Wednesday, September 26

j4jcharms grand opening!

WOOOO HOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I've been working hard on getting the shops set up within my own website!  I'm  proud to announce that the charm shop is finally up and running and ready for you.  I'll still be offering products through Etsy, but this is a great way for people to shop within my site rather than being redirected.

I thought I'd take a minute to explain how the site works as it's a little different from my Etsy site

First off, you can still shop as you do on Etsy by choosing "Pre-Designed Items" in the Categories section on the side bar.  These items are set using standard chains and set amount of charms per listing.  For example a 2 Name Cluster Necklace will automatically come with a standard chain, two 12 mm charms, a metal and a bead charm. You'll still be able to choose custom printing instead of standard fonts, but these are slightly less customizable than the "build your own" style of the rest of the site.


STEP 1: Using the "Chains and Other Jewelry Bases" Category in the side column pick what chain or base you'd like.  These pictures show you what or how you can use the items, but they are for the BASE ONLY and no charms come with these particular items. This allows you to add or remove what you want on your own rather than waiting for me to set you up a custom listing. (although this is always still an option if you prefer!) 

This is also where you'll pick if you want the linked style verses the cluster or dangle style. This option is listed within the options before you add the item to your cart.

 STEP 2: After you've added your base to your cart  you are now ready to pick which charms you want.  First pick the size you want and then each listing is separated by color. This way you can see what pictures correspond to what color name on the color options chart. I know a lot of you have questions about which charms are what color. This separation is going to help us tremendously!

I also have the Custom Printed Items (ie. Handwriting, Silhouette, or Footprints) separated into their own category OR you can go under the size charm you want, click on your color, and then choose custom printing from the options before you add it to your cart (as shown in picture above)  The system I am using automatically calculates the upgrade fee!!!!! YEAH!!! This is going to save so much confusion for customers!

STEP 3: Add any special elements you want including metal charms, stamped hearts and/or beads. Under each listing there are different metals to choose from (if applicable) This will make it easy for you to mix silver, copper and brass to create a beautiful  look!

STEP 4: Once you're done designing click "checkout" in the top right column.  This is where it will ask you for your country to adjust shipping. If you have any coupon codes put them in here and click "update"

STEP 5:  Click "Check Out" this will take you to Paypal automatically and ask you to log in. Once you get all set there is a "Note to Seller" spot in Paypal. This is where you'll be adding any notes about what to print etc. This is very important as it's the only place that will allow the details to be printed on the invoice I use to create your piece. By inputting the details there it not only helps expedite orders, but also ensures accuracy. I cannot tell you how long it takes to track down our conversation via one of my 4 email addresses, Facebook, Twitter or even Etsy convos. Plus if we've had a conversation post the one I find when searching in which we change part of the design it can cause a serious mix up.



*** lastly, if you are ordering more than one piece at a time I am currently asking that you place separate orders to ensure all items are kept separate and less confusing when processing.  I'll be returning any additional shipping fees that may apply in these cases.

Monday, September 24

kiwi crate

Kaleb is always somplaining about how all the boxes that come from the mailman are for my jewelry business, and that nothing ever comes for him!  I've been trying to remedy this by starting up a few penpals with some friends, but he really loves it when something big comes. 

My mom was also apparently working on this, as we came home to a little green shoe box left by the mailman addressed to Kaleb Jones.  It was from a little company called Kiwi Crate. What we found inside was pretty magical.  A pre-cut, already set up art project with everything necessary to make a few stuffed fruit and an apron. 

Kaleb immediately wanted to start it as he LOVES art projects.  It took us maybe an hour and a half with Kaleb doing most of the work and me assisting. He had such a blast.  It was so fun to have something to do together without having the stress of finding projects, getting supplies and setting it all up. 

The best part is, Kiwi Crates are monthly subscriptions! I cannot wait to see what comes in next month's kit!

Thanks again Grandma, this was an awesome idea!

Sunday, September 16

Thursday, September 13

Custom Sterling Charms

Well I never know when it's the "right" time to announce new products.  Sometimes it seems too early and ends up meaning my customers have to wait a little longer until all the fine details are hammered out. Sometimes I wish I would have told you sooner because your excitement inspires me and gets me even more motivated. The bottom line is, with this one I'm way too excited not to share it!

This is something I have been wanting to do for awhile, but just recently finally came up with a feasible way to do it. It involves turning your child's handwriting, footprints or silhouette into a stamp and then pressing it into silver clay that when fired becomes pure sterling silver. Pretty awesome right?

I have so many ideas not only for ways to wear them but also different styles of charms. For example, the top left corner has a charm with the largest silhouette. In this one the edges are uncut leaving them looking more like a monogram stamped in a wax seal setting. Plus I want to toy with offering copper and antique brass instead of sterling (I can't help it. I love to mix metals!). And on, and on, and on...

I still have a few kinks to work out, sizing, pricing, plus testing the aforementioned items.  But seriously aren't you excited?

P.S.  If you aren't excited yet, you will be after I tell you that you get to keep the stamp too!  Yes that's right your own custom stamp of your child's handwriting... scrapbook lovers beware this could be pretty amazing!

Monday, September 10


Well it's been a little while since I have done an update just for updates sake. As you can tell I've been super busy... (same old story!)  I have a ton to tell you, but where to start?

I was lucky enough to have the majority of the summer off. Kaleb's cousins came and visited and then with the transition to the new school Kaleb has been out for over 2 months! This is the first time in his whole life that he has had such an extended period of time out of school. He had a blast! It was so nice to get to bond with him and spend some quality time together.

With that though, the summer for my jewelry has just not gone quite as planned.  It's amazing to me how fast the days go when you have "nothing" to do! Last Mother's Day rush put me at a 2 - 3 week turnaround time on custom orders UGH!!!!  I thought for sure it would take me less than a month to get that back down, but the orders have kept up pace (YEAH!) and I haven't had any more time to devote to them.  It's very frustrating for me and I'm sure for those of you waiting on orders.  Being the sole owner and employee of the business means I have to wear a lot of hats. It's always hard to make sure you're spreading your time evenly around all aspects. This means that even though I hate being at 2-3 weeks I realistically still need to be devoting time to the new shops, new products, keeping people excited and interested, ordering, planning, accounting, and much much more. I'm learning that every aspect of this business is requiring lots of balance! Balance has been a tough thing for me to learn!

Although I'm feeling frustrated now, I'm very hopeful for the next few months.  I am so blessed to have such an amazing supportive family.  My parents have given me the opportunity to be off a majority of the time and work solely on my jewelry.  This is the absolutely most amazing gift that anyone could give someone... time. I'm so thankful to have time to put into the business and realize my dreams.  I'm so very, very lucky.

With all this support, and so many eyes on me to succeed I do feel a lot of pressure to make this work.  A year ago I decided this is what I wanted to do. Six months ago it became clear that there was a possibility it could work.  Three months ago it seemed like there was no way I could fail if I kept working at it, but now it's a reality. I have one year to make it work. I really don't have any back up plans, it's now or never.  It's scary.

At this point I have plenty of stuff to fill in my extra time with! I'm still in the process of listing my shops on my own website (see links above "Shop J4JCharms" "Shop Jonesing for Jewelry" "Shop J4JVintage") These now take you to the shop within my site instead of to Etsy. Although Etsy has been a great options for me, and will continue to bring in customers, I have a big enough following now that I think my own site is in order. These are huge undertakings for all of the shops.  I thought I'd need help with this and even posted on Facebook to family and friends about hiring someone part time to help list.  With all the extra time off from my day job, estimating how much work I can get done during a "normal" week is something I'm still getting used to. Actually, I haven't had a "normal" week yet, so I'm still  unsure how much I'll need help.  At this point I'm still just staying up late, working hard, and trying to get as much stuff done as possible all the time!

On top of that I have the J4JVintage shop to get up and running, a show coming, a new shop to get up and running, I'm developing the handwriting/silhouettes/footprints in sterling charms rather than set in the bezel settings, plus realistically Christmas is COMING SOON! I've realized that although I don't like being so busy like this all the time that no matter how much time I have off, I'm just one of those people that fills every second with something then get frustrated with how busy and stressed out I am all the time.  This is something I want to work on, but fear that I shall procrastinate on it again..... Maybe after Christmas time!

Saturday, September 8


Yesterday I picked up some old items from a local shop.  She had found my old display from my "first attempt" at the charm jewelry.  For those of you that don't remember, the charm  jewelry started just about 2 years ago now in the regular shop. It consisted of 3 listings, 6 color options, 3 font options, and a handful of bead/metal charms. For the number of products I had listed,  I had a great response, and knew that I had to develop the idea more.

I had an idea in my head about what the charm shop would look like, what it would carry, and what kind of following it would have, but I could have never imagined it would have come so far in such a short amount of time.  Not only are there 100's of option to choose from, a ton more colors, so many ways to wear them, but I've also added the additional level of customization with being able to use your child's own handwriting, silhouettes, or foot/hand prints.

Plus the jewelry itself has come a long way. I've learned as a metalsmith, but also sourced better products for you.  On the left above is what the jewelry looked like 2 years ago.  It's hard to tell in the picture, but I was shocked yesterday when I picked it up.  What I am offering now far exceeds the quality in previous years.  Here's what's changed:

The paper is better.  I'm using high, archival quality paper which is smooth. Prior the texture of the paper took away from the printing.

They are now almost 100% waterproof.  I've played with lots of different products,  but what you don't see in the pictures is that they are really  now waterproof.  Over the past summer I've swam, showered and even washed in the laundry my charm jewelry... they are still intact and maybe even a little shinier!  No I still don't recommend you doing this all the time a the sealant could wear down since we aren't reapplying it over and over again, but it's nice to know that when accidents like this happen  you don't have to worry about losing such a great piece!

The glass I have changed to over the past 2 years is just so much better quality.  It's clearer, crisper and more precise in size.  What you can't see very well in the picture is that before some of the glass pieces were irregular shaped or bubbled on the side causing the metal to be mishapped in the final product. 

When comparing the two side by side I can tell that my skills are better. I'm offering something that's joints are soldered tight and finished well. The pieces are top quality and ensure that they last a lifetime!  Plus with the help of a few new tools the metal is prettier. The oxidized look is smoother and super shiny. The prior finish is matte and less striking.  Plus I'm now able to offer the "bright silver" finish for those who like it which I couldn't before.

I cannot wait to see where the jewelry takes me in the next 2 years. Improving is something I love to do! Not only offering more options, but a better product.

Wednesday, September 5

1st Day of School

I cannot believe what happened this morning. I dropped Kaleb off at elementary school.....




... even just typing that makes me tear up. I cannot believe how big he is. I vividly remember the day he was born, the day he first rolled over, the day he first say "Mommy." None of that feels far away enough to say that I have a child in pre-K.

This whole experience has really come a year earlier for us, as we moved him to this amazing elementary school in pre-K to ensure him a spot for his next year.  I sort of feel like by doing this, I shorted myself out of a year of him being a baby.  Logically there isn't really a difference between sending him to pre-K at his old school verses his new school. Yet emotionally it is night and day for me. I had to take him back to school shopping, he has to bring a big boy backpack, he has a real cafeteria that serves hot lunch, he doesn't need me to walk him in anymore.  Where in the world did the past 4 1/2 years go?

I tried to prepare myself over the past few weeks for what I would have to do today. I wanted to be strong for him and make sure that he felt comfortable in his new environment.  I am proud to say that I made it through this morning without falling apart, but even as I type this I feel like if someone eyes me the wrong way I'll burst into tears! Proud, scared, excited... are all running through my mind right now.

As I walked away from this school this morning I noticed a tiny little house for sale across the street that has the perfect view of the main entrance and playground, and I promise you, as crazy as it is, I seriously thought about trying to buy it. It's way to small, it's in horrible shape, we're not buying a house any time soon, but what it does have is a window that I can look out of to make sure that he's OK during the day.  They could list the 800 sq ft house for $1,000,000.00 and I'd still want to buy it.

Luckly these first few days are only 1/2 days. I know he's having a great time in his new class, but I don't know that I could make it a full day today without him!

Tuesday, September 4

Aimee's Wedding Jewelry

One of my good friends Aimee is getting married!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm so happy and excited for her! I'm also so honored to have been asked to make her bridesmaid's jewelry!  Aimee's goal was that each girl feel comfortable with their attire and so each girl got to pick their own dress and have input in the jewelry too!

After we got all of their inpute we met up and talked about dress color (teal shown in the Amy's dress and the background color of the picture sets) as well as flower and other wedding colors. The wedding is at the end of September and has a fall color scheme. The teal will be paired with cranberry colors, burnt orange, green and possibly a little pink! It's going to be beautiful I can't wait!

Here's a sneak peek at each girls dress along with what we created for them. The carnelian along with blue flash of the labradorite is going to be stunning with their teal dress color. Each girl's style as well as dress choice was taken into consideration when designing their pieces. So each girl had something that they would hopefully not just enjoy at the wedding, but for a long time to come!

Amy wanted something really chunky and was the first to suggest these beautiful stone choices! Her dress top is already pretty detailed so we made her a stunning bracelet!

Celeste really likes glass pendants, and although we decided to move into the stones for this wedding set, I tried to give her a large pendant that resembles a glass pieces.  Her pendant is also hung from a ring to elongate it. This will not only pair well with her halter top, but also ensures that the clasp doesn't slide down in front on the big day! Lastly, her carnelian beads only go about 4" up on both side making the back chain fit well with the halter.

Dionna had specifically requested a Celtic knot for her piece.  In this I hand forged a sweet Celtic knot out of thick sterling silver wire.  I hung it on a medium weight rolo chain that has the same carnelian and lab beads as the other girls. There are just a few intermittently spaced on the chain keeping it simple like her sweet dress.

Jenn's necklace and dress are also very simple and sweet so in her case I made a carnelian pendant to mix it up a bit.  It's much smaller than those labradorite stones so I dressed it up with a little thicker dotted wire setting.  It's also hung on a rolo chain that has sets of 3 labradorite stones going up the sides.

Saturday, September 1

Cannon Beach 2012

Cannon Beach is our little family tradition every year. It started when Dave and I honeymooned there 7 years ago.  It's a small quaint town little tourist town on the Oregon Coast. It's slow pace attracts easy going visitors who stroll around town, visiting candy shops, watching plays, and drinking good beer!

This year we invited Dave's parents and grandmother to join us there. They drove all the way from southern Colorado to come! They didn't get there until the second day, so after we got our tent and camp all set up we headed straight to the beach! It was in the 70's that day so Kaleb was thrilled!

It was the first time he had ever been to the beach (all the previous years we had celebrated our anniversary with a lone trip!)  He loved it! With just a few simple sand toys he was entertained for hours.

He also found a daddy orangutan. He has a mommy and baby he had got at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo a few years back when visiting Dave's family. He loves them and carries them everywhere. We had been on the hunt for a daddy to add to the family, and he was in luck this time around! He named him "Bruce" after the candy shop where we bought him.

I've lived in the Northwest my entire life, and I still am surprised when it goes from 70 one day to monsooning cold, cold rain the next!  We attempted to stay as dry as possible the second day, but as much as Dave and I love to camp, we were both wishing for a hotel room by the end of the night! 

Of coarse with our luck that was the day Dave's family arrived. I'm pretty sure they thought we were crazy for asking them to come there when there wasn't much to do in the rain!

Luckily by the next morning it was pretty dry. In the morning we got some much needed beach time.  Dave's grandma, mom and I took a long stroll down to Haystack rock, Cannon Beach's claim to fame!  It's the largest intertidal rock in the world! 

Kaleb, Dave, and Grandpa spent the time making sand castles, chasing each other through the waves and enjoying the sun.

Our last day there we drove the 45 minutes south to Tillamook, OR.  For those of you who are fortunate enough to get tillamook cheese or ice cream where you are will understand how awesome it is to visit the place where it's made. There is a little self guided tour and you get to look down on the packaging facility as the cheese gets all wrapped up and sent out! 

My favorite is the store at the end. It has flavors you can't get anywhere else! I got smoked vintage white and black pepper! Dave ate habenero!  Needless to say my vegan diet went out the window that day!

All in all we had a great trip! I cannot wait to go again next year!