of my desk in an earlier post). It took me a couple minutes to find her this time. She loves to hide out under the purple smoke tree. I should look there first next time.

When I was done following my cats around, I took some time to snap some photos of some of the flowers that are blooming now. Many of them are just explosions of color. I believe this purple one is in the geranium family, but can't say for sure. I think I got this one from my mom, who had gotten a piece of it from one of her sisters. Lots of my plants are divisions from relatives or friends. Trading is a great way to get a big mix of colors and plants without spending a ton of money. Perennials can be so expensive!

This one is clematis which happens to be in desperate need of a trellis. I'll get around to putting one up one of these days.

Coral bells. They didn't want to sit still in the wind for the photo.

This is one of my favorites and it keeps reseeding itself all over my flower beds, a columbine. I keep planting various colors, but eventually they all come up purple. Fine with me... they're striking.

This is one of the few yellow columbines that came up this year. Hopefully it'll keep coming back and spreading.

From the aster family, I'm told it's called "bachelor's button", but I've seen other flowers that are called that as well, so I'm not sure. You don't find too many blue perennials, so this one is nice to have around.

I got this shot right after a rain shower yesterday. Dianthus is just a profusion of blooms right now. This one is doing particularly well. It's about 4 years old and I'll probably have to end up dividing it this fall. 

Well, that's what's going on right now in some of my beds. I have poppies with big buds on them in the back of my yard. I can't wait for those to open!

Friday, May 1, 2009

The evolution of a custom order

I think it was Tuesday when I met with my custom bracelet customer. (I posted the initial design here a couple posts back.) I didn't have much to go on as far as what she was looking for other than the silver with the Gandhi quote, so I put something together that I liked and took it to show her. I decided as I was leaving the house that I should take some more strands of beads with me, just in case what I had come up with wasn't quite what she was thinking. Good move! She thought the chunky stones were a little large-scale for her, but quickly gravitated to the smooth green garnet chips you see below. I like the way this rendition turned out as well.

She hasn't seen it yet because I'm also working on converting some vintage clip earrings into pierced ones for her. I found the appropriate adhesive and got some instruction from my local bead store gurus, just have to find some posts to use. They happened to be out of stock there. I bet I'll find some on Etsy.


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