Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Circle of change

Life is a circle of change.

The seasons spiral on and on- they may seem the same but everything is always changing. 
"Change is the only constant."  This is a quote from my father, who has taught me a lot about life.  He is a very wise man.  My day job for the last 19 years has been working with him at the business he started in 1975.  Digital Systems Sales, Inc. is a manufacturer's representative firm that specializes in selling computer-related products to manufacturers.  Over the years we have seen many changes, from the companies we sell for, to the products we handle and even the people we deal with on a day to day basis.  He has told me many times "change is the only constant in this business" and it is very true.  I think it applies to life in general as well. 
It certainly is true in the fashion world.  Have  you ever noticed how every few decades some styles come back into fashion?  But the designers try to give them a new unique spin to fit the times we are living in.   We change them to make them current.  For instance, right now supposedly the 70's fashions are coming back into style but I don't think you'll see people walking around looking like Marcia from The Brady Bunch, or a character from The Village People.    This spring and summer you will see a lot of long and flowy skirts with a gypsy or bohemian feel.  Wide-leg jeans and pants with a more relaxed vibe may once more be popular (a great thing for those of us with an aversion to skinny-legged jeans and jeggings). Also, bright and colorful accessories like jewelry, handbags, and even shoes such as chunky platform sandals will add a confident and fun sense of nostalgia to today's fashion looks. 
Go to fullsize image
A fun look back at some fashions you may have seen during the 70's.
Go to fullsize image

Are you looking to add a modern twist to your 70's inspired fashions this summer?  How about my Hot Topic bracelet and necklace, a bold and modern design with a bright pop of color.  Add it to some funky platform sandals, a plain black tee and some wide-leg jeans and you'll be looking fresh and in style in the coming months.  Take a look:
SoftWalk - San Pedro
Fun chunky platform sandals, SoftWalk by San Pedro available at http://www.zappos.com/ for $109.00

'77 Hi-Rise Flare Jean
'77 Hi-Rise Flare Jean from American Eagle Outfitters available at http://www.ae.com/ for $49.50

Twisted pleat T by Gap available at http://www.gap.com/ for $29.95

Hot Topic necklace by Grey Girl Designs available at www.etsy.com/shop/greygirldesigns for $95.00

Hot Topic bracelet by Grey Girl Designs available at www.etsy.com/shop/greygirldesigns for $42.00

We may not always welcome change in life, it can sometimes be scary and unsettling, but I think you'll find that especially in the fashion world a little change can be a very good thing.  


Monday, April 18, 2011

Show momma some love!

Hello! Mother's day will be here before you know it, May 8, and I am currently running a sale in my shop to help you show momma some love! 

That's right, when you check out you will see the option to add a coupon code, if you enter LOVEMOM here then you will get 10% off anything in my store.  My jewelry is unique, one of a kind and handmade with lots of love...perfect for a momma or any woman in your life.

While I'm talking shop I'd like to thank the following Etsy shops for featuring me in their recent treasury lists:

Sunsan  for the treasury Green featuring my Bella Giornata necklace.

We had a team treasury day last Friday and there were a lot of really gorgeous treasuries created to support the members of our team, "It's a Madcap Life".  Here was my treasury list for the treasury day challenge, Its not all black & white...  I hope you'll take a peek!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Storms A Comin'

I thought I'd write a little about my creative process.  Sometimes I begin a design with nothing more than a basic color scheme.  I will pick a color I haven't made anything with for a while and just start there.  I organize my beads by color families mainly and I can just look through the beads in that family and find a bead that catches my eye and start there. 
Sometimes I have a particular unusual stone and when I look at it, I know that is the one that is speaking to me on that day and I will start there.  Some of my stones are so outstanding I can hardly wait to design a necklace featuring them.  Just looking at them and feeling them seems to spark the creativity in my mind.

Today I'm going to tell you about starting a different way though.  There are times when I am inspired by something around me.  The other night a storm was heading our way.  The air was heavy and I felt energy in the atmosphere.  My animals were all super hyper and I know the coming storm was affecting all of us.  I kept thinking, storms a' comin', and it hit me that I had to create something with that name, and try to use the natural energy around me to channel into this new creation.  I began thinking of what beads and stones I had that would convey my storm story.  I wanted this new design to be dark and mysterious, a bit smoky or cloudy feeling, with sparks of energy throughout.  So, I dug out any beads I thought may convey this and began.  I found the perfect focal point, a dark black agate round with a tiny streak of white running through it like a bolt of lightning.  I decided to make this hang down from some shining silver chain and began to pull together other beads to complement it.  This is what my bead design board looked like as I began...
I decided this necklace would be asymmetrical, unpredictable and a little wild like thunderstorms can be.  So I continued to play around with different designs until I had something I liked the looks of.  Using smoky quartz and dark sable pearls like storm clouds full of rain, flashes of sterling silver like lightning, and black onyx, jet and blackstone I assembled my perfect storm.  After I had a basic design laid out, I started to string it on my wire to see how the stones lay and to make sure it all worked together as a whole.  Here is the beginning of my stringing  it all together:
As I string the beads on, I have to pay attention to how they fit together.  For instance, the sterling silver tubes I used are very tiny and you can't use them right next to beads with large holes or they can fall inside of the larger beads and ruin the design.  Little details like this are very important to the overall outcome of the finished jewelry design.  I have to make sure the weight of various beads is distributed just right throughout so it will hang correctly.  Lots of things to keep in mind, not just the creative process but the technical side of things too.  Once I have the main body of my necklace completed I have to decide how long it will be, what size and style of clasp to use and how to end the whole design.   I was very happy with the outcome of my necklace.  I think it conveys the story I was trying to tell, like an artist's painting or an author's book.  I really feel like each piece of jewelry I create is a work of art.  I hope other people see it that way too and enjoy wearing it as much as I enjoyed making it.
Here is my finished Storms A Comin' necklace...
The funny thing is, it is now storming again as I write this.  A perfect evening to write about a coming storm!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Etsian topics...

I utilize Etsy for my online jewelry store.  What is Etsy?  According to Etsy's website,
"Our mission is to enable people to make a living making things, and to reconnect makers with buyers.
Our vision is to build a new economy and present a better choice:
Buy, Sell, and Live Handmade."
What a great mission statement!  I love it because I love making things, and it gets to a point where you have enough of your own stuff you've made and need to send a little of it out into the world.  It's a great place to connect with other creative and artistic people that also like to make things, and those who like to search for vintage treasures that they save from the corners of people's basements and antique stores.  Some of the sellers on Etsy are dedicated to taking stuff that's no longer useful or needed and making something brand new and cool out of it.  Etsy is kind of a universe in itself.  You can get lost in Etsy and spend hours there. You can join a team and participate in discussions in forums.  You can just spend time window shopping and discovering new artist's work and reading about them and what inspires them.  The Etsy forums and blogs are full of useful and very helpful info for people that are just getting started, those that may need to work on improving their stores and even those that are just looking for a good story. 

One of my favorite things about Etsy is treasuries.  Treasuries are little member curated lists of things they find for sale on Etsy.  Once you get into making treasuries it can be almost addictive.  Treasuries are ranked according to "hotness" based on how many views they get, comments and clicks to the items listed on the treasury.  Really great treasuries can even be selected to make it on the front page of Etsy.  This is a coveted spot because it gives the listed items a whole audience of viewers, a great opportunity for your shop to be discovered by someone who loves what you are selling.  I have made several treasuries since joining Etsy. Some of them were team challenges from the team I belong to, It's a Madcap Life.  Our team captain, A'esha, comes up with great themes and challenges her team to create a treasury based on it.  Our team is also doing all team treasuries, treasury lists where every item listed is from a member of our team.  One of my favorite treasuries I've created so far was one of these.  Here's a link if you want to check it out and see what I am talking about:  Earth and Sky  
I've been fortunate enough to have some of my jewelry featured in other team members' treasuries.  I really appreciate it when I am included because it is one more chance for people to see my creations.  If the treasury is popular I have an opportunity for my jewelry design to make it to Etsy's front page. Here are the treasuries I've been included in so far. 
 Three Times Charmed necklace:  Spring Rhapsody treasury by sunsan
 Botswana Agate Swirl earrings:  project: APRIL treasury by sunsan
 Modern Love Affair earrings:  Subtle love treasury by elsahats
 Botswana Agate Swirl earrings:  Spring DESIRES...April WISHES... treasury by sunsan
 Mon Amie necklace and earrings set:  No hard feelings...Enjoy Summer is coming...have a coffee treasury by piscesandfishes
 Sugalite Candy earrings:  MOMENTS... treasury by sunsan

A great big THANK YOU to these Etsy sellers for featuring my jewelry in their treasuries.  If you click on the treasury names you can view them, and if you click on the maker's name you can visit their Etsy stores.  They all have lovely stores and are worth a visit.

This is my Etsy store:  greygirldesigns   I would love it if you would take a look and let me know what you think about my store, my jewelry or whatever!  Comments are much appreciated.

My Sugalite Candy earrings.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Doing what I love...

For years people (family and friends mostly) have told me I need to sell my jewelry creations online.  I always had an excuse why I wasn't doing it.
1.  I spend enough time making jewelry for family and friends that I couldn't possibly keep up with an online store.
Well, life threw a little kink in that...I won't go into details here but I found myself facing a lot more free time and having less help to find homes for my jewelry.  I came to realize that I do have the time for it if I make the time.  It has to be high on my list of priorities. Also, I can't rely on other people to do what I should be doing for myself.  I have to be my own best salesman.  And, as my own best salesman I have to promote myself in ways I am comfortable with. Since I enjoy making jewelry and spending time online, I am keeping both of us happy!
2.  I don't want to sell online without a business license.
This one is just common sense.  Of course I shouldn't be operating any kind of business without going through the proper legal channels first.  I was just unwilling to spend the time researching what I needed to do to make everything legit.  Once I started the process though, I started to become excited about my new little business.  Once I had my business licenses and sales tax ID number I knew I had come a long way and I was going to follow through and try to make a success of it.
3.  I had a case of "lack of motivation and overall laziness". 
When you are a beaded jewelry maker, you develop a bit of an addiction to beads.  In order to buy more beads to feed your addiction you need money...if I can sell a bit of jewelry here or there then before you know it...I have more money for more beads.  So there is a motivating factor.  As far as the laziness goes, well I think we all have moments of laziness in our lives.   I just needed to get over it and move on and try to make something of myself. 

Life has a way of sending challenges our way.  Brick walls, obstacle courses, ties that bind us...it's up to us to take up the challenge and find a way to make it through, over or around.  To find a way to cut ourselves free from the excuses that are holding  us back. 

Points for me to remember as I continue on this journey:
   1.  Stay motivated!! 
   2.  Don't lose focus.
   3.  Keep promoting myself.

Sure, I haven't sold much yet or come even close to breaking even.  But, I am just starting off.  Now, the potential exists because of the steps I have taken and the work that has been done.  The online world is a vast sea of artistic expression and I am just another fish in that sea.  It is up to me to keep trying to get my name out there, let others see my work and judge it for themselves.  I think if I can remain positive and keep working hard I may even get to where I want to be someday.  In the meantime, thank you to all of you that have encouraged me along the way.  I do appreciate it and I was listening, really I was.  And now I realize I am enjoying every minute of doing what I love!