Category Archives: balance

In the Pink…

Remember in the last post I mentioned special interest groups and what a large part they play in an online world these days? Well, today’s post is about another one of those groups and the person behind it. A group of us have been planning this “blog-out” for months, and who knew a group of chatty women could keep a secret when they are in and out of pages and groups and walls with the special person, day in and day out!

“In the Pink…” is a reference to one of my favorite people in this world: Lori Anderson of Lori Anderson Designs and the dynamo behind the Bead Soup Blog Party™ (and the soon-to-be-released book based on that HUGE online blog party.) Lori added pink streaks to her hair as a nod to her creative side and it suits her to a “T”. Check the bottom of the page for a photo of my homage to her fabulous pink hair!

This photo was taken in June at Bead & Button…Lori’s hair is longer now, and the pink is such a whimsical touch. I smile whenever I see it!

Let me back up….I have “known” Lori for years–online. I can’t even tell you when we “met”, but we’ve emailed and chatted online for years about making jewelry, books, our kids, and the ups and downs in our lives at different times. We had never actually laid eyes on each other til June in Milwaukee. I knew Lori was going to stop by my booth and yet when she did, it was still such a shock! We both squealed like 10-year-old girls who had stumbled on Justin Bieber concert tickets! I know we hugged and we might have done the jumping up and down thing, too. And then we crossed paths again in Philadelphia at BeadFest and I got to meet Zach, her son. I am as in awe of Lori, the mother, as I am of Lori, the writer and entrepreneur. Though our “real life” time adds up to a few hours, our time as friends adds up to so much more. I consider Lori one of my dearest friends.

A little about Lori

She gets more done than any 3 people I know! Lori is a talented jewelry designer whose work has been published in many magazines over the years. That’s an area that she encouraged me to pursue, as well, and I’m grateful for the nudge.

While I am always making deals with myself to blog more often, Lori is a wizard at it! She is generous with her ideas and suggestions. She coaches people and has written an ebook with blogging prompts to help those of us who struggle with that, and she practices what she preaches: blogging daily and more. Always looking for ways to encourage others to their own success.

That’s the premise behind this big blog party around “bead soup”, started by Lori  a few years ago. We just finished the 6th version of it with 400 participants over 3 different weekends. And because all of those participants (and more) from previous blog hops wanted ongoing connections after the  hop ended, Lori started a Facebook group called Bead Soup Cafe. There are now over 1100 of us (growing each day) who stop in (on Facebook) to hang out, share tips, promote our wares, exchange chitchat, ask questions, find great deals, and bridge the fact that most of us are miles and miles and even oceans away from each other. It’s the online equivalent of the kaffeklatch that my mother and her friends had…groups of friends getting together to share their days. It’s a far larger undertaking than I can imagine, and that’s where this blog hop to Lori comes in….a chance to thank her for all she does and for the great place she’s put together.

Thank you, Lori, for pinking up my life!

For more information on the Bead Soup Blog Party book and it’s concept, check out this link where you’ll meet Lori, too! (Check out the hair!)

And here’s my take on pink hair:


To read other stories from others participating in this hop, take a look at these blogs:

Gail Vanderster-Zwang

Lea Avroch

Leslie Wayment

Kelley Katherine Hagerty-Fogle

Sheila Davis

Amanda Effron

‎Solange Collin

Jennifer Chasalow VanBenschoten

Isolina Perez

Toltec Jewels

Sherri Stokey

Mary Howell Govaars

Bee Kuhlman

Lynnea Perry Bennett

Alicia Marinache

Heather Otto

Kimberly Flood

Courtney White Breul

Marlene Cupo

Marianne Baxter

Mária Horváth

Andrea Beth Trank

Heidi Mansfield Kingman

Emoke Schmidt

Sandra MrtzDiaz

Lupe Meter

Tanya Boden

Ambra Chicandfrog

Kumi Fisher

Sandra Young

Sandi Marinaro Volpe

Gretchen Nation

Mimi Gardner

Marian Hertzog

Sonya Ingersoll-Stille

Terry Matuszyk

Audrey Belangér

Sandra McGriff

Shelley Graham Turner

Mowse Doyle


Fall into Fall?

I feel like I fell off the map in some ways…August just came and went! It was a mad dash of weeks of preparation for BeadFest in Philly mid-month to launch Color Me This and then I got back and felt like I’d been hit by a Mack truck…not sick, like so many other vendors, but completely and thoroughly exhausted. So you go with it and do what you can.

I’m more or less “back”. BeadFest was great! People seemed really excited about the sample packs and I talked and demonstrated them til I couldn’t talk anymore. My sister, Kelly, came up from northern Virginia to help out and it was a bonus to have sister time.

Here’s a photo of the booth set up.

And a purchase from Kabela Designs that I managed to make before the show started one morning. I’ve already been working on colorizing them and I’m really happy with the results but I’ll save that for another blog.

I’ve been working on filling orders and getting advertising in place in a couple of magazines, plus product reviews (and my “day” job in the mix, too). Never a dull moment. Hard to imagine I haven’t etched anything since mid-August! That changes tomorrow.

Stay tuned for photos of the next two sample packs (they are available on Etsy right now), but I’ll have more photos in a day or so. Here’s a teaser!

Motivation on a Summer Day (or any day)

Designing jewelry is something I kind of fell into. It was a way to hang onto a shred of sanity during an incredibly difficult time several years ago. It relaxed me. And then people wanted to buy what I made (which meant I could buy more beads and silver and pearls…without feeling too guilty!) and that was satisfying as well as motivating. Sometimes.

But real life gets in the way more times than not and things don’t happen at a pace that you would like. I’ve always worked best under pressure…deadline-driven is how my other business has to operate and I’m much more productive when there are hard deadlines. Like many artists, though, the thrill of having someone want your work is often as motivational as the monetary result. It pushes me to step out of my box more and reach for new ideas. However, sales of jewelry aren’t exactly “needs” in the economic scheme of things, so when sales are slow, the motivation to create new things slows for me as well. It should work the opposite and I’m working to change that mindset.

I am someone who has to be busy…if I’m watching TV, I’m doing something else too. Just the way I’m wired. I like learning new things and taking on new projects. Working with metal is one of those areas…fueled in part by the insane price of sterling silver and the general slow recovery of my jewelry sales. It took me a while to warm up to using copper and brass, but it’s been one of those “move out of your comfort zone” things that takes me into color schemes I might not be drawn to and it’s been a lot of fun.

BHB caps etched copper brassI haven’t yet found a market for all the copper and brass Joolz, so I moved into creating metal components and have been selling them to lampwork beadmakers and other jewelry designers. I’ve been really happy with the success of Metal Me This in the last few months.

It’s been a huge amount of work to list regularly and attract a new customer base. And my nails may never recover from stains and metalworking (LOL…think of the money I’m saving on manicures!) I’ve got loads of ideas and have had special requests come in and all of that, along with regular sales is great motivation…for everything but new Joolz. Oh, I’ve got ideas there, and once I have a few new tools that I need to implement the ideas, I’m sure the motivation and creativity will come together.

In the meantime, I’m contemplating shows and whether to pursue some with the metal and bead caps. But that’s for another post.

There are signs of intelligent life!

From my poor neglected blog, that is. I know it has be MONTHS without a post and I have no excuses but apathy.  The weather, the holidays, the economy…take your pick. But I’m trying to move past all that and ring in the New Year (almost a month late) with more blogging.

The One World One Heart project seemed a good start.  Hundreds of creative souls banding together with give-aways to tempt readers to follow. Start with mine and then move on to the  rest! If you get lost, I’m #658 on the list.

Something else to get the creativity jump-started is a Bead Soup Party hosted by a great cyberfriend, Lori Anderson. She match 80+ jewelry designers together in pairs with instructions to send a “bead soup” mixture to our partner. I should have my “soup” in a couple days and we’ll be unveiling all of our creations in February so stay tuned for that. My partner is Linda Lawrence of Bella Bead Jewelry

I’m busy working on new Joolz for ArtXtravaganza at the Webb School in Knoxville, TN again in March. Looking forward to meeting up with friends for a few days of fun after that.

That preparation has me looking at bracelets and redesigning many to lower the costs and give them a fresh, new look in the process. And I’ve been working more with wirewrapping and hammering. You can find some of those results on Etsy.

So two posts in one day. I think I’ll shoot for a couple of posts a week for now. Hopefully everyone hasn’t forgotten me!

Making “Me” Time

I try to.

I plan to.

I really do want to.

Something always gets in the way.

I make lists and schedules and sometimes plot to have a few hours for relaxing, or working on jewelry, or reading, or going in the pool, or, in this case, using gift certificates for spa treatments!

iStock_000006737996XSmall[1]The key I have slowly learned (and often need to relearn) is to plan that time and those activities FIRST thing in the day, not later in the day. Life and work and “shoulds” have a way of nibbling away at “Me” time (it’s a downside to working for yoursef, especially in these economic times…work is work and customer service is king). “I’ll just take one more look at that project,” or “That took a little longer than I planned and I still need to get to XXXXXX”. Pretty soon, it’s dinner time and later still.

My daughter has been at camp the last 3 weeks and I had such plans for decluttering the upstairs, reorganizing the office, working on jewelry projects and learning new skills…I got her room done (no small task so I am giving myself full credit there) and some work done in the garage (still can’t fit a second car in there), but I’ve had lots of book projects (new ones and ones that just haven’t reached completion) and the days have dwindled down.

I’ve gotten better at multitasking on the computer, but I’ve always been good at that…if you see me on Facebook, you can bet I’ve got several other windows open with “real” work. Networking is real work too, not to mention many days it’s my only social input!

But I digress….I was talking about scheduling time for you (or me) early in the day BEFORE anyone else gets it. And so I have! I’m headed to a spa this morning to use a nearly expired gift certificate for a facial, pedicure and massage. My friend, Deb, is going to use the pedicure as I managed to get one in last week when I made plans to meet a dear friend who lives all of 25 minutes away and we haven’t seen each other in 6 months!

I love being pampered…I think most of us do. I think many of us (I am probably the poster child) don’t allow ourselves to enjoy it. I know money comes into play, but most of mine come as gifts or from bidding at charity events, so it’s crazy not to indulge! Deadlines will be met and life will go on…and my pores will be open and my shoulders relaxed!

Next up: Taking a long weekend WITHOUT the laptop…can it be done?