Capitol City Visit

Capitol City Visit
Madison Wisconsin

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Northeast and Snow!

Part of me longs for those good ol' blizzards like the Northeast has had this winter, or more recently, this week! I grew up in Western New York and remember fondly, days spent off from school in the winter, in the snow! And I feel for those in Philly and Baltimore, both places in which I have lived and worked, knowing that the snow has all but crippled those cities! Our winters here in Wisconsin are cold, definitely very cold, with a good share of sub-zero days! However, the snow that falls here generally stays on the ground but there is nowhere the amount of snow or the effects of such a snow fall here, like the northeast has been experiencing. Thus, the longing for a good blizzard of my past, albeit, younger years! My thoughts are that they should enjoy the snow, take care of themselves while traveling and/or shoveling and take comfort in that spring should be less than a month away.

Well, after my first mid-week post pleading for people to be nice to each other; another very nice random act of kindness fell upon me! Another etsian, reading my post about being nice, featured my shop and the sale I was having, on their blog! I was touched and thrilled! The act restored my usually optimistic faith in the positive aspect of human nature! You can link to this blog using the button at the right for the searched and found or go here;
It is a great blog to keep up on some very unique handcrafted items and talented individuals!
Please leave Chaucee a comment if you visit to let her know how nice her gesture was!

Well, tomorrow is March first. The month is getting busier and busier as each day passes! I will be doing my very first "vendor" show at our local middle school. The booth space fee benefits the middle school students, so I figured that it was for a good cause and will be a small venue for me to "get the kinks" out of having a booth at such a gathering. So, I am busy getting ready for that as well as the upcoming gardening season. I need to decide whether to start plants inside or not, this year! Last year, I had the most success ever with starting seeds and am getting that "gardeners" itch to be dirty! Have a great week!



Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Let's be nice to each other!

Well, after a great week, last week....feeling friendly with the world, I'm feeling cynical this week. I decided to post here, as opposed to the etsy forums as I've had enough for a while.
As with all facets of life sometimes, people are just rude in the forums! Or you are ignored.
Hmmmm. I need a break from that!

On a positive note I have found a new (to me) photo editing program that has been fun to play with. It has been consuming entirely too much of my time! I'm in the throws of making my yearly gift calendars from our family pictures! It is always fun to look back over the adventures of the last year! I take lots, and lots of pictures. The program is Picasa by google and it's FREE!

On another downer, I have a great sale going on in my shop that hasn't had ANY response! It ends on the 28th. I have a special section of earrings for only $2.80 each pair! Today (2/24) only, I am offering FREE SHIPPING on these! Prices have already been reduced and shipping fees removed!

Maybe people think there is something wrong with these earrings! There isn't! Just making room for spring and summer stock! Go to my sale earring section in my shop and check them out yourself at; http://www.etsy.com/shop/CarolsJewelryOrchard?section_id=6683802

I thought I would post some pictures of some, too! Enjoy!

I'm off to get out in the bright winter sunshine we have today!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Joy of Reading.....

I won't have a long post today, as I have a nasty cold and am coughing a lot. I'm now headed into my second week of this thing. Yuck!

Anyway, I thought I would write a little about reading. I love to read and luckily, am raising children who love to read. My boys all read to me orally each day (well, my teenager doesn't ) and now, to themselves for lengthy periods each day (my teenager does). Each has genre's they like and are finding their own authors that they enjoy. But this weekend, I was looking for something my youngest (age 8) would enjoy on his own and with me. He is fortunate to read above grade level, so we can really delve into some good books. From the literal library, he has in his room, I pulled the classic, James and the Giant Peach off the shelf by Roald Dahl.

After only a few pages of reading to me, my son was enthralled. He was immediately taken in by the characters and possibilities of what could happen in this story. This was Friday. By yesterday afternoon, he asked to read it and by last night we had my 10 year old listening, as well. It was so enjoyable to read this classic book, a book I loved as a child, with my children. Neither one recall seeing the movie. For this I was glad, as I really didn't care for how the characters were portrayed in the movie version. But, I'm sure we will watch it again, after we finish the book.

I love reading with children. It opens such a vast world for them. I am an active volunteer at my sons' school with the reading curriculum and do a book club for a class that neither of my boy's are in anymore. It is so enjoyable to have this time with my boys each day and other children one to two times a week!

I think for a while my boys and I were reading some titles that weren't all that enjoyable, but a return to this classic has engaged us all. I can't wait until story time! Grab a child and read a classic! Or just read! It's important!

It made me laugh when I said to my youngest, "Oh, this book is one of my favorite books of all time", and he said, "Mom, every book is your favorite!". Maybe, that is so! I hope it will be for him!

FYI: I am having a couple of nice sales in my jewelry shop and this is the last week.
#1) A special section of earrings are only $2.80 each. You can view these at;
http://www.etsy.com/shop/CarolsJewelryOrchard?section_id=6683802

#2) I also have a Buy one, Get one 50% off sale going on, too! Buy any one item and choose any other item that is the same or less in price and save 50% off that item. Please read my shop announcements for details on this sale. Everything is eligible except the sale section of earrings!
Enter my shop here;
http://www.etsy.com/shop/carolsjewelryorchard

Thanks for reading and following. Have a good week!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Why do a treasury? It makes you feel good!

I've been a member of the etsy marketplace for 7 months now. It has been a great experience! Yes, there have been a few bumps here and there.....wondering if my creations will sell, having a non-paying buyer due to a glitch in the system, learning "how" to do first "this", then "that". But, I've really enjoyed it.

One of the things I didn't really "get" at first was the treasury. The treasury is a collage of items, centered around a theme that can feature one of your pieces of art and those of others. I have to admit that the first couple of times I did this, I was clueless. It took me forever to "find" the pieces I wanted to feature and didn't get much response, either in views or convos (etsy lingo for e-mails) from it all. But, I kept at it. Surprisingly, when I went back to look at the items I had "saved" in my favorites for the treasuries; many of them had sold since the treasury was posted! Ahhhh, I thought to myself; exposure! That's what the treasury is about.

Well, to me making treasuries are about exposure for my work and the awesome work of others, but it does have some other benefits! You see, I have learned that you can (and should) contact those you selected for your treasury. This way, they get to know their work is appreciated and many express appreciation for the treasury and/or your work, as well. It's about feeling good! It's about networking and support!

This past week I made a treasury using the works of polymer clay artists found on etsy. The treasury was colorful and well received. There are some awesome clay artists out there! I know I will be visiting some of their shops as a buyer in the next year! But what really impressed me was the kindness of those shop owners/artists! They seemed to really appreciate the efforts I made to put the treasury together! (And it really doesn't take me that long, anymore!) I feel like I really made a supportive connection with at least two of these fellow artists.

One has posted the entire treasury on her blog on February 12th. I'd love if you would check it out and then go check out her shop. The links are;

for the clay treasury
http://2goodclaymates.blogspot.com/2010/02/cool-treasury.html

for a shop with wonderful clay items
http://2goodclaymates.etsy.com/

The other artist has been working hard on the products and photography in her shop and it shows! The items are just beautiful, as are the pictures. The piece I featured from this shop sold while the treasury was posted! Boy, what a great feeling. Maybe, there's a small chance someone saw this piece in the treasury and bought it! Of course there's no way of knowing, but it does make one feel good. And I'm sure the sale felt good for mindfulmatters! Take a look at some other pieces from this artist at;
Tropical Seaspray Pendant
http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=40475162

mindfulmatters etsy shop at;
http://mindfulmatters.etsy.com/

So, I really enjoyed the treasury I made this week, but what I most enjoyed came after it! I felt connected to these other artists and appreciated. They were both so gracious to me that I had to write about it! I hope you find similar experiences in your artistic pursuits and contacts with other artisits. If you want to try and make a treasury, here is a link on how to do it for etsy;

http://www.etsy.com/storque/how-to/how-to-make-a-treasury-the-nuts-and-bolts-688/

Have a Great week!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Rainforest and Renewal

You probably guessed by my shop name; Carol's Jewelry Orchard, that I like to garden!

Well, I do! One of my most rewarding experiences in the last several years has been to teach elementary aged children about the natural world. I am a self-taught naturalist and conservationist, as well as being a Certified Master Gardener. I run a garden club for elementary aged students and have taught many of these students how to raise monarch butterflies, monarch habitat conservation, and how having a butterfly garden helps our environment. This is only a small part of the topics I explore each year with these school children. It is wonderful to be sharing in their amazement, as I help them explore our natural world. So often, as adults, we forget to "stop and smell the roses" or "notice the butterflies", as it applies here.

This week we are embarking on a new unit. We will be learning about the Tropical Rainforest. As I've done my research for this topic, I am captivated by the wealth of information both known and unknown about this part of our world. I was inspired to teach a unit on the rainforest after my recent trip to Maui. The rainforest there is beautiful. Definitely heaven for a plant lover!

Conducting this club helps to inspire my jewelry making as it offers me a chance to gather inspiration from the natural world and gather enthusiasm from the young students in learning something awesome and totally new! I'm in the process of wanting to learn some new techniques for my jewelry creations. Obviously, we don't always feel like learning something new but spring is coming and that is certainly a time of renewel....of our natural world and possibly our creative spirit. I strive to be like the young children in my garden club; enthusiastic, determined, awestruck, adventuresome, persevering, and definitely willing to learn new things!

Check out the pictures of the bamboo in the rainforest on Maui from my trip. And don't forget; I'm having a Buy One Get One 50% off sale all month in my etsy shop at;
http://carolsjewelryorchard.etsy.com
There are also a special section of earrings for only $2.80 each pair! Come and visit today!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Valentine Creations 2010
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Feeding the Bead Addiction....Where do you buy supplies?

I keep buying supplies......I always find that I "need" something! It got me wondering where other jewelry artists find and buy their supplies. I have been making jewelry for over six years and have found some favorite places for my supplies. What are yours?

I live in a relatively small area, not really close to a large metropolitan base with lots of options and choice. So, locally I frequent Michaels, Hobby Lobby, a fabric store, and an independent bead store called Beadazzling. Some items are fine for me to buy locally, with a fair price and high quality. But when I want diversity, I turn to the internet. There are several suppliers I like for my beads. They include Fire Mountain Gems and Art Beads. However, recently I have been exploring other outlets on the internet. I am interested in trying some new techniques and this lead me to exploring new supppliers.

Ebay and now, Etsy have been a source of bead supplies for me. There is a fused glass artist that I found several years ago on Ebay, based in Maryland, that I return to again and again. On etsy, I have found some suppliers of unique handcrafted polymer beads and other things that just aren't the same if you buy from a large outlet.

So, I guess I'm in a phase of exploration for my suppliers. I'm sure I'll return to my old standbys but I am looking forward to finding some new ones to fuel my new ideas! In the meantime, if you have a great supplier, comment and let me know. I've posted another slideshow with some of my recent creations that are also featured in my etsy shop, you can view the slide show above and check out other items in my shop at http://carolsjewelryorchard.etsy.com
I have a 28 days of February sale going on all month! Check it out for some great deals! A special section of earrings is now only $2.80 each pair!