Sunday, June 24, 2012

Getting Involved

One of my goals this year was to "get more involved" in groups and events that will a) provide resources to help me hone my craft, b) provide exposure for my business, and most importantly c) make some new friends.  I'm happy to say that I am meeting that goal.  I've met so many great people through online forums and I'm participating in some fun events.  I'm very excited about two upcoming events and wanted to share with you all. 

Bead Soup Blog Party
The first is Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Blog Party (BSBP).  Lori has been running this event for several years now and it is the creme de la creme of blog hops.  The 6th BSBP is just kicking off and I'm excited to be on the roster.  I've been assigned my swap partner, Dawn Pierro of Turtle Moon Designs.  We will send each other a "soup" of beads and then make something with the soup we receive.  On the appointed day, we will post our creations and then hop from blog to blog looking at all the beautiful creations. 

Silent Auction DonationThe second event I'm participating in is a silent auction.  I've donated a necklace and $20 gift certificate to the Leilani Farm Sanctuary Silent Auction to be held on July 3rd. 

You may wonder how I came to be involved in an animal sanctuary in Hawaii.  The story goes back almost 20 years when a delightful young woman, Sarah Kenefick (now Sarah Taylor), worked for me.  Sarah has since gone on to marry and build a career as a motivational speaker, published writer (Vegan in 30 Days), and educator.  I feel a little bit like a proud mom every time I read about one of her successes.  Sarah has always been an animal lover so it was no surprise when I read that she was involved in the Leilani Farm Sanctuary.  She recently posted on Facebook asking for donations for the silent auction; I was more than happy to support this endeavor and my old friend. 

I'm happy to be meeting my goal but even more so because of these great events and the people involved.  Oh, and as far as new friends?  I can't begin to name all the new friends I've made this year.  Keri, Carolyn, Diana, Linda, Lori, the list goes on and on and I treasure every one of them.

You can visit the following web sites for more information about the events:

Bead Soup Blog Party
Leilani Farm Sanctuary
Sarah Kenefick Taylor

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Simple is Better

Calico Bean Casserole
On Memorial Day, I was making a casserole to take to a cookout, and it struck me – simple is better.  The casserole I was making was an old recipe from my grandmother.  I cherish all of my recipes from her because I adored her and boy could she cook.  A lot of recipes today call for a variety of crazy ingredients and spices, but grandma’s recipes were simple and easy to make, and often taste much better than the fancy recipes.  This particular recipe was a calico bean casserole with different types of beans, hamburger, bacon, onion, ketchup and brown sugar.  That’s it!  Mix it all together, throw it in the oven and voila – a great dish for the cookout.

My revelation got me thinking about my jewelry making and how simple is often better there too.  Sometimes, I try to make my designs more elaborate than they need to be.  Why?  Because I figure if someone is going to pay the price for a handmade piece of jewelry, they should get something elaborate.   Don’t get me wrong – the elaborate pieces are very pretty and I’m told they are very reasonably priced.  However, I find that it is the simpler pieces that sell better.  I’m guessing that simpler is more versatile with different wardrobes and different occasions. 

One of my best sellers was this simple pair of disc earrings.  I textured and domed the discs, applied alcohol inks, sealed them, and hung them on the ear wires.   Nothing elaborate but they sold like hotcakes.
Textured Disc Earrings

I realized that it is not the elaborate components but the design that people are looking for.  The lesson I take from this is:  1) Use simple, high-quality materials, 2) Don’t over-think the design, and 3) Put a little of my personality into the piece and people will love it.

What about you?  Do you like simple or elaborate jewelry?  If you are a designer, which sell best for you?