You can imagine my surprise when the first piece I submitted to Bead-It Today was selected for the April cover! I know this is a short post and I’ve gotten quite sporadic with my blog, but I just wanted to share and encourage all of you to keep pushing towards your goals!
I can’t say that my shop on Etsy has been lucrative, but with the demands of my “grown up” job, it’s been the best option for selling my jewelry at this point. After 2 1/2 years I’ve decided to start fresh and revamp my Stranded In The City shop. This is going to include higher quality materials and craftmanship, better quality photographs, more descriptive product details, and best of all, new and improved jewelry.
I’ll still focus on upcycled vintage assemblage style jewelry, but I really want to get back to only making things that speak to me. Meaning, not just making something because I think it might sell. I want my shop to reflect my own personal style.
Have any of you ever set out on such an endeavor? What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them? I’m looking for advice from anyone who’s been down this road before, so feel free to comment!
I first heard my father-in-law talk about a “Texas sky” and being a transplant from the Arkansas/Missouri area, I wasn’t quite familiar with what he meant. He explained a Texas sky is a pale blue with streaks of soft clouds. As a former pilot, the sky was his playground, so I trust his explanation. It also reminds me a bit of him, with his striking snowy hair and piercing sky blue eyes.
This got me thinking about the different “types” of skies and the one that is most special to me is the Arkansas sky that I remember from my childhood. There are many versions, from the perfectly clear blue, cloudless day, to the deep post-storm sky that is somehow dark and bright at the same time, and sometimes, just sometimes, if you’re really lucky you’ll even see a beautiful rainbow like the one I remember seeing from my porch, the spectrum of colors warming the white steeple of our church in the distance.
Wherever you live now, or have lived in the past, I’m sure there’s a sky you remember. I hope the memories of those skies stick with you and bring a smile when you see one that reminds you of the past, just like they have with me.
On a business trip to New Orleans last week I found myself sitting in the courtyard at Cafe Beignet on Royal Street enjoying (what else but) a delicious beignet. Much sweeter than the beignet though were the few minutes I came face to face with what could only be the Louisiana lookalike of my dearly departed cat, Jellybean. As he sauntered throughout the chairs and tables, briefly pausing for quick pat on the head, or to give that beautiful blank stare that only “cat people” can love, I was taken back to the sweet memories of when Jellybean was still around. It may sound silly, but the glossy black fur with tiny streaks of white, the beautiful main, his brilliant green eyes, and the unique markings on his nose made me feel like I had my beloved pet back for just a moment. So here’s to my Jellybean and the Cafe Beignet kitty – I hope everyone who has lost a pet has the chance to feel reunited at some point, even if for just a moment.
So I was thumbing through the latest issue of Bead Trends magazine and saw an advertisement featuring fashion designer turned scrapbooking queen, Amy Tan of Amy Tangerine. The ad was for a new Signature Series book about scrapbooking projects. Now while I’m no scrapbook queen myself, I know a cute pair of shoes when I see them. In the ad, Amy has on the most adorable aqua mint flats with little black bows.
I searched the web for said shoes with no luck, so I decided to contact Amy herself. I found her blog Amy Tangerine and sent her a note asking “Where’d you get those shoes?” To my delight, she replied right away, but not to my delight she said she got the shoes in Brazil😦 She did let me know the shoes are from a brand called Melissa. Again, I went to the internet and searched for the coveted Melissa flats. I did find them on a few sites, but they either didn’t have my size, the right color, or they were several times what I was willing to pay.
Being the resourceful artist that I am, I decided to just make my own. During my previous web searches I’d found some cute, affordable Mossimo flats at Target.com that seemed pretty close to the color I wanted. When they arrived today, I went upstairs to my studio and after digging through my box of “fibers” I found a black silk ribbon intended for jewelry making. With a little glue, I was able to make a reasonable facsimile for under $35. I am planning to wear them tomorrow with boyfriend jeans, a blazer over a white tee, and top it off with some fab jewelry.
Melissa flats next to my version:
With my birthday coming up, my Bestie and I decided it was a good excuse to head to Canton for First Monday Trade Days yesterday. It was REALLY cold in the morning, but as usual we had a blast. We spent the entire time “under the trees” – that’s where the good “junk” is. Needless to say we returned home with a ton of treasures that will someday find new life in our jewelry creations. The best part of the day though had to be all the interesting people we talked to.
There was a delightful gentleman who seemed to talk non-stop about anything and everything. He told us he’d once been a history teacher and he had stories and advice on everything from how to get a good deal in a pawn shop (go on a rainy Monday with cash in hand) to how Ulysses Grant paid his son-in-law’s debt to Cornelius Vanderbilt with guns and other historical artifacts. I bought a delicate pink rosary, a tiny salt shaker, and a huge bag of miscellaneous trinkets (each piece carefully rescued from a table literally covered in piles of jewelry).
Then we met a lovely lady who took us on a trip down fashion memory lane recounting jewelry trends from the 20′s to the 80′s. The best part was when I retrieved a rhinestone encrusted articulated gold panther from a glass asking “What is he?” as my BFF Nikki exclaimed “He’s fabulous!” and we learned he was in fact a brooch that was to be placed over the shoulder (in the 70′s and 80′s). He really was fabulous but after discussing the trend for a while I decided I was not the one to “bring it back” and would leave that challenge to someone else.
I have to say the highlight of the day was meeting Patty Burns from “Dirty Pearls”. I immediately fell in love with her creations and once I sat down to talk with her, I realized she was every bit as captivating as her jewelry. I learned she too was recently published for the first time (Autumn 2012 issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry here). I treated myself to a couple of birthday presents from her shop. One, a long necklace featuring a beautiful crystal accented watch case with pearl dangles, and the other, a pair of gorgeous earrings made from pieces of a silver plated platter and accented with delicate pearls. You can visit Patty at the Melrose Arts & Crafts Festival in Natchitoches, Louisiana April 13 – 14.
So, even though my birthday isn’t actually until tomorrow, I’ve already received some of the best gifts I could get – fun times with friends and chatting with a fellow artist, not to mention all that great jewelry-making loot! Oh, and that’s not even including the Breaking Dawn Part 2 DVD and awesome stereo upgrade for my car that my hubby spent part of the day installing. Now…I wonder if I can really get him to watch all 5 Twilight DVD’s back to back with me. Stay tuned!