Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Trunk Show featuring music by Jillian Riscoe DECEMBER 12, 2008

I am SO excited about this upcoming event! I have been collaborating with local musician Jillian Riscoe and we are creating a new line of jewelry titled "Pink Symphony". There are three necklace designs and one ring design that will debut at the event on December 12th. Jillian will be performing a live acoustic set! We are going to raffle away a gift also! This will be such a fun event! There is no address on the flyer because it's taking place at a private residence. We will be giving the address of the event when people rsvp. Fun fun fun!!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My First Taste of Press!

It's SO nice to finally receive some direct press coverage of my designs! Thank you to Heather Kraft of the Kansas City Star for featuring one of my pieces and doing such a nice little write-up on me!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Haute Market Rings!

I just made 100 of these rings for the Haute Market goody bags to be given out at their next event on July 17th. My fingers are pretty much raw and numb from hand-making all of these. The photo isn't the best (it was almost dark out and I had to ship the rings the next day), but hopefully the free publicity I get will pay off in the long run. I had an extra one I let my mom have and she's been wearing it almost daily. She's my number one fan and ya gotta love your number one fan! :)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Press Kit - Finally!

When starting a new business such as mine, or any other, really, it is important to create a press kit to "spread the word" to media outlets that might just give your business publicity through featuring it on their website or in their publication. I had never heard of press kits before becoming involved in this new venture. So, I did research for about a month, looked at many of them online and read through articles giving tips and tricks. Finally, after making the final polishing touches, I sent it out to several places last week, which is exhilarating and terrifying at the same time :)

If you want to see it, there is now a link at the top right of this page.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Encounters of the "I'm not so sure" Kind

I discovered a store in Brookside called Stuff recently, when out with a group of friends. My first impression upon entering the store was "wow, what a lot of stuff" :) I was overwhelmed by the multitude of products. Being involved in jewelry design, I of course browsed other jewelry desigers' products that were displayed. There was quite a selection...perhaps too much of one. It seemed the glass cases were overflowing with so many products, one artist sort of blended into the next. I had to search in most cases to find a tag or card that identified the artist.

While browsing, one of the employees commented on my jewelry I was wearing and I told her I made it. I wrote down my web store address for her on a scrap piece of paper, thinking "I still don't have business cards! I've got to get on that!" I thought about offering to sell her the piece off my neck, but did not because it seemed a bit tacky. Hopefully she will visit my shop and perhaps make a purchase :) It is always nice to get the positive feedback!

I met one of the shop's owners, who was obviously busy behind the counter. When I asked her if they did consignment, she replied, "Well, we don't discuss that in public." I thought that was a strange response. A simple yes or no would have answered my question, but I took the artist information packet anyway so I could have a look.

When I read through the artist requirements, one statement jumped out at me - "Our guidelines include regional exclusivity and one-on-one access to you, the artist." Whoa - that one made me do a double-take. To me this sounds like if you sell at their store, you don't sell at any other store within the same "region". Whether "region" refers to a one mile radius or a twenty mile radius, that sounds like a good deal for the store, not so much for the artist.

I did some more online research and discovered an article in the Kansas City Star http://www.kansascity.com/business/story/582832.html that discusses a local team of artists that sells recycled purses at Stuff. It states that the team gets 50% of the proceeds. I am assuming that means the store takes the other 50%. Again, sounds like a good deal for the store, not so much for the artist.

Needless to say, I don't think this store is for me as a seller. I doubt there would be a place for me with such an overabundance of products, not to mention talent. Oh, well, on to the next great adventure - tonight I am going to help paint the inside of Now and Then, where I currently sell on consignment (and receive an 80% cut, might I add - I even have my own dedicated display for my product - it doesn't get better than that!). Cheryl Hocker (the owner) is an awesome gal to work with!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

New Pendants!

I am so excited about these new pendants! I am using recycled "play-doh" caps as the mold to create them. Some feature inspirational words and some feature glass beads. Creating the glass beads version is somewhat tedious, as each bead must be slowly positioned into the resin. This drives me nuts, but I love the way they are turning out! I will be listing more in my etsy shop soon, so stay tuned :)

Friday, May 2, 2008

The Mighty B

Many of you without young children may not have seen it yet, but oh, my gosh! My daughter saw the first episode of this new cartoon and is HOOKED. It was created by a Erik Wiese, a writer on Sponge Bob, Cynthia True from Fairly Odd Parents and Amy Poehler, from Saturday Night Live. Amy Poehler provides the voice for the main character, Bessie Higgenbottom, who is nine years old (she is missing her two front teeth and Poehler is great at inflicting that lisp you get without those teeth). Bessie is a honey bee scout and is attempting to win every scout award possible. When she faces obstacles in her everyday life, she imagines she is the "Mighty B", a really "buff" bee-like superhero (very humorous to watch).

Anyway, Sophia is hooked on it (it's nice to have her obsessing over something other than Sponge Bob) and asks me every day when the next one will come on...luckily tonight we remembered to tape the episode so she won't go into too much of a withdrawl between episodes :)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

My First Fashion Show!!

I participated in my first fashion show last weekend at the Mosaic Lounge in the Kansas City Power and Light District. It was so fun to see my designs on the runway! And all proceeds from the show went to benefit the Chameleon children's charity of Kansas City!

This is a shot of some of my designs featured on the runway. All runway photos are courtesy of Stephen Melvin. He does some awesome work! http://stevemelvin.com/. I now have a slideshow of the runway up on myspace at http://myspace.com/shakeitnbakeit.

My parents and husband came to help me celebrate. We sat right next to the dj booth. I think we were all a bit out of our element :) I drank some fancy Norwegian water because they didn't serve coffee with Frangelico :(

Here I am with Matt (isn't he a cutie?) after the show. We met earlier in the day when he picked up my product for the show. He designed the shirt he's wearing and is going to be designing full time when he graduates this spring. In the background on the left you can barely see Keylee Sanders, who helped organize the event and chose wardrobe for all of the models. She is a stylist out of California. She is currently reworking her website. http://keyleesanders.com

Friday, April 11, 2008

Opportunities and Payoffs, Part Two

I browse Craigslist almost daily. I began looking at the site when my family's home rehabbing business was no longer and I was pondering what to do with myself. At the time I was designing jewelry and listing items on etsy, but sales were few and far between, so I looked through part time job listings, among other categories. One day a couple of months ago I saw a headline stating "calling all fashion designers". It said something about a charity fashion show looking for designers to donate time and product for the show. I answered the ad and got a response from Keylee Sanders, a stylist out of California. She liked my stuff. I sent out some samples to her and will be meeting with her briefly next week to give her some product to be featured in the Artful Threads charity fashion show benefitting the Chameleon childrens' charity in Kansas City. It will be held at the Mosaic Lounge in the Power and Light District on April 18th. This is an exciting opportunity for me! I can't wait to see the show in person, as I've never been to one!

On a side note regarding Craigslist, I also recently answered an ad requesting products from local artists to be placed in a shop. I ended up getting a decent size wholesale order from Alyssa Aley, the new owner of Nancy's Niche in Shawnee, Kansas. It is a very cute shop! It looks like a little cottage! I hope my product does well for her.

Back to the fashion show, here is the ad promoting the show. My name is misspelled :( , but my logo turned out! :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Opportunities and Pay-Offs, Part One

Last fall I had the opportunity to set up a table at a local retail shop for their open house. There was no charge, nor did they take any part of my sales. That day a group of women came in the store. They were all part of a sorority that was in town for a convention. They had just redesigned their logo and commented on how one of my necklace designs almost exactly matched their logo. I only had one of those necklaces available, which I sold to one of the women and another of the women placed an order for one. All in all I think I sold six items, which I thought was great for my first real live "sale".

Fast forward to a few days ago. I receive a message on my answering machine from the woman who first purchased a necklace from me. She had been trying to track down my phone number for over a month and finally found it. The women in her group just loved the necklace and could she order ELEVEN more? Wow, what a great feeling to hear that!

You never know which opportunities are really going to pay off, so you have to remember to take advantage of as many as possible!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Okay, Here's My Gold

In my previous post I mentioned I was going to create a cuff bracelet out of sections of resin. After deliberating on the idea for a while, I have decided against it for now. It is very time consuming because of all of the pours I have to do to create one bracelet. Because of the time and material cost, as well as the labor involved, the necessary price point would just be too high. Instead, I have settled on these two necklace designs for the time being.

I love the sleekness of them. They have a modern feel with a touch of the 70s. The heart shaped pendant is actually two resin hearts adhered together back to back to create a "puffy" heart. It looks great! I am hoping to find ribbon to be able to do a silver version of both.

Monday, March 10, 2008

I Love Goooooold!

Remember that quote from Austin Powers Goldmember? I love that movie and these new pieces totally remind me of it! I am creating these 70s inspired pieces with resin and gold foiled ribbin chopped up into little triangles. The resin is a bit more bubbly than I would like, but they will look really cool when assembled. I will be creating eight of the long pieces, then drilling them and creating a cuff bracelet. The square piece will become a ring, and the heart will be a pendant. The teardrop I'm not sure about yet. When the pieces are completed I'll post photos for your viewing pleasure :) Happy Monday!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Tarina Tarantino

I just had to blog about one of my favorite jewelry designers, Tarina Tarantino. I just happened onto her website about a year ago when I began dabbling in making jewelry. I knew nothing about jewelry design and had the impression that most people that made jewelry were either metalsmith designers or beaders. I did not really care for traditional "beading" and knew nothing about working with metal. Being a graphic designer by career, I knew I liked to "put pretty things together to make them prettier." I also liked pretty skulls. I liked how something "evil" could be made beautiful. It was during my research of this current trend that I found Tarina. "Oh my gosh!," I remember thinking, "If I made jewelry, this is totally the look I would love to create!"

I read her story and looked at all of her product and have watched some of her video work as she opens her new store in Milan, Italy. If I could sit down with anyone and chat with them about how to build a business and market your talent, it would have to be her. And the pink hair! Awesome! I would never have the courage to wear such a bold color, but it works for her.

One aspect of her business that I truly admire is that everything is assembled in her warehouse in California, not overseas, which is something many companies do not do when they grow so large. I stumbled across this article from a back issue of Swindle magazine that is an interesting read:

And, if you want to see some amazing, sparkling jewelry, see her shop at http://tarinatarantino.com/

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Adventures in Resin

I have been experimenting with resin and am so excited about this medium! I am finally starting to produce some pieces I feel I can show to the public! The best part is that I am using a lot of bottle caps that would normally be thrown away to create a lot of my pieces. The toughest part is waiting for the resin to cure, as I don't have much patience :) These pieces were worth the wait, though:

This piece is made from a bright orange Naked Juice bottle cap. It is loaded with multi-colored plastic and glass beads. In the center is a shimmery shell bead that looks like an eye. In the middle of the "eye" sits a blue-green plastic bead surrounded by glass beads. There is also glitter placed throughout the resin that gives this pendant a lot of sparkle.

This has got to be my favorite project of the whole week! I call it "Vitamin Candy". It is made from a Flinstones Vitamins cap. It has a doll head "floating" in a sea of candy sprinkles coated in resin. It is not the sort of piece to wear if you don't want to be noticed. :)

This bottlecap pendant is the first one I created using two different layers of resin. You can't tell from the picture, but in the background is neon pink and neon green glitter. Once that layer was cured, I did a second layer and added plastic and glass beads. The three accent pieces are painted glass baubles. It's called "Primary Colors" even though I used hot pink instead of red. :)All of these pieces will be in my etsy shop soon, so check them out! AND, if you want to see some other REALLY awesome resin work, check out this shop: http://stoopidgerl.etsy.com/. She kicks BUTT in this medium and was my inspiration for trying it out!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Don't you love it when you discover how to transform an everyday something into a magnificent, wearable work of art?

I rehabbed and re-sold houses with my family for about 6 years and always LOVED going to the local Home Depot or Lowes to pick up a new faucet, sink, cabinet knob, or anything needed during an extensive remodel. During my frequent trips I would walk up and down the isles just ooing and awwing at all the shiny stuff on display. I didn't see just washers or copper pipes, I always saw a bit of art in them.

Last year when it became apparent that the real estate market was heading south and we were losing money, we quit rehabbing homes. As we were finishing our final rehab project, and I was trying to figure out what to do with my life :) I was picking up some things at Home Depot and just for fun grabbed some washers thinking I could figure out a way to make them into something cool. After many experiments, I discovered ways to incorporate not only washers, but woodruff keys, retaining rings and simple hole plugs into my jewelry designs.

These are some of the designs I have created using items purchased at a hardware store:

It's just amazing to see what simple things can become when you use your imagination! I can't wait to see what I discover next!

Monday, February 25, 2008


A lot of designers post photography tips, and I guess I'll have to join that group because I just have to share my success story! I have this new ring design that has been a pain in the you-know-what to photograph! It has a lot of reflective qualities, which give it tremendous beauty in person. However, when photographed, it of course picks up the shadows in the background. Here is the first series I took of it:

Besides being on the dark side, in the first photo you can see a pink shadow in what should be clear glass. It doesn't look horrible, but it doesn't do the piece justice. Same with the second photo. The glass is shadowed by the reflected background.

The solution I found was this: I placed it closer to the light source (my south-facing front door) and draped a sheer white curtain over my head and the piece to cut out some of the glare. Next, I held a 9x12 inch piece of white paper in front of the ring so that only the white of the paper reflected. Here's the result:

Much better, huh? I'm so happy with the adjustment! It now shows how beautiful this ring really is! By the way, all of the photos were taken using a Canon Powershot S3IS set on super macro. It is a great camera (my folks are probably going to want this one back one of these days :)
Now I'm off to list this beauty in my etsy shop!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

I wanna be a rock star!

This is a sampling of my newest design I call "rock star". These are the rings, and I also made necklaces that have 2" stars hanging on ball chain necklaces. Currently these will be carried exclusively at my local retail location, Now and Then in downtown Overland Park, Kansas. I just love the way they turned out. Rock on!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Sunday Special

This week I am featuring three handbag sellers from etsy. While looking through the listings for handbags, I saw a lot of talented designers, but these three are my favorites:

Moxie and Oliver have some of the most detailed, to-die-for leather handbags I've ever seen. I can only imagine what they look like in person! It truly looks like craftsmanship from long ago, the kind of bags you might find hidden away in your grandmother's attic. The bag pictured is one of my favorites from their shop. See more of their designs at http://moxieandoliver.etsy.com/

The second seller, Pursecution, sells nicely detailed handbags that have an edge to them. I love this green and black beauty (this mossy green is one of my all time favorite colors). It reminds me of a somewhat recent design from Christian Dior. Very cool. See more of Pursecution's designs at http://pursecution.etsy.com/

The final seller I've chosen, Handbags by Daphne, uses distinctive and modern fabric to create a collection that is very stylish and versatile. I love the bag above from this shop because it would complement almost any outfit. It's modern and unique without being too over-the-top. There are many other cool patterns and styles in her shop at http://daphnenen.etsy.com

Well, now of course I really, really want a new handbag! :) Have a super Sunday everyone!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

High Society

I just finished this new necklace design. I am inventing some pieces with a little higher end look to feature on the other site I sell on, smashingdarling.com. I also love skulls and loved the idea of combining something edgy with something that had a classic, elegant look to it. I found this beautiful gold paint I had in my stash and started painted these giant wooden beads I recently purchased. I combined them with some extra cut glass beads I had and created this design I'm really excited about!

The best part about this piece is that the skull piece can be flipped over to a simple gold disk that matches the gold beads! I think I will have to make one in silver as well :)

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Sunday Special

I can't believe another Sunday is here already! This week I have picked three sellers who feature fine art or photography. The first one just joined etsy this last week and has already seen numerous sales. I can understand why. The prints offered are reasonable an soooo cute!

One of my favorites is this golden retriever with a tennis ball. It reminds me of my dogs. You can see more at http://dogartstudio.etsy.com/

This next artist creates digital collages and has been part of etsy a little over a year. One of my favorites is the above piece, titled "Train Color". You can see more fabulous digital work at http://divineimages.etsy.com/

Finally, the third seller I'm featuring also does digital collage work as well as fine art. Her pieces are mystical, magical, and often quite eerie. The above piece is titled "New Shoes". I just love the ghostliness of it! You can see more of her work at http://artandghosts.etsy.com/

Well, that's it for today. Have a super Sunday!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Repeat Customers

My shop has only been open for a few months and I have already had a repeat customer! This is such a good feeling! It is just great when someone likes your product to come back for more.

While I bask in that, my head is spinning with new ideas...too many new ideas. Some days it is so hard to get my thoughts organized! Spring is right around the corner and I am so excited to introduce new designs! I will post my new designs...once I narrow them down. :)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


I was out in the 60-degree weather yesterday with my daughter playing in what is left of our leaves. The wind was ridiculous, but Sophia loved it! Of course, Kitty had to go outside with us. We have had Kitty for about 3 years now. She has been through the ringer, let me tell ya. Her tail has almost no fur left and her ears were chewed off by our two dogs (I felt really bad about that). She used to be white, but now, even with a thorough soaking by our washing machine, the closest she gets is a kind of light grey.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Discovering a Niche

Ever since I joined etsy, I have been struggling to find a niche. I still have not found it, but I am narrowing it down as I go along. Right now I love doing dogtag-style designs, and have just started making word charms printed on frosted shrink plastic. They look really good combined together on a ball chain necklace.

Here is a photo of me wearing a couple of my charms and some of my dogtag designs. It would be nice to actually have a model and the correct lighting, oh, and maybe a cool studio to shoot in with a professional photographer, but that is not in the cards right now, so I am the model and the photographer. I think this shot came out all right. I just wanted to show some of my favorites that I'm working on right now :)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Sunday Special

Every Sunday I write about my favorites from etsy sellers. I recently discovered these lovelies:

This is from Crankbunny. They create these lovely pop-up cards. Just awesome! The one pictured sells for $8.00. You can see more of their product at http://crankbunny.etsy.com/

This next seller is Moth to Flame. She does paintings using bleach. Amazing work! Above is "Skeletal Moth". This particular shot is an art card of an original, which sells for $8.00. You can see more of her product at http://mothtoflame.etsy.com/

Finally, this artist is one of the first I discovered on etsy. Her needle-felted animals are superb! She will do a replica of your dog or cat for $145. Sounds like a lot, right? But if you see some of the close-up shots, you can see how much work goes into one of these beauties! Just look at their eyes! Each holds its own unique expression. Truly one-of-a-kind! You can see more of these cuties and her other fabulous illustration work at http://ameliamakesart.etsy.com/

Have a super Sunday!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Sunday Special

I have decided to select some favorites from etsy (or maybe other places too) to feature on my blog every Sunday. I have seen so much talent since beginning this venture, it is at times overwhelming. Last week I ran into a new designer on etsy, Ferociter. I love her style and she has some great photos. My favorite piece is this:

I love the foiled skull bead on this pearl choker! It is elegant and a bit evil at the same time! You can see more of ferociter at http://ferociter.etsy.com/

Another favorite of mine is:

This is called "I Am The Wind" by Beth Spatafora of Arete. It was my first etsy purchase. She has since upgraded the design so that the image sits inside a bezel. The version I purchased was simply soldered on the back. I love this change. It really adds polish to the piece! You can see more of her work at http://arete.etsy.com/.

Finally, this next etsy artist is new to the scene, and has a great style, combining vintage pieces with her own designs to create really visually appealing pieces. One of my favorites is this choker:

You can see more of her work at http://shalottlilly5.etsy.com/.

Have a super special Sunday, everyone!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

OAK Boston, here I come! :)

I finally got my display and product shipped out to Boston. Crossing my fingers that it arrives safe and sound. I included a mix of goodies: Plastic "letter yourself" pendants, suede pendants with Swarovski crystal accents, a couple of my "Spread your wings and fly" pendants, smile pendants and my steel pendant necklaces with glass accents. I'm both nervous and excited about this opportunity!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Welcome 2008

I recently listed my new line of rings. I decided to package them in this tall, hard plastic box. With the insert, it looks very modern and allows me to advertise my shop address without taking over the clean look of the packaging. This one, "lava", sold the first day! I am working on some other versions to sell at my consignment gig. I sure am having fun making them!