Saturday, October 25, 2008

cherishing the past

I know a good friend whose family had lost their matriarch about a year back. She was a dressmaker, as was her mother and quite possibly her mother. When my friend was telling me about breaking her house up, I asked if she had a dress form, and indeed she did. My Dad's side of the family is into antiques, so having an old dress form was very exciting to me. It also gave me the opportunity to honor someone's past.
To make a long story short, I was given the dress form just today, and I am so happy with it. It isn't adjustable, but there is just something about it that I love. Of course I had to dress her with a necklace ;)
The problem is I don't know anything about the dress form itself. It's got Majestic D.F. Co. on its base, but other than that I have no idea. Anyone out there with antique dress form knowledge?

Friday, October 24, 2008


This past week or two have been a little nuts. Not a whole lot, but the family has been sick, James schedule was different, and the shinyness of having my work for sale online has worn thin. After 6 weeks I haven't made an actual sale save for one trade. I have asked those successful and anyone who will listen if it could be my work, my pictures, the prices, the shipping costs, and I haven't been given negative feedback except for some good advice on photos. However, I am like a lot of people on etsy right now. I'm trying to weather the economic storm, and trying to make lemonade where there are lemons. If I continue to create, then once the market allows us to purchase wants as well as needs, I will be ahead of the game.

I'm trying to motivate myself as best I can, without going the Stuart Smalley route. It's kinda trickling into my personal life as well, which can only be a good thing. Putting the good words to practice, though, now that is the thing ;)

Tell me how you motivate yourself and how you get from revved up on the starting line to crossing the finish line.

Listening to: Supreme Beings of Leisure

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A to Zen

I'm not a Buddhist. I even had to look up how to spell Buddhist just to make sure. Don't get me wrong, I deeply believe in acceptance and respect and appreciation of others' belief systems. It's just that I don't know as much as I would like to. I was talking with a wise man about my jewelry. I told him that I don't make the jewelry, it makes itself and he said that I have a very zen approach to creating. He did explain what he meant, as I have heard the term zen but really didn't understand the concept much. He went on to talk about a group of archers that believe that they don't shoot their arrow to the target, that the target draws the arrow to it. I had never put too much thought into my creative process, but I found that I did indeed have one.

My dining room table is atrocious, let me just get that out of the way. I will have to talk about my workspace in another blog but I do like having everything I use out and handy when it comes to jewelry. I will gather the beads I want to use, and sometimes I get it right on the money and sometimes I have to hunt for a different set. Once I have all the beads I need, I start stringing, and check my work frequently to see if it feels right. I don't use patterns or bead boards, unless its just to hold beads. As with the beads, sometimes I get the design right the first time, and sometimes I have to string and restring and restring again until it feels the way it should. I am very much an emotional person, I feel first then think. Sometimes it has worked for me, and sometimes it has gotten me into more trouble than I care to go into here ;) Let's just say that the jewelry I create has its own personality, and part of mine as well :D

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Marketing Schmarketing or The Reluctant Blogger

Back in the day, I was a leasing agent for some pretty swanky high rise apartments. I loved that job. I loved that life. I happen to love James more, and moved out to the suburbs, married him and had Katie. The thing about living in the burbs is that I've switched gears, and I'm having a hard time finding my niche in the handmade jewelry industry. I can market someone else's product with the best of them, but never felt too comfortable chatting myself up. I am definitely working on that as it's only the squeaky wheel that gets the grease, but it is hard to throw yourself out there. Ive passed out a few business cards, chatted frequently on Etsy, made sure I didn't walk out of the house with a naked neck, and started blogging. There are other tools on Etsy I can use, and I'm looking into those avenues. I've come up with one solution that I hope works.

there are several small salons in the immediate area, and I am hoping they will allow me to leave a small portfolio of my work and some business cards, a brag book if you will. These pieces will be examples only of my work, but if I still have the piece available I will certainly sell it. Folks can go online and purchase, or if they want it right away, I should be able to deliver it to the salon. I don't want to leave jewelry directly at the salons as I've had bad luck with consignment. Craft shows are a possibility, but the market is so flooded with jewelers and with no van I have to get choosy about which ones to participate in, also taking my family's schedule into consideration.

I'm sure there are lots of great ideas on how to get my name out there, and improve my game - please share :D

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Family Affair

One of the toys I bought for my daughter, Katie, when she was tiny was some large baby beads that pop together. When she was a bit older, I bought her some very large acrylic beads with a large hole so she could learn to string. A couple of months before she turned 4, I had some girlfriends over, one being one of her teachers in preschool. We were beading, and Katie told her teacher that she wanted to make a "real" necklace, so I sat her down, got her some beads from my stash, cut her a length of wire, and waited for the constant interruptions and complaining that she couldn't get the wire in the hole. A while after, she calls out "I'm done", and much to my astonishment, her string is strung, not one complaint, not one bead dropped, nothing but a completed necklace. From then on, she had her own beads ;)

My husband, James, already worked with chain mail, and had bought a book on wire jewelry, which he put away along with several other hobbies. When he brought up the subject of wire jewelry again, I bought him a jig and some wire and another book, and so far he is really enjoying it. I hope no one clues him in to all the work I will want him to do for me, though I've already gotten a necklace and earring set out of the deal. He made the links, I just designed it :D

Saturday, October 11, 2008

...My Favorite Things

I've seen sidebars on blogs about things folks are doing, like what I'm reading, what I'm watching on television, what funny thing my kid said today, etc. Once I get blogging under my belt a bit more, I'm sure I will find a way to have my own sidebar with all of my favorite what am I doing now snippets, but in the meantime I'm going to chat about them here.

Music is such a big part of my creative process. In fact, it's such a big part of me as a whole. I listen to most everything, shying away from country music. Cowboy Junkies are the closest I get to country, and they aren't really country at all. Sometimes I pick the music to design to, sometimes the music picks the design. I'll chat in a later post about my design style, but my jewelry and music are certainly entwined.

Movies are something that my husband and I can always default to for some together time. The big three categories for the both of us are sci-fi/fantasy, action, and comedy. I watch most of the movies he watches, but I do like drama, romance, and musicals as well. I am a very emotional person, and tissue companies are glad for it. I've gotten a lot of great ideas for my work from movies and tv, and watery eyes to boot. ;)

I would like to say here that I am an avid reader, but I cannot. I used to read, on the train to work and back home again, and I loved that time to myself. Since I had a baby, though, time to read has been cut down to instructions on the macaroni and cheese box. I was convinced that once I turned 40 I would become illiterate because if you don't use a skill you lose it. I just turned 40, so we will see at what grade level I can read.

Crafters usually don't stick with one craft, and I'm certainly not one to go against the grain, much. I do sew, and I love sewing. I wouldn't call myself a seamstress but I can make clothes well enough and love costumes. I've also found that costumers are procrastinators, I don't know if that has to do with not wanting to change your mind in the middle of a project or if we are just procrastinators, but I've been known to sew buttons on while travelling to the destination of the place I'm going to wear said garment. I am also trying to teach myself crochet and gardening, took a class in cake decorating, and sometimes try and get creative with cooking. Jewelry, though, is where I seem to be able to make my mark.

So that's me - for now anyway ;)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Name Game

When my husband and I were expecting, we decided that I should stay at home. Lots of factors went into this, but one of them was money. It would cost me just as much to go to work as to stay at home. I didn't mind but for the issue of whose money was it then. He reassured me that it would be ours, and I could spend how I needed to. Even so, I wanted to bring in a bit of cash. I thought of selling jewelry at craft shows, and quickly came up with the name Wednesday Night Accessories, because at the time my best friend and I had been getting together on Wednesday evenings to make jewelry together. I had hoped she would join in a business venture with me, but life happened to both of us and her husband was facing the possibility of having to move for his job while I faced a difficult pregnancy and recovery. I made the motions of starting a home based jewelry business, but went nowhere with it. I let my tax ID lapse, and didn't think about it for a while.

When I picked up the notion to make jewelry again as a business, I was faced with a dilemma. I knew that Wednesday Night Accessories was a long name, but couldn't come up with anything else that I could relate to. On the good advice of a friend, I didn't go with anything too cutesy, but I am a storyteller, and needed to have my name have meaning. I finally gave in, going with my feelings, and took Wednesday Night Accessories again as my business name. Wednesday Night Accessories fits well with the type of jewelry I create, my best friend points out, it's casual and fun, not stuffy and stand offish. I love hanging out with the girls, and I love seeing them wear necklaces that I've made or even better, they have made while at my house. Wednesday nights are a time to unwind and face the rest of the week with good friends, and my jewelry fits right in with that feeling :D
Check out my work at

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Let's start at the very beginning...

I could say that my foray into making jewelry started with an old boyfriend, but that's not exactly accurate. My grandmother started me out with macrame, in fact all of my crafting is due to her. I spent summers out in rural Iowa and she taught me how to sew, how to follow a recipe, gardening, chores, etc. I owe her much, and didn't really understand until well into my adult years. My 4 year old is following in her footsteps, though, and adores bird watching, gardening, playing outside, and all things nature.

It was an old boyfriend that really lit the jewelry making fire. Back in '95 we went to a shop owned by a couple of hippies and that store was heaven to me. I was introduced to my now favorite scent of incense - Nag Champa, the owners were awesome, and they had a large stash of beads, etc. The boyfriend thought putting together his own jewelry was a great idea and bought enough to make a necklace. He was so proud of that piece, and I slowly started making jewelry with him. Soon after we broke up but I was hooked. I've been making jewelry ever since and loving it.

Check out my work at