Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wordfull Wednesday

"The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials."
~ Chinese proverb

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Gifts

Christmas gift suggestions:
To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.

Oren Arnold

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Quote of the Spirit of Santa

Santa Claus is anyone who loves another and seeks to make them happy; who gives himself by thought or word or deed in every gift that he bestows; who shares his joys with those who are sad; whose hand is never closed against the needy; whose arm is ever outstretched to aid the week; whose sympathy is quick and genuine in time of trouble; who recognizes a comrade and brother in every man he meets upon life's common road; who lives his life throughout the entire year in the Christmas spirit.

Edwin Osgood Grover, Vicki Howard's The Book of Santa Claus

Vanilla Extinction

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sales and Positive Thinking

Things have been quiet on the blogfront.  I have been busy with holiday orders.  I could not possibly be more grateful for that.  You know there is so much written and talked abut in regards to positive thinking and I think I've read all the books and seen all the movies.  I have felt within the very core of my being that I should continue on doing my craft despite what looked to be an utter failure in regards to sales.  I had many people tell me to quit, but thankfully even more telling me to persevere.  

If I honestly felt that I would fail I would not have been able to muster the strength to continue. I spent 40+ hours a day trying market my shop, create pieces, take photos, tag my items properly so they could be found, build a website, run social media sites (twitter, fb), write a blog, run a team, guest write, enter contests...PHEW! And that's not even the half of it. All while actually paying out of my own pocket to do it all. But something has spurned me on to continue. Something in the core of my being because I love what I do and that is always a sign to keep going. 
Sometime in October I believe sales started pouring in. I know it's because of the holidays, but everyone starts somewhere and once you get the momentum going why not keep it going? There are successful jewelry sellers who sell on Etsy 7+ items a day on a regular day why not me? I have had sales every single day! Sometimes it's just one, sometimes as many as 4 or 5. The window attendant at the USPS now says to me everyday "see you tomorrow!" I think I will bake cookies for them because I now feel like I know these people.

I hope in a year I can come back and tell you all that sales DID continue and I am now able to live off my business full time. I hope to be able to say that I can stand as an example that positive thinking really DOES work. It certainly has so far. You just have to have faith and be willing to put in the hard work. And be grateful for every sale. Even if you are exhausted and you cannot muster a sliver more of energy make sure you bless that package when you send it on it's way. You can't just think the thought you have to put it into action. You cannot simply sit on the couch and wonder why you are failing. I cried many tears, considered giving up more times than I can count. Even had some full on nervous breakdowns (near). And when it got really bad and I was really considering quitting I would make a sale. And the best part? Look at the items I would sell: angels. Now if that isn't a sign, I don't know what is! Just listen to your little voice inside. Let it guide you. Your store may just be a jumping off point and you may end up doing something totally different than where you started. Here's to many sales and happy holidays to all my readers!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Rising Cost of Silver

Why do I offer plate AND sterling? As a buyer not everyone pays attention to commodities. Sterling silver is standing toe to toe with gold and the prices have risen MUCH faster than that of gold. This past year has seen silver prices upwards of $40 troy an ounce. For the non lingo speaking here are some stats:

By 2010 it fluctuated between $17.77 and $30.60

So we jewelry makers are paying a high cost for this beautiful metal. Some buyers are finding themselves with sticker shock. The good news, is you're silver is worth a mint!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Seaglass Pieces

Here is my newest seaglass design.  I try very hard to create pieces that don't cause me to have to drill the seaglass.  I have quite a few pieces awaiting new homes but I know I will have to drill them and that has kept me from creating.  For some it is inevitable as they are oddly shaped or small.  The only other option is silver smithing which I have a great interest in but that will come in time when I am able to dedicate the money and time needed for a new craft.  

This piece is extremely large.  I created a spiral bezel to hold the glass and then tightly wrapped the cap portion.  This is going to be a prototype so to speak as I need to be sure that the piece will hold properly.  I know that I could wrap additional wire around the piece but I don't want to take away from the beauty of the glass.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Gift of Bellina

I was thinking today how happy it makes me when someone buys one of my pieces.  I always imagine them receiving the item and hoping they are delighted.  I will frequently get feedback from the customer that I will read over and over.  I will find myself grinning ear to ear.  It is a very special feeling to know that something you created has provided happiness for another. 

Many people would view jewelry as just a material object.  And in some cases it is.  Many items are mass produced, put together by machines or hastily whipped together in sweat shops.  My methods are vastly different.  I infuse each item with love.  I believe that items hold energy and when I joyfully create a piece for another I believe that energy is carried within the item.  While I am creating I imagine the item being worn and admired.  I try to never create an item when I am in a bad mood.  If I am getting frustrated because of a difficult piece I put it down and return to it later.

This apatite bracelet is the perfect example.  I choose only supplies I am drawn to.  Be it for their color or texture or just something I may feel when I pick up the item and inspect it.  I never pick an item based on how quickly I can put together the end product.  For some it is just a form of income.  For me it is an art.  This apetite is exquisite.  I admire the sparkle inside the gems, the beautiful blue greens, aquas and teals.  The soft smooth surface.  

I photographed the nuggets themselves to show the would be buyer the beauty of the stone by itself.


Each stone is inspected for chips or significant cracks or large imperfections.  Any that contain these are put off to the side not to be included in any of my pieces.  I create the piece examining how each stone fits next to the other.  Then once complete I begin photographing.  I spend a long time admiring the piece, getting the right light, and showing all facets of the piece.

Since I photograph on a macro setting many times I will see "flaws" that cannot be seen with the naked eye.  I have more times than I can count gone back and completely recreated a piece.

Once a customer has bought the piece it is carefully packaged so it will not be damaged in the mail.  Depending on the fragility that may mean bubble wrap inside the gift box or colored or printed tissue paper.  They are boxed up and completed with ribbon, business cards and more bubble wrap. 

This is my process of creating and you can't buy that in a big box shop!  Thank you for giving the gift of Bellina.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Discover-Mr. Frank

Every so often I come across a shop in my search on Etsy and I gasp in shock that they are seemingly "undiscovered".  I came across one of these today and decided I needed to start to share these shops with the world.  Etsy can be very difficult to navigate in terms of getting seen.  I come across some absolutely exquisite craftsmanship and am simply astonished at the low hearts and sales clearly due to the fact that are not being seen by enough people.

Today I came across Mr. Frank. He is a decorative decoy carver. And his work is absolutely breathtaking. The intricacy that goes into this type of hand carving is truly to be admired.  Look at the attention to detail, it's amazing. And only 26 hearts! Please show Mr. Frank some Etsy love!

Please take the time to visit Mr. Frank at his website or at his etsy shop

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

It's So Squeee!

I see so many items that make me squeal with delight.  I love cutesy stuff so I decided to start sharing some of my finds.  So on "it's so squeee" you will find items that evoke sounds of awwww, sooo cute, adorable, or some soo cutesy that you can only squeal like a tiny piglet.  Here are a few for this week, all about bunnies.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Winter Wonderland

I certainly miss the snow when the holidays roll around.  It just doesn't feel right when it is in the 80's and full sun.  But even in the desert the same winter cold's still hit.  I currently have the worst sore throat ever!  OK maybe not ever, but it definitely is in competition with strep.  Here are some sparkly winter treasuries I have been working on.

Forest Fog 8X10 Fine Art Pho...

Yes Dear - Male Cardinal in ...

Vintage silverware Let it s...

SNOW WHITE Fudge. Approx 1/2...

HYDRANGEA - Mineral Eyeshado...

Christmas Acorn Ornaments, 1...

Winter of 2009 Red Barn in a...

Snowflake Lip Tint - Tinted ...

Fine Art Photography Snow Ar...

Mens Garnet Ring Rustic Ster...

Christmas Tree in Snow Fine ...

Holly Berry Earrings - Bronz...

SNOWCAKES Bubble Bath Bar

Winter White Felted Acorns s...

Red Berry - Glass Globe Orna...

Baby Bear Hat In Cream Pearl...

Winter Photography, Tree, Sn...

A Winter in Paris Ring. Snow...

Snow Ball Cake Lollipop

tiny star post earrings in i...

snowflake garland bunting

Chandelier Crystal Earrings ...

CHRISTMAS holiday artwork by...

Star Snowflakes Christmas Tr...

Glittery Christmas Star Urch...

Silver Sunrise 8x10 Photogra...

White Cowl - Neckwarmer Spar...

Crocheted off white scarf lo...

Goats Milk & Honey Lotion Mi...

White Simple Pendant, Wire W...

Vintage Ornament Winter Whit...

Maison Wall Shelf .Hand Pai...

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