A little while ago I had purchased a new camera and I was also looking to upgrade my lenses. I had been admiring Maria's photos (her Etsy shop is here) for awhile, and decided to ask her what lens she was using to take her stunning shots. Long story short, she volunteered to take some photos of my earrings for me. They turned out beautifully and inspired me to think a little differently about my own product photos. The images below are all by Maria, and my photographs have improved significantly since I became newly inspired and also purchased a new lens!
I made these earrings as a custom order sometime around Christmas. They came out so pretty, I made a few extras but never got a chance to list them in my shop because of the crazy as usual holiday season. I only have two pairs, and might just have to make some more.
I am so excited about this! I am trying something new where I'm making a small collection of one, two, or three of a kind earrings and necklaces in a limited color story. This keeps me the freedom to experiment more, offer a variety of items, while being able to see what sells out quickest and might be worth making in a larger batch. These items are all in one Etsy listing and will be removed from the drop down once they are sold out. The items that sell quickly will be considered to be made again as permanent staples in my shop. This also allows me to make some earrings and necklaces that can be purchased as a set! If it goes well I will be doing this more often with different color stories, shapes, sizes, etc. My first collection is a variety of baby blue, aqua, and salmon pink jewels all with gold leaf and glitter called the Cotton Candy Collection!
Of course, this isn't available for wholesale since most of these items are one or two of a kind and the collections are experimental in nature. I do always love hearing what my wholesale customers like, though, and keep those thoughts in mind when I'm deciding what to add to my wholesale linesheet.
I had so much fun taking photos of this collection. I am so pleased with them!
I'm probably a little late with this, but I have a lot of Valentine's Day stuff in my shops! Honestly they aren't really only for Valentine's Day, but this is when I make a lot of little heart things that stick around my shop year-long until I'm out. They are so cute. I really love how the tags came out. The little hearts were painted with watercolors and scanned into the computer.
My birthday is on February 17th, so it's always a crazy week for us personally filled with many delicious dinners. When it's over I'm usually happy to get back to home cooking. By the way, I tried Hello Fresh for the first time a month or so ago because my sister had an extra box and passed it along to me. We were both (husband and I) super impressed with the food, and how incredibly fresh everything was. It's a really nice way to not have your fridge filled with stuff you will not use, buying more than you need for one dinner and having waste, etc. And I found all of the ingredients to be even better than what we can get in the grocery stores around here. If you are interested, my referral code is TRKXPU for $40 off of your first box. We are getting our second box next week and I'm really excited about it! I do enjoy cooking but it's nice to have most of the work (planning and grocery shopping) done for you, and no waste in the fridge! If you have tried it, let me know what you think. I have to say, I would never have ordered it on my own but I'm so glad I tried it!
It is CRAZY how long it's been since my last post, but I can explain. This year, not only did I get married, but my only sibling (my sister) got married, our house is a construction zone, and of course regular life has been happening in between there. This year has been a blessing in many ways. I have been picking up more wholesale accounts which have made up for less Etsy sales. The changes to Etsy and the site have not been beneficial to those of us old timers and seasoned sellers. Sadly, I find myself shopping less on Etsy because I'm not finding awesome things due to the change of the home page and I don't think it's a good direction for the community. Luckily I still have a loyal customer base and my shop is still going strong. My sticker and gift tag shop has been doing well but honestly I don't find it fun, it's just a 'job'. I have also devoted more time to painting and opened a new shop which you can find here. I'll post more about that another time. I realized just how long it's been since I last updated my blog, because I have been getting more traffic on here due to an insane thing that happened in November. Actually, two insane things happened. My jewelry is featured in Bead Style's January edition (which came out in November) AND our wedding was featured in the Pennsylvania/Delaware The Knot Spring/Summer edition. Crazier things have really not happened. I'm so proud that my jewelry has made it far enough to get into a magazine, it really does make all of the time, persistence, heartbreak of copycats stealing my designs, roller coaster ride of owning a business in general all totally worth it. You can see my feature on the last page of Bead Style's 'Rising Star' section. I tell a little bit of my and my jewelry's story. And it's freakin' awesome.
As if that wasn't enough, our photographer submitted our wedding to The Knot and it was chosen. Like, what the crap!!!!? Amazingness, I would curse here but that's not really appropriate. I have a LOT of updating to do, so please check back soon to see more of our wedding, more of our home renovations, my paintings for my new shop and obviously some cat photos.
We've been so busy, between weddings, completely renovating our back room, and working on the rest of the house (and a vacation somewhere in there). I've been focused on the house lately. Thrifting, repurposing items, painting stuff, decorating, etc. Below are some photos of my projects, recent decorations, and even some earrings (because I do still have to find time to work). I won't drone on about everything, but everything was either from a thrift store or on sale and very, very cheap.
When we planted our little container garden I didn't expect much. Our peppers are growing like crazy. We have banana peppers, which are pictured below, and some sweet peppers. The banana peppers are growing in hoards and I have no idea what to do with them. One grew earlier this year and when I tried it I was shocked at how HOT it was! If you have any ideas for what to do with a bunch of banana peppers, please comment below and help a sister out. Also pictured: tomatoes and rosemary.
Ever since one of my BFF's asked me to be her maid of honor, I've been freaking out about all of the responsibilities that come with it. Some of you might know I'm planning my own wedding, and my sister is getting married next year as well. It's A LOT! During the planning of her shower, I was nominated to do the crafty stuff - centerpieces, favors, etc. I am comfortable with those responsibilities. What I ended up coming up with were a homemade body scrub and a homemade lip balm.
The shower is in a week, this August. Her wedding is fall themed, on October 4th, so I wanted to do fall flavors and moderately fall colors that still look nice in the summer. I ended up going with gold, peach, and purple (the bridesmaids' dresses are 'sangria' purple) for the colors. Amy is obsessed with all things fall and pumpkin so of course that had to be incorporated into the flavor. I found a pumpkin cheesecake flavor oil on Ebay which was perfect and smells amazing, and used a lip balm base instead of mixing it up by scratch. I wanted to make the process as easy as possible since I'd be doing everything in bulk. I tinted the balm with orange mica powder for a pretty peachish orange color.
The scrub was the hard part. I used half brown sugar, half white sugar, and a whole whopping pound of cinnamon. I couldn't decide which oil to use, as I wanted the scent to be neutral and the oil to be affordable in bulk. I ended up choosing sunflower oil, which had a neutral, if anything, flavor. I didn't have enough, so I asked Ryan to pick some up on the way home and he got olive oil instead. Everything went smoothly until I added it and it had a weird undertone of olive smell to it.
So I freaked out, ordered cinnamon oil on Amazon and a vanilla fragrance oil. The cinnamon did not pan out, but holy crap, the vanilla smells amazingly like icing and the small amount I added to the 20 pounds of sugar made it smell AMAZING!
For the labels, I used weatherproof premade labels for the scrub, which I printed on at home. The lip balm labels I made from scratch and they look so cute! I also made the tags from scratch here too. They came out so cute, and I think she's going to love them!
Here are a few more shots of the favors.
This is how they will look at the shower:
Over the last few months, I've been thinking about getting into the craft show scene again. I did some when I first started out a few years ago, but having a job and doing shows was just too much. I stopped doing them, eventually lost my job, and starting out making jewelry full time. Now that I'm pretty established, have my shit together, and a healthy stock of inventory, I've been mulling over the idea of doing some shows again. I want to start small, and do a few here and there. Nothing crazy.
My old display was all black, which is not the look I'm going for anymore. It's too dark for my light, fun jewelry. I am going with white and pops of color this time around. I realized that I need to figure out exactly how I would set up a booth, and went to Pinterest and Flickr for ideas. Honestly, I didn't find a damn thing I liked. Nothing even close.
So I decided I'd buy some old frames, paint them, and try to hang my earrings on ribbons that I strung across the backing of the frame. I wasn't sure if it would work, or look right, but turns out it does and I really like it. It's simple and light, just what I was looking for.
My next step is buying some more, larger frames and doing this to them. I'm also on the hunt for some candy colored glasses dishes. Hopefully I'll find some, but I can never find exactly what I'm looking for when I have something in mind. I'm also hoping my brain gives me some other ideas, because having 10 frames sitting on a table would really be overkill.
This week I finally made a terrarium. My houseplant collection has grown significantly over the last few weeks. I figured it was about time to finally make all of my terrarium dreams come true. It was more annoying to make than I thought, even with the large opening in the vase I used.
Whenever I photograph jewelry for the shop, I end up getting distracting and taking photos of the kitties instead. Warning: this post has a billion photos in it (that's probably more fun than words anyway). No photos of Stella though (the other kitty) :(
Oh, and the jewelry. I guess I should share that.
I also got a dresser from the Salvation Army for the living room last week. Oh, and that poodle. It was $1.99 at the Goodwill... how could I not?
I plan on painting the dresser. I like it as it is, but it just doesn't go right with the room. You can see the paint swatches that I have on it, I'm thinking about a dark, emerald-ish green or a light to medium blue shade. I won't paint it until I narrow it down. These decisions take time.
I got my first Ipsy bag in the mail today. For those of you who might not know what Ipsy is, it's similar to Birchbox only it's rumored that you get better/larger products. It's $10 a month for a surprise bag of beauty products. It sounded fun, and although I'm not super into doing a lot of makeup, it is fun to play with and I love finding new products. I figured it might be neat to see if I'd actually use things that I wouldn't typically pick out.
In my first bag, I got:
- Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil
- Such a Tease 'So Seductive' lashes
- St. Tropez Gradual Tanner for Face
- City Color White Color cream eyeshadow
- Caitlyn Tinted Lip Balm in 12. Apple Pink
I probably should just throw away the lashes because I will never use them. I was hoping that I wouldn't get lashes. I'm going to have to see if there is a preference that I can change in my account so that I can avoid getting them again. I'm excited about the sunless tanner, as I'm pretty pale and I like a little glow for the warmer weather. I have heard such good things about St. Tropez, but never wanted to spend the money to try it.
I tried the Caitlyn lip tint, and I like it. The texture is velvetty, the finish is opaque and matte. The color is a spicy neutral that I think would look nice on most people. What I don't like is that it's a pot. I usually only end up using lip products in tube/stick form, because frankly I'm usually just a little too lazy to bother with pots, they get my fingers dirty and I just don't like them.
The Urban Decay eye pencil is wonderful. It applies so smoothly and stays on throughout the day. It is a nice rich black that gives my eyes the definition they need since I'm light complected with light hair/eyelashes.
The City Color eyeshadow was a pleasant surprise. It scared me a little bit in the pot, but it actually applies lightly (though you can definitely build it for a more intense look). I think it might actually work as a highlighter too. I just put a little bit of this on my lids, and it brightened up my whole face.
Overall, I think I'll be using most, if not all, of these products (besides the lashes) in the future. I can't wait to see what's in next month's bag!
I've been busy making a bunch of larger earrings for my shop. People have asked for them many times throughout the years, but I never really got around to making them. It's about damn time, I think! The only thing that sucks about making them is that they must be made in smaller batches due to their size. I will be making less of each for now, and the designs that are most popular will probably be made over and over, like what I do with everything else. I do have more room to work with though, which can only be a good thing!
These little babies are new too. I seriously love them. I made myself a larger pair in the 8mm style (they will be available in the shop later this week as well). Should I make more like this? Multicolors and varying sizes of glitters? I really think I'm onto something here and will be making a few more colors of these.
And you know Gus had to make an appearance. Such a ham.
I did some thrifting yesterday. I had terrible luck until I decided to head to the last place (Goodwill), which is where I found these awesome brick tumblers! I'll try to post again on the other things I got sometime later this week.
I've been super busy the last few days reshooting everything for both of my shops (and I mean, literally everything). My sticker and tag supply shop is done, and looks pretty good I think. I couldn't be much happier with the photos, especially considering I really struggled with photographing my jewelry for years. My jewelry shop is coming along as well and I'm probably about 65% there. I am taking a different approach to photographing my jewelry now. It all happened by accident, after I began shooting my stationary items. About a year ago I really wanted some nice head on shots of my earrings. The detail shots are nice, but they don't give as good of an idea of what the jewelry will look like in person as the head on shots. I struggled with it last year, mostly using my light box, and eventually gave up. This time around, I tried using natural lighting in my living room and my sofa table that I painted with a chalk paint as the surface to shoot on. I'm so pleased with how the head on shots came out, and although I can't do my post earrings that way, I'm still using the same location to shoot them so it's consistent with the danglies, and I'm trying to give them more perspective by shooting them with more white space in the shot.
You can see what I'm talking about below. I HOPE they are nice, I always end up second guessing myself when it comes to things like this.
The cats like to be 'involved' when I'm working. By that, I mean sitting on what I'm trying to photograph, bopping it, that kind of thing. I did get some pretty photos of them in the midst of it though. These two are real trouble makers. The other two are a bit older and like to keep to themselves more (aka staying out of the way of the tiny crazy cats). I'm going to have to get some good shots of them soon, because they are also my babies!
I've had a lot of requests for larger sized earrings, and though I've made this size in the past, I never made many and they have never been entirely filled with glitter. They are much more difficult to photograph for me, because of their size and the fact that they don't seem to look as nice in my usual setup. I'll be experimenting with photographing them a bit differently in the future, and if they sell, making more and more colors. Right now they are available in silver and gold:
Sometimes I need a different creative outlet. Something that isn't technically work. I've been wanting a bright and cheery floral wreath for my front door but nothing I've seen has really spoken to me. I decided to try to make one on my own with no real idea what I'm doing. I didn't want it to be perfect, more of the wild kind of look. I think it came out pretty good! The best part? A lot of these flowers were from the Dollar Tree. I am itching to make another wreath now!
When we moved into our home about a year and a half ago, it needed a lot of work. Everything was beige, I mean everything. Beige carpets, beige walls (you can see the carpet on the stairs, it's still there and upstairs and kind of gross). It offended me on a very bland level. Before we moved in, Ryan put hardwood floors in the downstairs, and we painted as much as we could. Since then I've been working on decorating, and it's sometimes been a struggle. I'm very particular about my surroundings and I want it to feel 'right'. I've settled in on a mix of new and old things and have finally found some harmony here. Now that I'm in a comfortable place with how the living room looks I'm ready to show it off. I've put a lot of time into it! If you know me, you know I don't half ass things. It needs some more stuff on the walls, and some work here and there, but I finally feel that it's coming together. I've been working on the dining room as well and it's getting closer, so that will be next.
The upstairs needs a lot more work. My studio is up here, and besides that, just about everything needs to be renovated.
Here are some shots of the living room as it is now. I'm switching all of the pillows over for spring to make it feel a little more summery, but I'm not ready yet. I really love those damn fur pillows.
It's hard to see, but that white elephant above the entryway is from Etsy. The butterflies are real butterflies that were mounted (by Ryan and I) in shadowboxes. The ship was a thrifting find, along with the red chair and the white sofa table (you can see it in a few pics below) that I repainted. It was originally black gloss and painted terribly.
That red poofy thing? That thing is ridiculous. I saw it, thought it was both hideous and intriguing, and left the store. Needless to say I couldn't stop thinking about it and brought it home the next day (I tend to do this often).
This is what it looks like when you come in through the front door and foyer. There's the table that I painted several times, until I finally realized that it would be perfect in white. The chairs on each side of the fire place are both thrifted. The green chair is velvet and was left as is. I painted the other chair metallic silver and reupholstered the chair with a burlap fabric. When I bought it, it was a dark wood with a very 60s orange and red fabric seat. Kinda cool, but definitely didn't work for what I wanted. It was $8 for the chair and maybe $10 for the materials to redo it. I really love when that happens.
Here's a little shot of the desk/filing cabinet in the corner of the room. Both are from Target. The alligator is a bank that I found thrifting and of course had to have. The chair was $8 and it's awesome. The fabric on the seat is a darker shade of red and perfectly faded.
And here's a little shot of the entrance. You can probably tell by now that I have a thing for graphic rugs. In fact, my favorite one isn't in any of these photos so I'll have to get on that. I have a really hard time not buying them when I see them.
I hope you like it! I am proud of it so far. If you have any suggestions on what I should do with the walls (paintings, mirrors, etc), feel free to leave a comment below!