Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Grid

Our featured blogger this week on Skwiggazine is Corinne Sullivan of Daydream Art Studios. I was first in contact with Corinne a few months ago when I joined her project called, The Grid. Corinne wanted to add creations from all different kinds of artists, and one of my rings is featured (7 th row, first one on the left). Corinne is a very talented artist herself! I love that on her blog she features a different drink recipe every Friday. Who doesn't need one after a long day! Go check out Corinne's blog and show her some love!

Monday, August 25, 2008

So Much To Do, So Little Time

I'm a little behind on my posting because I received 2 orders last week! That's a lot for me, especially since one is a wholesale order for the SPCA. Last year Cindy and I appeared on the Comcast Tonight show in Reading,PA and the camera lady there works for the SPCA and was interested in purchasing my Bracelet for Simon (pictured) for sale at their organization. She ordered 12, and a few months later called to order 24 more! They just ordered another 24 last week, which I'm thrilled to do because it's a bracelet I made in remembrance of a family cat who died of feline leukemia 2 years ago. The proceeds of the bracelet go to research for finding a cure for feline leukemia.

The next day, I received a custom order for a lady getting married who wanted to purchase 2 of our Flower Girl bracelets. We discussed her wedding colors and came up with an ivory pearl and olive green Swarovski crystal bracelet for her flower girls. So with 2 orders, I had lots of supplies to order. I can't keep all supplies I need for every piece on hand. Not to mention that we have a 2 day show coming up in less than 2 weeks, and I have a lot of new pieces I'm in the process of making for that. Needless to say, I have found it kind of difficult to run the business, take care of Chloe and the house, and do my blogging, so the blogging had to come last. A fellow Skwiggazine member who also has been busy with jewelry design and her full-time job of teaching is Teresa of Inspired Designs. Head over to her blog to find out about her busy life! She has some beautiful pieces. Well, that's all for now! Hope everyone has a good day!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Back To Life

We just got back Sunday night from our first trip to the Outer Banks. It was an 11 hour drive back and forth, counting all the stops we had to make to give Chloe a break from the car. It wasn't pretty, but thank goodness for the portable DVD player she recieved for her birthday! We couldn't have made the trip without it!! The house we rented was in Rodanthe, N.C. which is pretty far away from a lot of things, but we could walk right out to the beach. It was a gorgeous beach and totally different from what I'm used to. No crowds, just sand, sea, and beautiful seashells! I have always loved to find different seashells, and have a collection on my windowsill in the bathroom. I found some AMAZING shells which has inspired me greatly!

Most days were spent splashing in the water, playing in the sand, and relaxing at the house. Here is a pic of hubby and Chloe flying her first kite. We had really good weather, except for Wednesday, which was a total washout. We drove about 30 miles to Roanoke, which had an aquarium. Everyone must have had the same idea, because it was packed! But a fun thing for Chloe to see, and for me as well! Here is a picture of Chloe standing in front of a huge jaw of a shark. Scary, right?!

Chloe didn't want to leave the beach. In a way, I can't blame her. It sure beats the lack of scenery we have here in Lebanon, PA. My dream is to have a house at the beach. Maybe one day. Until then, it's back to normal life!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Mint Chocolate Chip & Skwiggazine

Strange title, huh? Well, I'm heading for the beach on Sunday, my first trip to North Carolina, and I wanted to leave you with one of my latest designs. It's called Mint Chocolate Chip after my favorite ice cream. Since it's the dog days of summer, what better way to cool yourself off than with some ice cream and Aquamarine, Swarovski crystal, and silver earrings? The Aquamarine is man-made, but I thought the cut was beautiful and it also lowers the price than if it were genuine! The sterling silver earwires have a hammered look and accent the cluster of crystals perfectly!

My featured artist this week is Missy from Skwiggazine. I have been a part of this great community for some time now, and have become a weekly contributor with my article, "How Do We Get Ourselves Out There?" It has given me a chance to explore different areas of the internet that we as independant artists can use to promote ourselves. Missy has been very supportive of my articles and work and has just recently asked me to step in for her as editor of Skwiggazine while she is tending to some personal issues. It is a great magazine style type of social networking, and I urge you to check it out! We have some wonderful and talented members and I'm happy to be a part of it. Great job, Missy!!

Friday, August 1, 2008

An Interview with Annette Piper Dip. Gem. Handcrafted Jewellery

Since starting my website a year and a half ago, I have joined many social networking sites, where I have met some fabulous ladies. One in particular is Annette Piper Dip. Gem. Handcrafted Jewellery. Upon "meeting" her, she was so warm and welcoming, ready to give advice and share experiences. She is an extremely talented designer and busy mom, but she always has time to do her blog postings, greet new members on the sites she belongs, and leave comments for me on my blog, which I love! I wanted to interview Annette to find out a little bit more about her and her business. This is what she had to say:

Name: Annette Piper

Business Name: Annette Piper Dip. Gem. Handcrafted Jewellery

Where are you located: Coolah, NSW, Australia

What is your favorite part of the design process: Putting two things together and realising it could look fabulous and then those spectacular end results - knowing that someone will LOVE the piece I've just made enough to want to purchase it.

How did your business begin: I qualified as a gemmologist in the 1980s and worked in the jewellery trade in Sydney, so had a good working knowledge of tool use, had seen the design process from concept to finished product, had a good eye for colour and display and a lot of retail experience. I have always felt an affinity for gemstones and pearls so when I made a few little bracelets and necklaces for my (then) toddler daughters out of wood and glass, I thought that I would really like to make jewellery that was all about the stones rather than about the metal. So I let the stones take the lead in design. Everybody who I showed them to loved them and quite a few bought them. As I enjoyed the creation process so much I continued on with it and it grew from there.

Who or what inspires you: The gemstones themselves - their patterns, shading, colours. Occasionally fabrics, flowers and scenery help inspire a combination. I also find images of Audrey Hepburn inspiring - such class, elegance and style, all simple yet so beautiful.

When do you find time to create having 3 active children: All my children are at school so most days I can spend designing/ creating/ photographing / networking / researching / plus all the boring stuff! I also get a lot done late at night when everyone has gone to bed and the house is quiet, the phone doesn't ring and the emails slow down.

What do you enjoy doing when you're not creating: Reading- predominately fantasy, fiction and classic literature. I'm not much of a factual reader - whilst interesting, it makes me yawn and ultimately I'll nod off. I used to enjoy cooking and a little bit of gardening but jewellery has taken over these areas in the enjoyment factor. I also really enjoy selling my work - I'm very much a people person and love to get out there and share my enthusiasm for gemstones.

What advice would you give other indie artists who are just starting out: Do something that you have experience with and a talent for. Refine your skills before selling - it's a quick way to lose your reputation if you sell a product that is of inferior craftsmanship. Identify your market and then go and find them - don't think they are going to come to you! Be prepared to travel to your target market if they are not nearby or find alternate ways to sell to them.

What is the secret to your success: High quality stones and craftsmanship, extremely rigid quality control, full guarantee of my product, excellence in customer service and going an unexpected step further for the customer, not promising something I can't deliver.

Favorite food: chocolate *guilt*, creamy sauces *guilt*, berries *no guilt > :D

Favorite music: swing, lighter styles of jazz, acoustic guitar, some traditional folk (Irish/Scottish) and 'show tunes' (just ask my long suffering children and husband about the latter.... yes I break into song for no apparent reason)!

I want to thank Annette for taking the time to answer my questions. It's obvious she has a passion for what she does, and it definitly shows! Just look at those gorgeous pieces! She also had some great advice for us as artists just starting out. Continued success with everything Annette!