Friday, September 13, 2013

Freaky Friday

Yep ... it's Friday the 13th!  I'm not inclined to be superstitious .. so I almost didn't even notice.  But just for fun, let's make today's coupon code especially for Friday the 13th.  How about using the code "FreakyFriday" to get 13% off your order of $13 or more??!!  Have fun with that!!

And the offer still stands on Facebook ... if you "share" the post I make about today's special, you'll get an entry into a drawing for a free pair of earrings.  But remember that you have to be following my page in order for me to see your "share".

If you make a purchase, you'll get 3 entries into the earring drawing .. which will be Sunday. 

This is my last coupon day .. so don't miss out!!

Have an awesome weekend ... and a great Freaky Friday!!!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Thriller Thursday

For those of you on Etsy, how do you come up with the names for your coupon codes?  I personally like alliteration.  MondayMania.  WednesdayWhimsy.  But coming up with something for Thursday kinda stumped me.  ThankfulThursday?  Well, I'm thankful every day ... so maybe not.  ThoughtfulThursday?  Once again, it's good to be thoughtful every day.  I wanted to communicate excitement ... enthusiasm.  A trip to the dictionary (yes, I actually looked through the "th" section) .. and voila!!  Thrill!  An excellent word!  Because I also have a sense of rhythm, I went with ThrillerThursday.

Today's special in my Etsy shop?  Get 10% off your purchase of $25 or more!!  Use coupon code ThrillerThursday.  Go to: 

Like me on Facebook and share today's post, you'll be entered a drawing (Sunday) for a free pair of earrings!  If you place an order, you'll get 3 entries!  
Tomorrow will be my last coupon day ... so don't delay!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Today's Special

When I was growing up, I lived near a very small town.  My mom frequently shopped at the little A&P grocery store in town.  They often ran a series of daily specials ... usually something fresh.  Maybe it was overstocked or maybe they just wanted to know what their shoppers were most interested in .. I was too young to analyze these things.  But it was always called "Today's Special".

Well, Gentle Adornments is running a series of specials this week ... and "Today's Special" is free domestic (US) shipping with a purchase of $20 or more!  Use coupon code "WednesdayWhimsy"!

I'll be posting this on my Facebook page ... if you "Share" that post, you'll be entered in a drawing for a pair of earrings.
In order for me to see the "share", you have to "like" my page.
The drawing will be Sunday and orders placed this week will all be shipped on Monday. 

So go!  Shop!  These special offers won't last long!!  Check it out at:

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Special Special Week!

I don't have a craft show this Saturday ... and since I don't want to sit around and get bored *cough* I think I'll offer some special deals!
Starting today at noon (US eastern time), I'll post a new coupon code for my Etsy shop.  Today's special will be 5% off everything in my shop and the code is:

Are you following me on Facebook?  I'll post the code there too.  And just to sweeten the pot, I'll be doing a giveaway this week!  "Share" my code post and get 1 entry into a drawing for a new pair of earrings ... but you have to be friends with me in order for me to see the "share".  So stop on by my Facebook page:
Share the code, then hop over to my Etsy shop and do a little browsing:

One entry per person per day for sharing.  I'll post a new coupon code every day until Friday ... so don't miss out!  

If you'd like even more chances to win a pair of earrings, I'll be giving 3 entries to everyone who makes a purchase!  The drawing will be Sunday and all orders placed this week will ship on Monday. 

So y'all have an awesome week, ya hear!!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Here I go again...

Well, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth ... but some days I've felt like it.  It's been a hectic summer for me ... much more so than I'd expected.  And even today, I'm between shows and things are crazy.  I just wanted to pop in and tell you that I'll be around more in the coming weeks.  I'll try to bring everyone up to speed on some of my adventures and I've got a couple specials in the works for my Etsy shop (so if you're looking for a great deal, stay tuned!).  My garden is kicking in, I'm trying some new recipes and I have a little epic news to share (but I'm going to make you wait for it!!).  So help yourself to a tall glass of ice cold tea and meet me on the front porch, where we'll set a spell and catch up!

Friday, April 19, 2013

A little Friday decadence ...

We will be gathering with friends this evening ... and I'm bringing dessert!  I have a reputation ... and it can be tough to live up to sometimes ... but I think this will do the trick.  
My daughter found this recipe about 7 years ago and I don't know where (so can't give appropriate credit).  If you even vaguely like chocolate and peanut butter, you're gonna love this!

Peanut Butter Brownie Trifle

1 pkg. (1lb 5.5oz) chocolate brownie mix
egg, water and oil per package instructions

1 pkg. (5.1oz) vanilla instant pudding mix
3 cups milk
½ cup creamy peanut butter
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed & divided

12 oz. peanut butter cups, crumbled
6-8 mini peanut butter cups, whole, for garnish if desired

In mixing bowl, combine brownie mix, egg, water and oil according to package directions.  Pour into a 9x13 baking pan and bake as directed.  Cool, then cut into 1" cubes.
Combine pudding mix with milk and beat with mixer at low speed until thickened, about 2 minutes.  
Add peanut butter and vanilla and beat until smooth.  
Gently fold in 1 cup whipped topping.

To assemble dessert: in a large trifle bowl (or other bowl) layer half of the cut brownies, followed by half of the cut candies and half of the peanut butter pudding mixture.  Repeat layers. 

This is how it looks after layering brownie and candy, before the peanut pudding mixture is added.

Top with remaining whipped topping and garnish with peanut butter cups.  Chill in refrigerator for several hours or overnight.   Serves 12.
I put the Cool Whip into a small plastic sandwich bag, then made a small clip on the corner; pressed topping out into small mounds and topped with peanut butter cups.


Friday, April 12, 2013

Moving Forward

On Wednesday, I shared some of the discouragement I've had with my business.  I have to tell ya ... I got some great encouragement!  And I do feel a bit more positive today.

So I started working on my next stack of craft show applications.  Most of these shows will be in the fall and the jurying processes are a little lighter.  I've also participated in some of the shows so I have no reason to believe I won't make the cut for this year.  It's amazing how much easier it is to move forward when you can move with confidence!

For this year, I'm committed to my business.  I set some goals a couple months ago and I'll be doubling down on my efforts to focus and act on them.  And I'm going to try to think "outside the box" ... I can be pretty creative at times ... need to channel some of that creativity toward HOW I do business, not burn it all on my craft.  I like making jewelry .. but I love, Love, LOVE making jewelry for weddings ... so maybe I need to direct some future marketing efforts that way.  The road I expected to travel this year had some road blocks ... but sometimes the most interesting things happen when you detour!

I appreciated all the kind words this week ... thank you, my friends!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Down but not out ....

Life has been a bit hectic these past couple weeks ... but I’m home for a while with no travel plans.  It may be a good time to think.

I’ve been discouraged lately with my business.   Last year, we moved to Wisconsin but it was too late to apply for some of the craft shows I most wanted to participate in.  So I’ve been making those applications this year ... we’ll just say that the results have not met my expectations.  My online sales have never been stellar and they’re showing no signs of improvement. 

So now what?

I have a crafting friend.  She and I are opposites in many ways, but despite our differences, I admire her greatly.  She is a full time crafter, making a living from her work.  She’s single and I know things get tough for her sometimes but she’s supporting herself with her home business.  What is the secret to her success?  What is she doing differently?  Is it just the type of product she makes?  Or is it something else?

I grew up on a farm and in the late 60's, my father came to a crossroads of decision.  He had been farming for nearly 20 years and was very good at it – he was successful.  But farming was changing and the decision he needed to make was either to get “big” or get out.  We had just over 300 acres of land – getting big meant that he needed to purchase more ... maybe as much as a 1000 acres and there would be major capital investments in new and bigger machinery.  He would also need to hire help .... and that would be difficult because all our summer labor help was fighting in Vietnam.  My dad was presented with another kind of opportunity ... so he took it, and got out of farming. 

At this point, I feel a bit like I’m at that same kind of crossroads – I either need to get big or get out.  If I get big, it will mean going from a part-time schedule to a full-time one.  I think I have the self-discipline for that – I homeschooled my kids for 15 years and know how to stick to a schedule.  I’ll need to figure out ways to be more efficient – because I need to do more, but without asking my husband (who has been very supportive and helpful) to take on more responsibility (he's a huge help at shows!!).  It will mean some capital investments in a better camera and better displays.  But going big does not guarantee success.  There is risk.  And unlike my father, I do not have another opportunity waiting for me. 
I love making jewelry.  I’m committed to several craft shows this year and have a few more applications to complete...and I will.  Perhaps I need to be looking in other directions to market my craft – maybe this closing door means there is an open window someplace.   I’m a little down but I’m not out yet.

And maybe one of these days real soon, I’ll get one of those acceptance letters from a show I’m really hoping to get in to.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Monday Mania here's the fine print for Monday Mania!
Get 25% off your special order!!

*Go to my Etsy shop (
(Choose any design with a girl's name (Amanda, Francesca, Olivia, etc),    regardless of the color shown

*Place the item in your cart
*In the notes to seller, state that you want the item in Clear
*In the coupon box, use coupon code "MondayMania"
*Pay for your item

It's as easy as that!!  
There's no limit on the number of Clear items you can order at this discount.
Your order will be shipped within 3 business days.  I'll drop you an email when it's shipped so you know when to expect it to arrive.
Please use discount only for items in Clear color -- the birthstone for April.

You only have until midnight tonight (EDT) ... so don't put this off!!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Be Back Soon ....

I'm not around much this week ... blessed to be spending time with family for their spring breaks.  My grandchildren, who are normally 1200 miles apart, are all in town together and Grammy gets to see them all everyday.  So I'm enjoying every moment of snuggles, giggles, smooches and hugs ... and I'll be back next week.  Until then, I hope your week is as awesome as mine!!!

Friday, March 15, 2013

A Word (or Two) to the Wise

In business, when it's your name over the door, it doesn't mean you get to work half as much ... it means you get to work twice as much.

Choose your priorities wisely.

Most spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important. – Stephen Covey
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. 

Make a plan.  Execute the plan.  Be flexible enough to change the plan when necessary.

An ounce of application is worth a ton of abstraction. – Booker T. Washington   

If you work just for money, you’ll never make it, but if you love what you’re doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours. – Ray Kroc

Starting a business is hard work.  Maintaining a business is hard work.  If you're lazy, you'll find out if bankruptcy is hard work.

If you don't have a target, you can be sure you'll never hit it.

Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy. – Norman Schwarzkopf

The golden rule for every business man is this: “Put yourself in your customer’s place. – Orison Swett Marden

Leadership is doing what is right when no one is watching. – George Van Valkenburg

Success in business requires training and discipline and hard work. 

Yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games. – Babe Ruth  

To think creatively, we must be able to look afresh at what we normally take for granted. – George Kneller

In all realms of life it takes courage to stretch your limits, express your power, and fulfill your potential. – Suze Orman

Look well to this day. Yesterday is but a dream and tomorrow is only a vision. But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well therefore to this day. – Francis Gray

In business, I’ve discovered that my purpose is to do my best to my utmost ability every day. That’s my standard. I learned early in my life that I had high standards. – Donald Trump

Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right! – Henry Ford

To win without risk is to triumph without glory. – Pierre Corneille

Statistics suggest that when customers complain, business owners and managers ought to get excited about it. The complaining customer represents a huge opportunity for more business. – Zig Ziglar

Success is hard .. but failure is harder.      

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

My Irish Roots

Sunday we (at least we in America) will celebrate St Patricks Day – everyone will be Irish for the day!  Several years ago, I had the opportunity to do some research into my family roots and found a few Irish threads in my personal tapestry.

The vast majority of our Irish ancestors emigrated to America during the great Irish Potato Famine of the mid-1800s and most were Catholic.  My ancestors were neither.  They came much earlier ... in one case the family came in 1657 ... and all were Protestant.   My more recent migrants came from Ballymena, County Antrim in 1738.  Men from these family lines fought in the American Revolution and were among many families who became the foundation for our country.  My 4th great-grandmother’s brother was a lawyer in New York state and was an active abolitionist who helped to create the NY routes of the Underground Railroad. 

When we see the Irish portrayed in movies and tv, we most often see warm, friendly and spirited people who normally possess natural gifts of conversation, humor and art.   They are as ethereal as Celtic pipes but with strong sensible roots.  They are fighters who stand up for their beliefs and courageous in the face of daunting odds.  When I read the biographical information about my own ancestors, I see many of these traits, for it took these traits to pioneer a new land.

So on Sunday, I will celebrate my Irish heritage.  Not quite like others – I won’t be drinking green beer or reveling in a green party hat.  But I will enjoy the quiet memory of those who came before and left a heritage of strength, courage and integrity.  As it happens, it will be my Sunday to play piano at church, and in their honor, I think I’ll play this Irish hymn, which characterizes their lives:

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Monday Mania -- in Aquamarine!!

It’s Monday Mania!  Aquamarine is the color of the month ..the birthstone for March ..and have I got a deal for you!  Get 25% off any aquamarine jewelry you order!  

This is how it works:  
Choose any style from my Etsy shop (look for the girl’s names for styles available in aquamarine)
Place the item in your cart (regardless of the color shown in the listing)
Write “aquamarine” in the notes section
Use coupon code MondayMania when you check out


It’s that simple!  This is a one day only special so make your selection quickly!  All items will be made to order and should be ready to ship by Thursday.  This offer is good until noon on Tuesday (eastern time in the US) and only available on aquamarine colored jewelry ... so don’t delay!  Oh, and if you’d like ball posts or leverbacks instead of French wires, please go to the Special Services section of my shop and add the desired alteration to your cart.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Business planning, part 4

Well, now that you know I’ve been lazy (Jan 14)
And I’ve told you about some resources I’ve found helpful (Jan 28)
And I’ve explained how I implemented a reasonable household schedule (Feb 12)
Let’s talk about how I’m applying all this to my business planning.

To some degree, I’ve been “playing” at my jewelry business.   I’m not sure whether it’s been a profitable hobby or an extremely part time venture but I’m feeling the need to take it to the next level.  I’ve been depending pretty much solely on craft shows for my sales but it’s time to step it up and go beyond the shows.  Making a plan will be an important part of that effort.

I started by analyzing my business – marketing, practices, activities.  What am I doing right?  What needs improvement?  What tasks need to be done regularly?  Then I set a few goals.  Some goals are very long term, some are more immediate.  But they’re goals (if you don’t have anything to shoot for, you’ll never hit the mark).  My 5 goals for 2013 are:
Improve my online sales
Improve my offline sales
Expand my product offerings
Improve my show displays
Streamline my business record keeping

I considered a customer service goal, but that is an area that is currently satisfactory – need to stay on top of it of course, but it doesn’t require any major changes right now.  And by the way – this analysis has taken place over a couple months and has included discussions with several other people for outside (and maybe more objective) input.  

For each of my goals, I have listed 2-4 strategies.  A strategy is defined as “a plan designed to achieve a particular long term aim” – in this case, broad ideas for achieving my goals.  Each strategy is broken down into specific tasks intended to help implement the strategy (eating an elephant one bite at a time).   So, I have a goal – a purpose to achieve; a strategy – a plan to help achieve my goal; and tasks – the specific activities to carry out the plan.  Example:

Goal:    Expand my product offerings
    Strategy:   research trends in styles and colors
        Task:  talk to beautician about wedding hairstyles
        Task:  read the Pantone color forecast for 2013
        Task:  get the new color swatches from the bridal shop
    Strategy:   learn new techniques
        Task:  take a class in wire working
        Task:  purchase a tutorial on making ear cuffs
        Task:  purchase tools and supplies needed
        Task:  practice techniques to gain proficiency

Now that I have a set of goals and the specific tasks needed to achieve them, I can use this information when planning my days, weeks and months.  I can be more productive because I’m not shifting aimlessly and when I have completed a task, I enjoy a sense of accomplishment.  And while I certainly hope that these efforts will result in greater sales, I can be confident that I’m utilizing a well thought out plan, not wasting precious time on meaningless tasks. 

I’m going to have to be flexible about this at times and prepared to make changes when I see the need.  After all, if I’m successful at increasing my online sales, I’m going to have more product to make, more to ship, more packing to do, more materials ordering to do ... well, you get the idea.  Some of my goals may change ..or at least change in priority.  

I'm adding a goals form that I created -- and hopefully it can be downloaded by you!  You can save it as a jpg file by right clicking on it with your mouse and selecting "Save Image As" from the drop down list. OR to save as a pdf file, click on the Goals Planner title link which will take you to Scribd where you can download it - Scribd is free to join.

   Goals Planner by  

I grew up on a farm and enjoy gardening this is the perfect analogy for me.  A good business is like a plant – it’s a growing, living, changing thing.  The seed is off to a good start and the roots are in good rich soil.  I have a plan in place to nurture it at this stage of growth but like a plant, it may need different care as it matures.  With a little watering, a little feeding, a little weeding and some tender loving care, it will produce an abundance in time.  As it grows, I’ll be keeping an eye on it ... and looking forward to that harvest!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Introductions Please!!

Well, I've been gone for a few days.  Last week on Wednesday evening after work, my husband and I headed out to our son's .. his wife was going to have labor induced.  We got most of the miles under our belts when we learned that she needed some pre-induction medications and she wouldn't be getting pitocyn until the next (Thursday) morning.  We were exhausted and pulled in to a motel for the night.  Good thing ... our next few days were long and tough.  Our sweet DIL spent hours attempting labor.  At one point, it hadn't taken so they quit and let her eat, then began again.  It looked more promising the second time around as she got dilated to 5 and was having hard labor pains every 3 minutes ... but it ceased to progress beyond that and late Friday afternoon, the decision was made to do a C-section. 

Andrew was born at 6:55 on Friday evening and came in at a petite 8 pounds, 13 oz and 22" long.  Everything seemed to be pretty much ok -- just a little fluid in the lungs, typical of C-section babies and normally clears up in a short time.  We all (5 grandmas and grandpas and an aunt were waiting) got to snuggle him for a few minutes, then we all headed out for a good night's sleep, leaving the new Daddy and Mama to enjoy their little guy.  

Saturday morning we sauntered in to the hospital -- and found that Andrew was having irregular breathing and he had been moved to the NeoNatal ICU of the Children's Hospital next door.  The 2 buildings are joined and we were able to go to see him.  It was frightening to see his tiny body all wired up with IV, feeding tube and monitors, but it was a great comfort to know that he was in one of the best Children's Hospitals in the nation and was getting the best care.  Andrew progressed slowly over the next few days, his breathing becoming more regular.  He hadn't been able to eat at first for fear that he would choke, but he gradually began eating more and more.  

Yesterday, Andrew went home.  His Mama and Daddy are delighted and relieved to have him home with them!

These past days have been a real challenge in patience.  Waiting, waiting, waiting.  Waiting for labor to happen.  Waiting for delivery.  Waiting for breathing.  Waiting for eating.  All things are in God's hands and God's time ... which is not always MY time!  I want to "fix" things ... NOW!  and make everyone better.  But life doesn't always work that way.  It's been a real reminder that, as much as I sometimes like to be in control, things aren't always IN my control.  
So let me introduce you ....
This is my husband with Andrew.

My husband and I have returned home.  I get to see Andrew again in a few weeks ... can hardly wait!!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Business Planning Part 3

So far, I’ve confessed my laziness.  (see post for Jan 14)
And I’ve shared a couple resources that I’ve found helpful. (see post for Jan 28)

Now what?

I’ll start with my home plan because it will lay the foundation for business planning.  My goal:  I wanted a cleaning schedule that was easy to manage, kept everything reasonably clean but didn’t overwhelm my life.  I made a list of every room in my house, then made a list of EVERY cleaning activity necessary for each room.  Yes, I included washing windows, cleaning curtains, even washing walls....but don’t panic yet!  I then assigned a frequency to each task.  Some tasks, like doing dishes, are daily tasks.  Some, like washing walls, are done once a year.  Everything else falls somewhere in between.  Oh ..and remember .. you are NOT Martha Stewart!  It doesn’t have to be perfect all the time.  But you do want to keep the common areas clean enough so if your Mom drops in unannounced, you won’t be embarrassed by the size of the dust bunnies!

Once I had my list of tasks done, I looked at the rhythms of our lifestyle.  Our weekends tend to be busier with social and church activities (and these days, craft shows) so I avoided adding any cleaning tasks to Saturdays or Sundays.  And because they are social, I want the house to look decent, so I made sure that the cleaning tasks involving the common areas of the house were added to Fridays.  Make sense?  I intentionally planned that my kitchen,  dining room, living room and bathroom would be clean and ready for those weekend social events.  Tasks needing to be done 3 times per week kind of naturally fell into Mondays - Wednesdays - Fridays while tasks needing to be done 2 times per week fell into Tuesdays and Fridays.  Thursdays ended up being “light” days for me – and became the perfect place to do some of those less frequent tasks like washing windows.  I ended up doing most of my laundry on Thursdays – so most of our clothes would be clean and ready for anything that came up on the weekend.

The beauty of this plan is that once you’ve laid out your schedule and you implement it, you don’t even have to THINK about when tasks need to be done.  We lived for 6 years in a big, old Victorian house – 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, a massive living room, 3 kids (2 homeschooled) and assorted neighbor kids.  I could do most of my household tasks on Mondays through Thursdays (except laundry) in about an hour per day.  Fridays took about 2 hours – but the whole house was ready for anything the weekend threw at us. 

My point is that before I developed a cleaning plan, I would look around the house and feel overwhelmed at all I thought had to be done.  Before I laid it all out in black and white, then prioritized, I would see EVERYTHING as a task needing immediate attention.  Once there was a basic plan in place, I was free to do only what was actually necessary, being confident that everything would be done in it’s time.  Having a plan did not constrict me freed me. 

So what does all this mean for developing my business plans?  I’ll get down to some business nitty gritty in a couple weeks.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Naming the Babies

When I first began my business, I realized early on that my designs were reproducible ...after all, I started because of a wedding.  I also figured out that I needed a way to identify each style so orders could be taken and multiples made.  Pretty easy ... each design needs a name.  But what names to use?  Lots of options were considered and I needed to make allowance that the number of design styles would expand and change over time.   With several groups of designs, there was a fair amount to consider.  I wanted a group of names that would communicate elegance and grace – a name like “Bubblegum Jellopops “ wasn’t going to cut it.

My main line of jewelry styles use crystals with either white or cream pearls.  I decided to use it to honor special women (and girls) in my life.   The names are in alphabetical order and almost every name in my “Fantasy Girls” group represents someone who I have loved or admired.  It was hard to come up with names for a couple of the letters so I looked through baby books to see what names meant and chose accordingly.  For the most part, the names from the early part of the alphabet are the small styles and they get progressively longer as we get further down the letters.  And as time has passed, and I’ve gone far beyond 26 styles of earrings, I’ve added second (and sometimes even third) names for the letters.  My business started by making earrings so I have lots of those designs ...but when I started making necklaces, I had a new problem with naming.  While I was in the process of figuring out what to do about those names, I happened to watch a classic movie with the main character being royalty.  It occurred to me that the royal titles seemed a natural next step in extending my Girls line.  Yes ... we have a few typical titles like Duchess or Contessa or Empress ...but we have (or will eventually have) some unique names.  Bantiarna is an Irish Baroness and Grevinna is a Swedish countess. 

"In The Mood" Earrings
My second largest jewelry line uses a variety of pearl colors with crystals to match.  Some designs can cross over from the Girls ... but some styles are unique to this line.  You may already know I’m a fan of movies from the 1930's and 40's, but I also love the music!  So this line is called “Big Band Baubles” and the designs are named for the titles of some great songs from that era!  I started with some of my very favorites from Glenn Miller then moved on to Cole Porter standards and songs done by Frank Sinatra.  “In the Mood” is one of my best sellers!

Right from the beginning, I’ve also made jewelry using Semi-precious stones.  A lot of people impart mystical qualities to various stones, but I’m not of that neighborhood what to name them.  I did want these names to be very distinct from my other design names.  We had occasion to spend several weeks on a working vacation in Florida and I encountered a couple unusual (but very pretty sounding) names - like “Jacaranda” and “Lantana” (both flowers).   As a very northern girl, I found tropical words intriguing ...and the idea for naming the stones was born.  This line is a bit different because each stone family has it’s own name, and then each design has it’s own name.  “Bling” is the same style in every stone.  Many stone families are represented by names resembling their colors.  For instance, Snow Jade, a translucent white stone, is named “Lantana” which is a tropical white flower.  The Jacaranda tree bears blue flowers so was the perfect name for Blue Chalcedony.  Not all names are exceptionally tropical – Banana Fofana seemed like a fun name for Yellow Aragonite and Pirates Cove works well for Black Onyx. 

I have 2 other lines, both with fewer styles.  Bracelets are all named for classic movie actresses – Garland, Taylor, Hepburn, Monroe.  And I have a line of mixed colors based on seasons and holidays called “Seasons Dreams”.  “Autumn Dreams” is a beautiful fall blend of browns, gold, olive and Indian red.  “Summer Dreams” are beachy colors of capri, aqua, light smoked topaz (sandy colored) and white pearls.  In honor of St Patricks Day, “Irish Dreams” features crystals of emerald and erinite mixed with white pearls.  Each of the combinations of the Seasons Dreams line has a miniature called Sweet Dreams.  And I’ve made allowances to eventually offer earrings, bracelets and anklets using each of the Dreams combinations.

There are ideas tumbling around my head for a couple more combinations – new lines that I’ll develop someday.  And they already have names set aside for them.  I love what I’m doing now but my creativity is not limited to Swarovski crystals and pearls – so I actually have another Etsy shop so the name is “reserved” – something more fitting for an entirely different kind of style.  No plans to launch any new shop this year – Gentle Adornments is keeping me busy enough – that and the fixer-upper house we’re working on!  But maybe when the house is settled?.....

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Monday Madness ... strikes again!!

It’s Monday Madness!  Amethyst is the color of the month ..the birthstone for February ..and have I got a deal for you!  Get 25% off any amethyst jewelry you order!  This is how it works:  Choose any style from my Etsy shop (look for the girl’s names for styles available in amethyst)
Place the item in your cart (regardless of the color shown in the listing)
Write “amethyst” in the notes section
Use coupon code  MondayMadness  when you check out

It’s that simple!  

This is a one day only special so make your selection quickly!  All items will be made to order and should be ready to ship by Wednesday.  This offer is good until midnight (eastern time in the US) and only available on amethyst colored jewelry ... so don’t delay!  Oh, and if you’d like ball posts or leverbacks instead of French wires, please go to the Special Services section of my shop and add the desired alteration to your cart.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Valentines for my Valentines


I LOVE Valentines Day! I know it’s a “Hallmark Holiday” but I still love it.  It’s like a mini-Christmas.  People are kinder for a while, but they don’t go nuts in the stores.  There’s no pressure to be here or there or anywhere (please excuse me while I break out my Dr. Seuss). This time of year I pack a love note or card into my husband’s lunch box for the first 14 days of February.  It appears that it doesn’t matter whether your 8 or 38, a note in your lunch box makes you feel special, and makes you smile when you see it. Sometimes I make a big deal out of it, and sometimes it’s just an “I love you” scratched on a piece of paper. I’ve already finished some cards for Jon’s lunchbox.   And I have plans for more.  

This one I plan to wrap around a banana in his lunch box.  
Every Wednesday he has to travel further for work, and I don’t pack his lunch so I think I’ll wrap one around a bag of kisses and stick it in his computer bag.  So you see why this is fun…it’s like being Santa when no one expects it.

This year I’m also planning on making cards with my 8 year old daughter.  She’s a bit of a crafty bug like her mom.  On Wednesday I was helping in her class and she told her teacher “You can find her on!” The teacher says “I’ll look for her there.” To which I corrected her and said “I have NO idea what she’s talking about.” And we all chuckled about it.  I’m pretty sure that domain name is taken, and it’s not taken by me.  Ellie thought it was cute because it rhymed.  Here’s a picture of what we’ll be working on for her class. 

I’m going to show you a step by step process for making one of your own.  I used my cricut to cut out the cupcakes, but you can use any die cut you can find. 

Here’s what you’ll need: 
3”x4” storage bags
Happy Valentine’s Day Stamp
StazOn Ink (it doesn’t have to be StazOn but it does need to be an ink that will work on plastic, not just paper)
Glitter and Glue
Create-A-Critter 2 Cartridge
            Cut 1 ¼  inch heart from the lady bug
            Cut 3 ½ inch cupcake
            Cut 3 ½ inch cupcake wrapper
Embossing machine with heart embossing folder (I used a Big Kick with a Paper Studio folder)
Conversation hearts (enough for 10-12 for each baggie and some extras for snacking)

1.     Stamp the bags and give them time to dry, if you move the ink too quickly it will still smudge even though it’s supposed to be ok on plastic.  Once they’re dry put 10-12 conversation hearts in each one.

2.     Fold the 4”x6” piece of paper down 1.5 inches so it measures 4”x 4.5”.  Use a bone scorer or the edge of a credit card to flatten that fold out better.  Place the 1.5” flap into the embossing folder, it’s ok to let the rest hang out, and emboss. 

3.     Staple the storage bag with candy into the flap.

4.     Glue together cupcake wrapper and cupcake.  Spread glue around the top of the cupcake, but take care to avoid the area where you want to glue the heart cherry.  Add glitter.  Then glue the heart cherry on top.

5.     Cover the staple by gluing the cupcake to the flap.

Before I attach the bag of candy to the flap I can have Ellie write out her “To” and “From” on the back.  Here’s a tip, as this will be my 4th Valentines Day party, it’s easier to distribute on Valentine’s day if they simply put “From” and then can just pass them out.  It can take forever for the littles to figure out who’s name is who and where that particular valentine should go.

My son is 5, and not quite the crafty bug as…well…as anyone.  So his valentines ended up being really quick and easy.  The longest part of this project was getting him to put on that tie…and it’s a clip on.  I took his picture on a plain white background (we call it “the wall” at our house) with him holding out his fist and “showing it to me”. 

 I printed them off at…they come 3 to a card and you can just cut them apart.  I did a hole punch above and below his hand and threaded in the sucker.  

 Now he can hand out treats to his friends with very little effort.  My husband pointed out that Grandma’s might like pictures of that handsome devil too, so good thing I printed extras.  I also thought that for Grandma’s I might thread a small fake flower into that fist.

I hope you now have some creative juices flowing so you can go show some love.  And even if you’re not creative, scribbling “I love you” onto a napkin will surely bring a smile to your Love’s face.