Monday, July 30


Ok so anyone who has even thought about selling on the internet has thought about where and how to sell on the internet. It's a very powerful tool that if chosen correctly can really launch your business in the right direction.  It used to just be ebay, but now the options range from ebay to etsy, craigslist to art fire, big cartel to shopify.  All of which are great resources for us sellers, but how in the world do we choose? and just because one fits us at one point in time, when do we know it's time to move on or grow bigger?

Don't get me wrong. Etsy has been an amazing platform for me to sell in, and will continue to be as I really don't ever see myself leaving them fully.  However in the past 6 mo the business has grown so rapidly that I know it's time that I can and should be offering a way to purchase directly from my site rather than having to direct people to another source.

Here is what I see as the benefits of each of the sites I will have. Both offering me different, but beneficial things.

  • Easy to set up
  • Great for new businesses that don't drive their own traffic
  • Good way to build a customer base
  • Site is well known and marketing is minimal
  • Now has the option to pay with credit card and not require paypal
Big Cartel:
  • Shopping page can be integrated within your own site
  • Layouts can be completely customized to match your current site
  • More professional appearance
  • Low fees
Here are the reasons why both of them are not perfect, and why for me it'll be better to have both options open for the time being.

  • Minimal ways to customize your site
  • High per transaction fees
  • Relisting items is a must to stay on a current page and not get lost (there are currently over 1M jewelry items on Etsy) means incurring more fees
  • Lots of restrictions and rules about how to list items, run your shop, etc.
Big Cartel:
  • Site will have to be marketed more
  • Professional site design has a high upfront cost

As I said before, Etsy is a great platform for those that are selling as a hobby or list just a few items. It's a great source for new customers (hey most of you came to me via Etsy!)  Overtime though, when your business is strong enough to support and drive it's own traffic, the fees become a little ridiculous.


Belly buttons are just so strange to me in general. Even though there is a perfectly reasonable explanation as to why we have them, they still look like aliens to me. Kaleb's is the strangest of all!

I started noticing it when he was just a few months old.  Sometimes when I would be changing him his belly button would be in or an "innie" and sometimes it would be sticking out or an "outtie." I though for sure I was just crazy and maybe it just depended on what position his body is in.  After it went on for awhile, I finally pieced the puzzle together. His belly button is a pretty accurate gauge for how full he is! I'm not kidding...

When he wakes up first thing in the morning it's always in.  Feed him a big dinner and desert? Within minutes it's sticking out!  I thought that it would go away as he grew, but to date his built in gadget is still functioning with pretty precise measurements!

I wonder when it does go away (if ever) what it's permanent position will be?!

Monday, July 23

Stepping Out of the Cubical and into a Shed?

So as cool as a camper would be as an art studio, and as much as I want one, I think the idea is officially dead. I have been doing a lot of craigslist searching and what I have found is that I can get one for almost free, but that means it's basically rotting and leaking everywhere or I can fork out a few grand, for one that is in decent shape, but would still have to be completely gutted to work. Not to mention there's still a big question as to how I would even get it in my yard... on to the next idea.

A shed! I'll admit it's not as cool as the camper and I'm a little bummed about the lack of originality in a shed, but for a lot less I can get something brand new! Plus it has all these benefits a camper didn't:

1. It comes in pieces... no fences to removed or cranes to be rented.
2. Did I mention it would be new! New roof, new flooring, NEW, NEW, NEW
3.No gutting required.  It's already got a clean slate for me to put my stamp on.
4. Size... rather than scouring the internet for the right size camper, I can just specify how big I want my shed.
5. Light... The camper is lacking in good windows. The shed I can order several more windows to help give my space the natural light it needs to keep me sane and happy.

Plus let's be real. I can make just about any space super cute eclectic and fun with the right amount of time and skill (I'm getting really good at finding deals on Craigslist)... Already contacted the used pallet place to get a quote for some super weathered wood pallets for my shed's interior walls!

Here's to more planning and hopefully some good friends to help put it together!

Saturday, July 21


I don't know how many of you scrapbook, but as jewelry becomes my work, scrapbooking is filling it's place as my hobby (ok not quite yet, but it will be soon!)  I love finding beautiful ways to celebrate our lives, our loved ones, the things that are important to us.  It's why I do what I do.

Any who, I follow the blog of a pretty amazing professional scrapbooker, Laura Kurz. I found her because of the scrapbooking, but stayed because her posts are quick, funny, and based on her family.  Recently she found out that she lost her contract with one of the major scrabooking brands, and wrote this post about it.

She talks about how her minimalist style of scrapbooking, doesn't help sell a lot of product, but that she never did it for the sales. Instead, she did it for her family. She wanted a beautiful way to celebrate them. Reading this made me so happy. Happy for her that she has her priorities in line, and happy for me that I think I do too.

I'm so excited for my future career.  I finally feel like I'm on the path that is right for me. I'm happy to say that my future career is based out of pure love and never greed.

Love for my family, by putting them first and making time for each other.

Love for your families, by sharing my abilities I help you celebrate, cherish, and remember the ones you love.

Love for my work, by following my dreams and doing something I'm passionate about.

I think this love comes through not only in the products I offer, but also the way that I run my business and treat my customers. Although sales are necessary, I've never been here just to make a pretty penny. In fact, my goal has never been to "go big" or even make enough to hire employees, but rather just to share something I love with others while making a moderate income so I too enjoy everyday.

Friday, July 20



I am SO in love with this door! I don't really know where I got the idea, but really there isn't much that I don't want to paint gold these days.  I'm pretty sure that Dave's going to throw away all the gold paint in my house if I keep this up!

Here's what I did:

1.  The door was freshly painted white a few weeks ago when we redid the carpet so I got to skip this step, however I highly suggest it if it hasn't been done in awhile.

2. Lay out the tape.  I decided to do just 1 "zig" or "zag" depending on how you look at it. So I just divided the width in half. I used 2" wide blue tape and for ease I made my stripes that width.  On the first strip I measured 2" down from the top and then just used the corners of the top of the door to decide the angle. This worked well for me as the angle wasn't too sharp nor too strong, however you could easily adjust yours.  From there I measured 2" down from each of the sides and the middle.
*** Tip 2. TAPE THE SIDES AS WELL AS THE STRIPE. I didn't do this even though I know I'm a horrible painter, and really should have. Touch up will be required on my door!
*** Tip 3. My door is pretty narrow so with a 2" stripe I didn't have to do another "zag" on each side. However with the average size door you'll either need to do a thicker strip or create another "zag" towards the edges to make the proportions right.

3. Paint! I used Martha Stewart's Golden Pearl. I am so in love with this color. It was perfect! It took 3 coats to really get it even and thick enough.
*** Tip 4.  If you are patient enough paint 1 coat of the white first and let dry.  This will create a seal at the tape edges making the edges crisper.  I of coarse did not do this! Touch up, Touch up, Touch up for me!
*** Tip 5. Pull the tape off when it's still damp. This also helps makes the lines crisp.

OH LOVE!  The jar of paint is still over 1/2 way full... I'm eying some chairs... a desk... pretty much everything that I think I might use it for! I mean it'd be such a waste if I didn't use it! ;)

Friday Favorites

Fabulous Finds from Etsy
1. Vintage Alarm Clock
2. Bulbosa Air Plant Pod - Copper
3. Gold Zag Tray
4. Vintage Globe
5. Vintage Wooden Balls
6. Vintage Glass Bottle
7. Woodland Deer Vase
8. Wall Installation
9. Leather iPad Case

Wednesday, July 18


It's the little things in life that happen that make me smile. The little things I want to document. Some kids won't eat crust, others need it cut into triangles. This is how Kaleb eats his PB & J.

A few weeks ago I picked Kaleb up from school and he hadn't finished his PB & J so I let him eat it as his snack on the way home.  I was watching in the rearview mirror while he ate, and he was doing the strangest thing. He would squeeze the sandwich as hard as he could and then turn it and take a bite.  It had random bites all around it. So I asked him what he was doing. He said he squeezes it until jelly appears and then eats that bite!

So silly... so cute... so Kaleb! 

Tuesday, July 17


We just walked in the door a few hours ago from our 2nd annual family trip to Suncadia. When I say family trip, I don't just mean Dave, Kaleb and me.... It's the entire side of my mother's family.  She has 6 sister's and 1 brother so with everyone it's around 50 of us! We had a blast.  Although I swore I would take a ton of pictures of the adventures we had, as always I got too busy and forgot! Here are a few we snapped on the way there before all the craziness ensued!

We had a great time! Swam a ton, went on long bike rides, walked the trails, and played lots of fun games! It was a nice break after such a long few weeks.

Now to gear up for the upcoming weeks... I have 4 physical stores to fill, a big show coming up in a few weeks, brochures and banners to order, new items to test (including new charm shapes: hearts, teardrop/leaves, and ovals), and of coarse orders to keep up with!

Friday, July 13

Tuesday, July 10


I've touched base on the fact that we live in a pretty small house. Which not only means less clean up, but also less stuff.  I have fallen in love with the fact that having less places to store things causes you to really question if my purchase is of true value and worth.  While most people would find themselves needing a bigger space, I rather have found that I need less, want less, shop less! 

However, my studio space is in our house.  I've gotten pretty creative about where and how to store my work stuff, but I feel like the business has grown so much in just the past year that it's getting to be a little ridiculous.  We keep talking about remodeling the garage for a studio space for me, but I've come up with a much better idea!

Recently I've become OBSESSED with vintage campers. Mostly 60's - 70's Shasta campers. They are super small and cute! There is a whole culture of people revamping them either for road trips, or re-purposing them for something else.  I want to turn one into my very own art studio!

Because I plan on gutting almost the whole thing and that I won't need to be towing it regularly means I can get one for pretty cheap!  Plus the ability to move it in the future shall we ever leave this home of ours makes it that much better! And although I'm sure keeping keeping a trailer in your backyard could easily be an eyesore, painting the outside, planting flowers around it, and parking it on a gravel pad will just make it a super cute addition to our space!

Not only have I been researching painting the girl but also ideas for the interior. You can check out more of my findings on my Pinterest board. Although a lot of camper re-vampers stick with the original retro style when designing their camper. I think I'm going to go with my vintage, industrial chic style.  Rather than naming her "daisy" or some other cute flower name, I have started to call the mystery camper the "Dream Catcher." Although this might change once I meet her, for now I love that she'll be my very own space to follow my dreams and painting a giant dream catcher on the outside can only help keep away any bad dreams and make me reach my goals that much faster.

As far as functional pieces within the camper, with electrical in (and a few friendly electricians in my pocket!) and an option to hook up a hose for a make shift sink (I'd want it to drain into some sort of bucket that can be easily dumped rather than into a tank that needs to be pumped regularly) it already has the base for the perfect studio.  Depending on the camper I might want to add a few more windows or even a skylight to help add natural light!  There are several reasons I need hot water during the jewelry making process so the range area will be great for a vintage teapot! And I'm thinking the vintage fridge will be a fun place for my chemical storage!

For some I know this all sounds silly, but for me it would be amazing! To have and design my own space especially housed in such a creative, re-purposed way would be the ultimate dream. I have a few hurdles to jump before I can do this:

1. funds - while building a business and potentially quitting my job this next year, does the desire to have my own space outweigh the cost?
2. source camper - Craigslist every morning will now be my ritual.  Good campers go fast especially this time of year. I have found a ton that would have been perfect, but all were listed and sold about 4 weeks ago... why didn't I get this idea sooner?!
3. logistics - I have a place I want to put it in the backyard that would be great, but it has to jump two 4 foot terraces, and two 5 foot fences to get there...they are super light when empty, but I think I'll still need Superman to help with this... but when there is a will there is a way!

Wish me luck on my newest adventure!

Sunday, July 8


It's no secret. I LOVE  BIRTHDAYS!  Mostly Kaleb's in recent years, but I'm not going to lie, I usually make everyone celebrate my birthday month! I'm 28 this year, which seems young, but old all at the same time.  I feel like I have years ahead of me to do great things, but I also feel like I should be in a different place by now. I should have accomplished more. Done more. Seen more.

My friend and fellow blogger, Sarah, posted something that I thought was pretty awesome around her birthday this year.  A list of goals she had made the prior year of things to do before she turns 30, that she called 30 by 30. I thought this was just wonderful.  A great way to track your progress, keep sight of where you want to be, and a way to stay positive about your accomplishments. If you are living life day to day it's easy to feel like you haven't gotten anywhere in a year, but to revisit and to actual note what you've done over the past year can make you feel great and give you motivation for the next.

A birthday cake like this one would really top this year off! 

So I'm giving it a shot.  Here are the things I would like to accomplish over the next year:

1. BE MORE PRESENT: Over the years I have observed a lot of people. All of which had busy lives, but the ones I was most drawn to were the ones that could be present with what was happening around them.  The ones that weren't constantly checking their email or phones when they were having family time. The ones that when it was time to work, put aside paying bills and focused on their job at hand. I feel like there is a time and place for everything.  By creating a schedule or even just ensuring to stop other tasks and focus on one,  you not only accomplish more and waste less time, but your enjoyment of each task is heightened.  Multitasking can be great don't get me wrong, but switching back and forth between tasks is not only time consuming, but also energy consuming. It drains energy.

I obviously I have a lot going on, there's no hiding it.  I just hate that when I'm building a Lego ship with Kaleb, I'm thinking about orders that need to be filled.  When I'm working on orders I'm thinking about household chores that need to be done. I need and want to train my brain to be able to set aside the other and just be present.

2. TAKE TIME FOR MYSELF: Because I have so many work goals, and so much pressure to get it all accomplished in such a short amount of time I rarely make time for myself.  I'm always saying "I don't have time for stuff like that."  When I was first starting the charm shop I felt like I could push and push and push, and although I was tired there was always more I could give.  Unfortunately, I think these 90 hour work weeks have just plain worn me down. I need to learn that time for myself is really for the business too.  By taking time out to do something relaxing or just because, I leave refreshed and re-energized, allowing me to make better use of my work time.

3. GO VEGAN: Since I was a child, I always shied away from meat in general.  About 2 years ago I finally committed to the vegetarian thing (OK really pescetarian... I'll always eat responsibly caught seafood).  It was hard at first. I used to love steak, and seriously who doesn't love the way bacon tastes?  But now I couldn't ever go back. 

The more I learn about the food industry, the more I move away from all animal products and the more I move towards in organic locally farmed foods. I know it's not for everyone. I'm not here to push my beliefs on anyone, but the bottom line is it's what I feel is right, and most importantly what I feel is right for me. 

4. HAVE SHOP SUCCESS:  Although this post is to focus on changes I want to make in myself, I also have some major career goals to meet this year.  They are such a big part of my life I can't leave them off this list!

5. FIND MY BREATH:  About a year ago I started yoga as a way to be more present with myself, find some peace, and get a little exercise. Because of all that has happened in the past year I just couldn't stay committed.  I know this year is going to be just as crazy. I'm not expecting to be able to go 3 days a week, but 2 - 4 times a month would be great. Hopefully in the future it can be as big a part of my life as I'd like it to be, but for now I think this is more of an obtainable goal.


Well last weekend and all this week Dave and I worked on the house. We have been wanting to replace the carpet for a long time, but honestly have just not had the time. It was something that would have to be done during the week, and Dave's work schedule just isn't flexible enough to get a few days off for something like that.  Luckily he had off several days during the week because of the 4th.  So we used it to accomplish this long awaited project.

Last weekend in preparation for the carpet we purged.  Took everything out of every cabinet and even every box in the attic.  We sold, gave away, and threw away a ton of stuff. I cannot tell you how much I love to purge. We live in about a 900 square foot house.  Without purging unnecessary things, it gets cramped often.

Anyways, the point of all of this is that we worked all week long (including 90% of the 4th, and missed any and all fire work displays!)  After such a long week, I had to do something special for myself in honor of my birthday.  I don't know if you can tell by my Friday Favorites but I'm really into vintage industrial style and indoor plants. I'm am super obsessed with succulents and air plants which are as easy as pie to take care of.

A few things I focused on were the mantle.  I got a surprise delivery Saturday of my new mirror bunting that I've been wanting for years! Thanks again Mom! I removed a few other things and hung the bunting. It was the final touch to the mantle that I've been missing!

I have also been really wanting to make a window shelf for my plants! It was super easy to do! I ran to the local hardware store where they have pre-cut boards which happened to be the EXACT size I needed! Must be the luck of my birthday. I also had the paint out because of the carpet I was painting trim. I gave it two quick coats of white.  I screwed in a couple of hooks at each corner and right above the window and then cut chain to length! So simple!

Saturday I did quite a bit of catch up on orders, but also spent the day doing a little antique shopping for the mantle and shelf and then went to the most amazing nursery EVER! I was on the mission to get some more air plants, but I came home with a bit more! ;)  I also had to hit up the local craft store and found some other great things including spray painting some sea shells gold! LOVE!

It's been a great birthday weekend so far! Can't wait for the rest of it!

Sunday, July 1


Well the last time I posted I was pretty blue.  I was really just feeling overwhelmed with all that I feel like I have to accomplish in order to quit my day job and do jewelry full time.  Although the past 2 years of working on the business have been great and amazing progress is happening, it's still exhausting.  I'm not trying to be negative or pessimistic, but I starting this series to be able to share the real ups and downs about starting a creative business. The end of last week just happened to be a low point.

However, I've got some great ways to get myself motivated again.  Everyone is different, but when relying on your creativity and therefore creative mood as an income, you have to know how to steer it in the right direction.

1.  SLEEP: After a night like Thursday I was drained on Friday.  Instead of pushing through, I took a nap.  I love naps. I really believe that America should institute the siesta.

2.  HAVE FUN: I took some time off. I am so lucky to have such a great support group.  My friends saw I was down, and although I refused at first, they made me go out for dinner.  I relaxed, had fun, and most of all LAUGED... a lot!

3.  DON'T FORCE THE CREATIVITY: Instead of filling orders, making standard items for shows and shops, or pre-making metal for future orders, I made stuff that I've been wanting and thinking about for weeks but never had time to.  I made stuff that re-inspired me.  Here are the items I made this weekend:

4. SEE I'M NOT ALONE: It's easy to feel isolated when I'm the only one working towards this goal.  One of the things I have found so inspiring are the stories from other Etsy sellers that have gone before me and found there way through it all and came out successful. Etsy does a great blog called "Quit Your Day Job" in which sellers that have made it recount their stories.  It's actually the inspiration for this blog series. 

5.  MAKE A SALE: When I first started selling on Etsy I tracked every view, like and interest for each item.  I thrived off knowing that people were looking at my stuff. When I made a sale I would literally do a dance.  That excitement still holds true.  Not only does each sale get me closer to quitting my job, but ultimately my dream of sharing my pieces with the world.  So I decided to start my 4th of July sale a little early.  The sales this weekend lifted my spirits and made me confident in my ability to reach my goal.

6. ORGANIZE: My creative brain moves fast. Faster than my hands or body.  Which means that when I'm done with one thing, I'm moving on to the next without any thought of clean up.  Slow times are great for me to re-organize, clean, and purge. I LOVE TO PURGE! I actually think I like to get rid of things more than I like to buy new things.... weird I know.  

Anyways, this week we are installing new carpet in the house.  Which basically means I have to move my entire house outside and  then back again.  I knew this would be a great opportunity to go through all of our stuff and just get rid of what we don't need. So I not only got to purge jewelry stuff but also all that unwanted clutter around the house.  

With all of these things and some much needed time with my husband, things are looking up! I'm feeling refreshed, re-energized, and above all happy. I'm excited for the week to come!