Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Crafty Conception - Part 1

I’ve always been crafty – able to work with my hands, take some basic materials and make something pretty out of them. And I’ve used that ability in many settings, but particularly in making a home. Those years when “country style” was popular – well, they were MADE for me! And I’m one of those people who can pretty much just look at something and figure out how it’s made. The one exception was making baskets – I took a class to learn how to make them because, while I knew weaving, I didn’t know much about using reed or finishing a basket. If it involves fabric, I can usually figure it out in minutes and I think I have a natural eye for balance and color – I know that I have memory for color (which has come in handy on more than one occasion!).

A few years ago, I bought a new outfit that was very pretty, but the color was a complete deviation from the rest of my wardrobe. Now, I don’t really wear a lot of jewelry but this outfit was dressy and I knew I would want earrings to go with it (at least). I browsed several costume jewelry shops but found nothing that stood out. I went to visit my daughter, who had recently been to a jewelry making party/class – she showed me a couple basic techniques – and we were off to the craft store! I picked up a couple basic tools and a few jewelry supplies and we headed back to her house where I made my first necklace. I knew about “lead crystal” but I hadn’t heard of Swarovski – but I’d found some Swarovski crystals that looked like they might go with my outfit. They were the Padparadscha color and I mixed them with white pearls – it was a stunning match! And I was hooked!

Because of the travel involved in our ministry (and for a long list of other reasons) I homeschooled our 2 youngest children – over 15 years. For those who are unfamiliar with homeschooling, I can only say that it is a huge commitment of time for the teaching parent. When our youngest daughter graduated from high school, I felt a little at loose ends. I suddenly found myself with a lot of time on my hands. Because we are missionaries, and have never been fully supported, I began looking at a job to help financially. But because we also move so often, my options were very limited – employers don’t usually like to hire someone who is moving in a few months. And I didn’t want a job that would interfere with our ministry and the commitments I have there (these are my first priority). I’ve done home-based businesses and considered them, but they are most successful when you develop repeat customers and some require maintaining stock – neither of which suited our circumstances. I needed to do something with flexibility and mobility but requiring only a small space.

I’d gotten a lot of positive comments from the ladies at church about my jewelry – and they seemed impressed that I could make my own. Then a friend, who’s daughter was getting married, was complaining about how difficult it had been to find nice jewelry that was reasonably priced. Timing is everything! I began to consider a jewelry business – and B-Jeweled By Susan was born! More later....