Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Stuck in a Rut

I've had a creative block for a while now.  At the moment, it doesn't feel like it's ever going to go away.  I wish I could figure out what has caused it.  I wish I could figure out how to make it go away.  But I sit at my bench and just STARE...

I know part of it is personal.  I want something that I can't really put my finger on.  Change.  Something to happen.  A door to open.  Maybe even one slamming shut.  Anything to jolt me out of the everyday rut that I'm in.

My children are growing up.  One is 21.  He was going to college to be an engineer, but has decided to "take some time off".  Gosh, I hope he goes back! My other one is 18.  He's a senior in high school.  He wants to be a Marine.  He plans to leave in the fall. My babies are leaving me...

So maybe part of my problem is that even though my people need me, they really don't.  They're making decisions for themselves. They're on their way out the door.  I'm in a totally new situation.  I can do whatever I'd like to do.  And I don't know what that is. This should make me happy, right?  So why do I feel like I'm in limbo?

I'm signed up to take a class.  It's a jewelry casting class.  It's intended as a beginner class, but I've cast before, so it will be a much needed refresher class for me.  I'm hoping that being around other artists will be like it was in college.  That we'll inspire each other, and my creative juices will start flowing again. 

I'm also working out every day.  I figure that if I can't accomplish anything at my bench, at least I can work on myself.  I might even try to get certified to be a cycling instructor.  Who knows?  That might be a good change.

So now I need ideas.  What can I do to get out of my rut?  Do any of you have any ideas on what might help me become inspired again?  I'd love your ideas, if you have any for me. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Self-Examination Time!

I just found this great article that has caused me to look at how I might look to other people.  Not physically!  I mean my behaviors!  I think I need to take a good look at how I react to things, and do my best to NOT mimic the behaviors mentioned in this article.  I think it might be hard to do!  The article is called: 

6 Toxic Behaviors That Push People Away: How To Recognize Them In Yourself and Change Them

 I know!  Scary, huh? You can click on the title to read the article.  Try not to take it personally!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Benefits of Relaxation

Today I'm sitting on the beach, taking some time off. It was hard to talk myself into it. There's so much to do! I don't have enough time to take time off! But at the same time, I need a break.

I've found that emptying my head actually helps fill it back up... with ideas! I know I'll come home refreshed and relaxed, ready to jump right back into it!

So don't forget to treat yourself to a break. You work hard! You deserve it!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Treading Lightly Through the Friend Zone

I’m a jeweler.  I have friends that like my jewelry. Every once in a while, I’ll have one who wants me to create something special for them. I love that my friends like my jewelry and want me to make something special for them!  I don’t, however, like to use their stones to create that special item. This is why…

When you create jewelry using stones, you always take a risk that the stone will get cracked, scratched or otherwise ruined.  Setting a stone takes pressure with metal tools.  Metal tools can damage a stone in a split second.  One slip and you’ve just scratched it.  One push just a little too hard on the bezel has just cracked the stone.  If it’s my stone, it’s my loss.  I won’t say it’s no big deal, because it usually is.  Chances are the setting was made specifically for that stone and another stone just won’t fit in it.  So now I have to find another stone and remake the setting.   But if it’s someone else’s stone, I’ve just destroyed something that a friend was attached to enough to want me to create something special with it.  Now I have to find another, and it needs to be a perfect match.  Maybe you’re not even 100% sure of what kind of stone it was, or what replacing it will cost.  What a headache!

Second, there’s pricing the item. I think that most people think that if they go to a friend to do something for them, you’re going to give them the “friend” price.  So you’re expected to cut them a deal on something that you’re already agonizing over.  Great!  Plus, they supplied the stone, so that should knock quite a bit off the price, right?  Wrong!!!  Those of us who create with our hands sometimes do a little fudging.  Sometimes we used the perceived value of our materials to recoup some of the losses we’ve made time-wise.  Most people think we can just wave our magic wand (torch) over the metal to create a beautiful piece.  In reality, we may have had problem after problem crop up, making the piece take twice as long as it should’ve.  We need to make that money up somewhere.  That’s where we hope the beautiful stone looks worth that price, or the amount of metal in a piece makes that piece worth every cent.

Finally, there’s the fact that we really do want our friend to like the piece we’ve just created for them.  What if they don’t like it?  Do they admit they don’t like it?  Or do they just suck it up and pay for it, only to stick it in a drawer, never to be seen again?  If they don’t like it and tell you they don’t like it, will that damage your friendship?  Do they want their stone pulled back out, damaging the setting and destroying the whole piece?  Do you have to buy their stone from them?  But maybe they do like what you’ve done with it.  Great!  That’s excellent news!  But they don’t like the price. Great… now what?  Cut them that deal and get mad at them and yourself for letting them talk you down?  Hold firm to your price and run the risk of them getting mad at you? 

It’s all so hard!  I love when friends see one of my pieces and just have to have it.  The price is right there, the design is already done, and they can take it or leave it.  It’s up to them, and I love it that way!  Please, buy from me, but please don’t ask me to do something with one of your stones.  It’s too much pressure!  I want everyone to be happy with my jewelry, and I certainly don’t want to lose a friend over it!  Sadly, I think maybe it's already happened.

Monday, January 14, 2013

New Year's Resolutions

Well, last year I had every intention of making, and keeping, some New Year's Resolutions.  I never wrote them down, though.  I'm beginning to think that writing them down is the key.  It makes me accountable.  So this year, I'm going to write them down.  Let's see if that doesn't help. Oh, and just for the record, I wrote the majority of this two weeks ago.  So does that make me already behind? 

Number 1- Blog more.  I had every intention of doing it this past year.  It didn't happen.  This year it will!  Hopefully. 
Number 2- Don't be ruled by fear.  I don't want to be afraid to fail.  I don't want to be afraid to succeed.  I don't want fear to rule my world.  I want to teach my kids to not be ruled by fear.  Fear is making us complacent.
Number 3- Take better care of myself.  Eat better.  Work out more.  Get a check-up.  Try to get my family to take better care of themselves, too.  We need to keep each other around for a long time!
Number 4- Find more bench time.  I love spending time at my bench, yet it's one of the last things on my "to do" list.  Why?  It keeps me sane.  My boys need me sane.  My boys WANT me sane!  I want me sane!
Number 5- Be more social.  This kind of goes along with finding more bench time, in that it keeps me sane.  I need to make more time to hang out with friends.  Or just keep up with them.  I miss them!  I hope they miss me!
Number 6- Promote myself. My business really needs some help.  It needs some attention.  I need to start making some serious money at it so I can do what I love and quit doing all the things that are not making me happy.
Number 7- Organize my world.  Oh, my gosh!  My house is a mess.  My workshop is a mess.  My bench is a mess.  The lack of organization is making it very hard to accomplish the things I want to do.
Number 8- Delegate.  I don't live in this house alone.  There are 3 other people who live here with me.  They have hands.  They have brains.  They are able bodied.  They can help!  And they should!  Their future wives are going to kick my butt for not getting them prepared now.  It's my job as a mom!
Number 9- Spend more time with my kids.  They're growing up quickly.  One already has one foot out the door.  I need to cling to them as long as possible, as much as they'll allow me to.  I hope I haven't missed my window...
Number 10- And last, but definately not least, spend more time with my husband. I plan to be with him for the rest of my life.  I want to make sure he knows that.  We need to ditch the kids and just spend time together.  They're going to be moving on before we know it, and I want to make sure my husband and I still know each other.  He is kind of a good guy!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Frustrating Arts and Crafts Market

I'm a little frustrated.  I think there are craft show promoters out there that really aren't doing their job.  The economy is terrible.  People aren't buying what they used to.  I think some promoters think they don't have to work any harder than they are used to doing. They're wrong.

Promoters need to do what they do even more than they were, especially when the economy is down.  They need to promote.  They need to advertise.  They need to talk about their show.  They need to talk about their artists.  They need to tell EVERYONE!!!

I have done a few craft shows lately that seem to think that all they need to do is proclaim they are having a craft show, gather artists, and take our money.  I don't get the feeling they think they owe us artists anything more than that.  They are WRONG!
There was one show that I do, and actually did pretty well at the previous year despite the economy, that changed the week that they did their show in 2011.  Why would they do that?  This show is in a vacation destination.  Vacationers tend to book their vacation for the same week EVERY YEAR.  So those who book their vacation JUST so they can come to this particular show were left wondering what happened to it this year. Plus, they don't even have a website for this show, so vacationers can't even check when it is. I was so bummed, and I did so badly! It was also the first year that I'd been there and we had NO bad weather.  It was BEAUTIFUL!!! But nobody came.

I don't understand why there aren't more promoters using Facebook.  Or using it more to their advantage.  I know some promoters that only list their shows on their promoter page instead of creating a page just for their show.  I think that's a huge mistake.  I think instead of making their promoter page stand out, it makes their event impossible to find by those who are actually looking for it. I believe they're shooting themselves in the foot.  I believe that having both a promoter page AND a show page DOUBLES their chance of being found.  It also makes it easier for us artists to promote it because it makes us (the vendors) feel like that show is OURS, not just the promoter's. We can post pictures and comments on the wall at will.  We can tag where we are.  We can help them do their job.  Just give us the tools, please! We DO want to help!

Don't get me wrong.  I do feel some responsibility in promoting the shows I'm in.  I try to do the best I can, and I know plenty of other artists who also help promote the shows they're in.  But the promotion is ultimately the responsibility of the promoter.  I'm hopeful that the shows I'm in this year do a KILLER job of promoting.  We could really use a profitable year!  Happy craft show season!

Monday, February 7, 2011

And the Winner Is...

Laura! What am I talking about? My contest, of course! I was giving away my Winnie's Sweetheart Pendant to the person who promoted me to their friends the most on Facebook.

Not only did Laura get 50 of her personal friends to join my site, but she also got at least 10, and I would guess a lot more than that, to "like" my Sandy Toes Jewelry Facebook fan page through her Cabbing Rough Facebook fan page.

I hope you'll stop by her Cabbing Rough Facebook fan page and "like" her! I also hope you'll stop by her Cabbing Rough Etsy Shop and take a look around! She has some beautiful cabachons!