Change of Plans…

Just as I get my website up and running, we decide to do some upgrades to our downstairs. It is time. We also bought a camper trailer, so our family will be on the open road for most of the summer…which has been a dream of ours for our family.

What this means is a much needed upgrade to give me a bonafide studio. The washer & dryer will be removed and moved into the downstairs washroom, giving me free reign of the entire space. We have been frantically packing up our lives in preparation; the jewelry supplies are boxed up for now, and should see the light of day again this fall. This summer I will post about my adventures in spinning fiber this winter/spring to keep the creativity flowing. I feel a total overhaul of the jewelry as well…I’m looking forward to the summer to mull it all over.

Per usual if you can still contact me for custom requests, I may or may not be able to fulfill them, but do feel free to write!

I look forward to showing off my new studio space. It is my dream to have a place that I can share with the community as well…jewelry making, beading, knit, crochet, card fiber, spin…excited to finally be moving in this direction…

 

 

 

Changes…

There are some changes (challenges?) coming up this year for my family that have forced me to evaluate what projects this year are most important and concentrate on them. I am a big believer in change & getting out of one’s comfort zone…so as much as it is not how I envisioned my year I choose to embrace it!

Change has a way of kicking my butt in gear. When I realize my timeline has been shortened, this is when my best work emerges. I tend to over think – over perfect things. In essence I work the best under pressure.

So the one thing I could not put off any longer, was programming my website. My own little piece of cyber space where you can browse my jewelry online for purchase – either limited edition or custom and to request pieces for wholesale or consignment . I needed a place of freedom where everything would be in one space and I would have total control over it. This would eliminate the need for selling on third party venues. Maintaining these shops is time consuming & I have not much control on the space itself (customizing). I find myself constantly saying, “I wish I could do…”, “I wish I could offer….”

So the software has been picked. The theme has been chosen and customized. I am now adding product for testing. Here is the test site… http://shop.heavenlyflower.com – which will soon become http://heavenlyflower.com.

(This is a test site so browse only…created accounts will not be kept once the site goes live). Once completed customers will be able to browse/buy and request jewelry, keep a wishlist & email items to friends/family, earn reward points, join a referral program & browse in 5 different currencies (more may be added later).

We still have to test the sign in/account/payment capabilities. For now I have payment set up via Paypal API, and eventually will also offer direct credit card payment.

I also have plans to add downloadable brochures & press releases to the site as well.

This will not only simplify my life but allow me to market my business & represent me the best way possible. πŸ™‚

So that is what I am busy with. Along with moving over 100 ready to ship pieces to the site, I have over 30 pieces for my custom/engravable collection to photograph and add to the site as well. Then once that is complete I have to do it all over again for my supply shop. πŸ™‚

To keep up to date with the site’s development & new products, check back here on the blog, or via Facebook.

 

 

 

I believe that if creative people are open and generous enough when working with each other, a lot more can be learned and achieved by both parties. That’s what it’s all about, trying to produce the best work possible on any given project.
– William Kempe

New Year, New Goals…The End of the Jewelry Sabbatical

I have been quiet. The end of the 2010 was drawing near & I wrapped up my jewelry sabbatical getting a head start on 2011 projects. Like a writer who sequesters themselves in a secluded cabin to write a novel, a lot of times I do similar when I feel a new project idea coming on and I need no distractions to bring it to fruition. I’m glad to have been inspired to get a jump start as January is not going quite as smoothly as I had hoped. I am the perpetual over-achiever. πŸ™‚

So let’s recap what I’ve been up to…

I started one year ago my jewelry sabbatical. I decided over Christmas break a year ago, after over a decade of beading/beaded jewelry that I wanted time to concentrate learning/trying new skills. I found myself feeling really stagnant making the same style over & over – and I needed time to not feel pressured to be making sales. The biggest result of that is I learned how to engrave using a pantograph engraver. A line is already in development & well on its way to completion. I decided to source out supplies that were quality but not precious metal. I’ve always been dedicated to offering my work at a price that is affordable to everyone. There will be sterling silver variations as well, but I will start out with blanks that are treated for durability, the cores being metals such as brass, copper & steel.

This is my new project. Named after my two girls, jade-n-rose will be offering jewelry making & craft supplies in small lots. Inspired by my early days jewelry making, I will strive to offer quality supplies in small quantities for those who only want a few items at a time. Currently housed on Artfire, we are starting to work on its very own website in tandem with the heavenlyflower website. I was hoping to have more items listed by now but have gotten sidetracked. I hope to get back to it soon; I literally have hundreds of items ready for sale.

I also (finally) chose a blog layout I am happy with! I believe these types of themes are called “magazine” layouts…and they give a snippet and photo from the post rather than showing the whole post on the front page. I’m a skimmer so I love this format for searching for topics that interest me. My holistic blog has also been updated.

There was a lot of things that I didn’t get to last year or only barely scratched the surface. I have carried it over to my to-learn list this year, although it is a tall order since I already have non-jewelry creative projects on the list. Considering all the goals I have for this year, it still feels exciting & ambitious rather than daunting and impossible. I will dig in, and hope that the blog this year will continue to inspire you to take on a creative project that perhaps you have been putting off for some time. This is my theme for 2011: tackle the projects that I have always wanted to do but never got around to do it.

Creatively yours,

Seven Things

I was tagged by the beautiful Tasha Chawner to share seven things about me. While I am flattered that sheΒ  thought of me in all my blogging glory, I am having a hard time coming up with seven things to mention…darn it I am just not that interesting! πŸ˜‰

1. I taught myself the alphabet in Canadian Sign language

…which, for all intents & purposes is American Sign Language – ASL – (we say “zed”, they say “zee”) but as far as the signing, it’s the same. :). Yes my #1 is totally piggy backing on Tasha’s #5. πŸ˜‰ I taught myself so that I could have hand gestures when singing the alphabet song (heavily requested in my house) with my three year old during circle time. I was quite impressed at how quickly I learned, now I would love to learn more! πŸ™‚

2. I hate spiders but they love me.

Over the years, I have learned to tolerate them, as they do such a nice job keeping the other bug populace down. But they seem to want to be friends even though I would like to remain acquaintances. Here at the computer for instance, on a regular basis they like to come crawling up (or repel downwards), and I usually don’t notice until they’re traveling up my arm or neck. Flick it away and minutes later I witness it crawling back up the chair. Hello…take the hint! Recently I had one crawling up my leg while we were travelling down the interstate in Massachusetts. I had to stifle my screams lest Rick drive off the highway. Plus with the kids I have learned to suppress my disgust for them so to not encourage a phobia of their own. πŸ˜‰

3. I am afraid of the dark

Totally in the irrational, childlike sense. I don’t think I ever got over fears from childhood, and too many episodes of “Unsolved Mysteries” back in the day really did not help me out there. You remember the original – Robert Stack’s voice, the creepy music…any who…if I have to travel anywhere by myself in the dark – say, to the loo in the middle of the night – I take a deep breath, move as quickly as I can & keep my eyes shut tight as much as possible…lest I see a – dead person or ax murderer or something. Things that go bump in the night – ask my husband, I have woke him many a time to check on a noise that was just the cat vomiting. πŸ˜‰

4. I prefer to be alone.

Which may come to a surprise to you if we have only interacted in social settings. I have the traits of a person of the melancholic temperament.Β  I spend a lot of time in my head – contemplating & compartmentalizing everything…so when it comes to socializing in large groups I just don’t know how that chaos fits into my world. Many times people assume that I am depressed or upset or snobby or rude…truthfully I just spend a lot of time “out of my body” as I am so self aware. Over the years I have learned how to be an out-going creature, butΒ  it makes me feel rather drained & it takes me a long time to recover from a social event. This doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a good party, in fact I do need those as well to help keep me balanced. I really look forward to participating despite the awkward feelings I may have during/after the fact.

5. My dreams predict when something significant will happen to someone close to me.

I could add myself to that as I dreamed I was pregnant with baby girls just days before conceiving both my daughters. I dreamed a close friend was having a boy, and everyone was convinced it was a girl. My dream was right. The last prediction dream I had was two years ago – I dreamed of the death of my mother. One week later she died suddenly at the age of 54. Needless to say this experience has left me rather rattled and I have not had a prediction dream since. I think subconsciously I have turned off that filter, at least for now. The difference between a prediction dream vs. a regular dream is that it is startlingly real. I canΒ  touch, smell, feel everything – know everyone who is in it (I tend to dream about strangers a lot…characters my head seems to make up in slumber land) and I am left feeling like I have be thrust back to earth to my body as if I were in another time or place.

6. I am left handed…sort of…

I’m sure that being left handed comes to no surprise seeing how creative I am. But I am actually somewhat ambidextrous – for lack of a better descriptive term. Although I am left hand dominant for writing & using eating utensils, I tend to use my right hand for everything else: using a can opener, scissors or pliers, throwing a baseball… Still, I recognize myself as a south paw; everything creative comes out of my left hand whether it be writing or sketches for jewelry designs.

7. I sweat a lot when I am writing…

…in a creative sense – not when I am say, writing a cheque or even listing a new item in my shops. It’s happening right now! It’s like I have a hot flash when I have to think and write at the same time…I can remember the same thing happening when I used to write essays in high school! My poor little brain cells are firing so fast they are creating a lot of heat in that noggin of mine. πŸ˜‰

There you have it, Tasha – Seven Things. And yes, it was painful to come up with! I do hope it was somewhat entertaining! πŸ™‚

Artfire Collections & Etsy Treasuries

It appears that Etsy has successfully launched their new treasury format, which now allows you to tag your creation with key words so to make it searchable.

Just recently Artfire also launched their Collections and users have been creating fast & furious.

Both platforms are a wonderful way to promote & blend together different art mediums you will find on each site.Β  heavenlyflower has been featured in:

Funny how the 3 Etsy ones are all featuring my turquoise color pieces! πŸ™‚

Etsy’s Treasury East: New Feature

I got a convo from a fellow Etsian that I am featured in her curated Treasury East. This is the first time I have been included in one, therefore my first time to give it a test drive. I’ve not had the time to curate one myself as of yet, unfortunately.

Treasury East has been rather controversial with the Etsy community. With Treasury Main and Treasury West, you would have to wait for the full treasury to “open up” – when the current treasuries expire – and hope to grab one before they fill up. The treasuries fill up in seconds, and if you are the lucky one to grab one and curate, it is a fun and important marketing tool for many Etsy Users.

The difference with Treasury East, is that they never expire, and comments and the number of treasuries curated will be infinite. This left a lot of Etsy users wondering how they will become relevant regarding promotion and marketing: how will potential buyers see the treasuries and wade through the hundreds – if not thousands of treasuries?

Treasury East is still in the testing stage so these questions will hopefully be answered in the coming weeks. I do see some pros to the new format: you don’t have to wait around for one, and the never expiring element means that you can share it on social network or you blog and it will always be visible. The new format is also larger and cleaner looking. “Hotness” is gained not just by clicking and commenting as before, but gained through promoting outside Etsy, using social networking tools such as Twitter and Facebook.

I don’t know when or if I will curate a Treasury East. But I thank you, riorita for including my turquoise chip earrings! πŸ™‚

Playing Catch Up…

I am so severely behind with my blog posting. In March, my family & I ended up travelling home to Nova Scotia to attend a funeral. That wiped two weeks out of that month and therefore made me behind on my projects for my “Jewelry Sabbatical“. The 13 hour drive however, gave me a lot of time to think & refocus, and my priorities have shifted a bit. I had a brain wave for the engraving collection, and that is still in conceptual stage while I wait for some logo templates I ordered. I also had a clearer idea about which direction to take the website, so I have been working at updating the look of the site and the overall branding of heavenlyflower.com – all tasks that are severely needed & overdue – I just didn’t expect to be working on that element at all this year! Blame it on retrograde if you must, but these days I just feel motivated to work on getting projects cleaned up, completed and continuing on past goals (like the website). It’s not exactly spending all my live long day at the bench as I had planned, but I am happy with the direction things are headed so I have to go with it. For the first time in 8 years I feel like my goals & dreams are in reach. I tend to go with my gut day to day and this is no exception. Perhaps taking the pressure off this year helped my business goals come in clearer focus. Now to not self-sabotage…a topic I will leave for another post.

I will still be blogging about my new found adventures in creativity as planned however I do have a few topics revolving around the handmade market and business that I will also be writing about as it pertains to what is on my mind these days.

I am also happy to announce that I will be participating in yet another Market Mommy Blog Party next week. Stop by the blog and participate. There will be prizes from fellow mom entrepreneurs as usual. I will be giving away gift certificates! πŸ™‚

Finally: while I was organizing photos I came across this photo of my oldest trying her hand at what mommy does. πŸ™‚ I don’t want them to “hurry up and grow up” but I do welcome the days when I can share my passions with my two girls. This was taken back in October, before my creative space/playroom was finished. She was just newly two years old when this was taken.

The piece I was working on:

The finished project:

More goodies to follow…including my adventures in brass last month!

2010: My Jewelry Sabbatical

In December, I thought really long and hard about what direction to take my jewelry business for the future. Last January, I was very pregnant with DD#2 (now 10 months old) & decided to start this blog and embark on “100 Days of Creativity”.

Last year was a very critical year for me. I had taken a break from designing jewelry (let alone selling it) in 2007 in order to relocate to another province, buy a house & have DD#1. I had put together an Etsy Shop in April 2008, but never really did anything with it.Β  I was longing for a life less complicated & was concerned my love for jewelry making was adding to the consumerism mindset I was trying to shed.

Luckily after joining an Etsy Street Team and networking with others in the handmade community, I realized that my passion was truly a gift not to be ignored. I was more than satisfied with sales & interest in my business again, particularly since I was doing this all on-line while taking care of two little girls.

As December Holidays arrived, & I had time to reflect on the year, I felt strongly that now was the time to take a risk and grow my skill set. I love gemstone beads but I really want more for myself, particularly in the customizable jewelry market. There are techniques I have been longing to have the time to try out for many years.

Profits from jewelry sales in 2009 was just waiting to be spent. I decided that the best use of this money was to buy equipment & supplies and embark on one year of skill building. To me it sounded very much like a sabbatical (noun: any extended period of leave from one’s customary work, esp. for rest, to acquire new skills or training, etc. (per dictionary.com)). So, the 2010 Jewelry Sabbatical was born.

I have spent the month of January buying supplies, & cleaning up my workspace. Some of the techniques I wish to try & hopefully be successful at are: engraving via engravograph (pantograph engraver), jewelry making with resin, copper etching and patinas, wood engraving/burning, metal stamping…so far I have been playing with the engraver and am impressed with the results.

I’ve given myself a timeline month by month to which I will loosely follow in order to keep myself focused and on track, but the journey is bound to change esp. with a creative journeys! Rigidity just doesn’t work in order to have the inspiration flow…

I look forward to sharing my journey on the blog. I still will be taking custom requests and selling my jewelry, I just won’t be heavily promoting it or branding it for now. In the long run, these dreams and goals I have will help expand & streamline my business in the direction I have always wanted to take it. And much more importantly, help grow my creativity which is a pinnacle part of me, as an individual.

Stay tuned!

Fundraising Inspired: Elly’s Pageant Fund

I’ve always enjoyed donating my jewelry for silent auctions and door prizes, but it has always been a goal of mine to host fundraisers on my site.

The basic idea is, a particular piece of jewelry will be designed and listed specifically for a grassroots or community cause. A percentage of the profits would then go to the individual or group.

So when I found out Abby was looking for donations or corporate sponsorship for her 12 year old daughter’s pageant in March, I suggested we do a jewelry fundraiser. I know Abby from back in my pen palling days, and we recently connected again on Facebook. Pageants are something Elly asked to do, and it’s not a cheap hobby for this mom of four.

So that kicked my butt into action. As usual I work on impulse: having a light bulb moment and just…going for it. My website is slowly coming together, but in pieces. I don’t even have the framework to sell jewelry set up on my website yet, which is why I use Etsy & Artfire.

The first order of business, was what type of jewelry to make for Elly’s fundraiser. I decided that earrings would be a good option as I could set them at an affordable price point. I found out from Abby that Elly likes pink, and she is a big Taylor Swift fan. I had some recently designed pieces for my new custom section on Etsy that I thought would be a good fit.Β  I was not surprised as to what her favourite pair was.

I decided to set her pair at a special wholesale price to encourage sales and give her $5 per each pair sold, donating my time to the project. I also did a pendant version of the earrings:

I decided to use Artfire to host the fundraiser. Basically because they do not have listing fees, justifying the lower price, and that you do not have to sign up to use the service like you do with Etsy. Also, Artfire now has integration with Amazon Wishlists!

You can check out more on Elly’s fundraiser here:

Would you like me to host a fundraiser? Check out my fundraising section of my website, and see if my philosophy would be a good fit for you.