Capitol City Visit

Capitol City Visit
Madison Wisconsin

Friday, April 30, 2010

Passing It On....Sunshine!


Well, I am sorry that it has taken me all week to pass on the sunshine award that was given to me by Plantress! Spring gardening, special orders, and life in general has kept me busy this week. Not to mention that I have honkus-of-the bonkus! I need to stop coughing at night so I can sleep!
Ugh!

Below you will find the links to the blogs that I am passing the sunshine award on to;











Now, I know I am supposed to list 12 but I am relatively new to blogging and these are the blogs that I have continued to be entertained or inspired by. I didn't want to list more, just for the sake of listing 12. These blogs are the ones I really feel deserve the sunshine award! All of the recipients are highly talented individuals. Please visit their blogs and shops and tell them so! Many are also great community members and have been very supportive of my shop with giveaways, free or paid advertisements, features, or just plain old, but very much appreciated, words of encouragement! Thanks to all of them.

Lastly, a plug for my own shop;
I am having a PEARLS20 Sale, now through Monday, May 3rd at 8am CST. Please stop and check it out at:

My pearls20 sale means you get 20% off any purchase with pearls on it (freshwater, cultured, or glass). I sold the piece above last night! Check out the labelled pearl pieces at the right for more choices eligible for this sale. You will receive a refund via paypal or you can convo me for a revised invoice. Either way you save 20%! Just in time for mother's day! Mom's love pearls! Please be aware that the discount does not include shipping.

Rules for the sunshine award: (I guess it comes with strings!!!)

1. Must notify the winner within a blog post.

2. Must pass on to 12 (?) blogs of your choice

3. Put the logo on your blog within a post

4. Link the nominees within your post

5. Share the love and link to the person who sent you this award
Okay...I'm off to notify the winners! Have a great Saturday! The sun is out in Western Wisconsin and it is beautiful...... Tune in tomorrow for more gardening tales! Carol :)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sunshine Award!


Great News! My blog has been awarded the sunshine award by Plantress!

Thanks so much! I am honored that she finds some "sunshine" from reading my blog posts!
Check out the button with the huge red daisy! Isn't it sunny? :)

Part of receiving this award is to pass it on to others. I will be posting those that I choose so that my blog readers can check them out, too! I already know a few blogs I'll honor with the sunshine award! There are a lot of great blogs and people behind the blogs out there!

In the meantime, thanks again, to Plantress. Be sure to check out her blog at:

If you page down on her blog, she does a great explanation of how she set up a pearl sale test display! Very detailed! I wish she had gotten more customers but....if you read the entire post, it all turns out well in the end! Congrats, Plantress! I guess we have that in common; we both love pearls!

You can check out some of my pearl creations at;

Or the pearl creations of plantress at:

We have decidedly different styles but both are lovely. After all everyone has different taste!
Come on, take a look!

I'll be returning later with some of the blogs I'll pass this award on to! Good Day, All! :)
Carol

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day!!!

Well, I am sore! I'm sore from all the weeding I have done over the last few days!

We have had an absolutely beautiful, sunny, dry spring here in Western Wisconsin!

That means.....everything is green and yes, even the weeds are healthy and green! My husband has been working hard here around our yard, weeding and mulching and even pruning our fruit trees! Me.....I took off to our local elementary school to weed our butterfly garden! I facilitate a garden club there for the students.

The garden really needed the attention, as it always does, after a cold Wisconsin winter! In the next month, I'll take about 25 elementary children and plant this garden with the nectar plants needed for the monarchs and other butterflies that visit our neighborhood. The milkweed plants have germinated! Yeah! This means that the monarchs can arrive any time and there will be the host plants for them to lay their eggs and have their larva eat! I love monarchs! They fascinate me! They are incredible creatures. I have read so much about them and have raised them for the last six years that I feel very comfortable speaking about their life cycle, habits, and migrations! In fact, this past Tuesday, in addition to weeding at school, I spoke to a classroom of second graders about this very subject! It is always a joy to see the amazement on their faces when we talk of the incredible journey these amazing creatures take! They also adore seeing the multitude of photographs I have of milkweed, the caterpillars, the chrysalis (pupa), and of course, the beautiful adult butterfly!

In 2008, our school garden was certified by Monarch Watch as a Monarch Way Station! And this past fall, our group participated in the Monarchs in Space Project through Monarch Watch. This was a great way to show the children the entire Monarch Life Cycle during the school year! You can check out the Monarchs In Space project on the Monarch Watch Website at:

And I don't know of any other site that does a better job of following Monarch Migration than Journey North. I will be reporting my milkweed germination tomorrow and hopefully, a monarch sighting in the next month! You can view weekly updates on the Spring Monarch Migration and more at:

So, you can see that Earth Day truly has meaning for me! I am a self-proclaimed conservationist and nature-lover. I like to think that I am making a small difference in our world by insuring a habitat for these beautiful pollinators and planting seeds of caring and knowledge in the children I teach about gardening and butterflies! Happy Earth Day!

I'll leave you with a couple of my favorite pictures of these wonderful creatures! Please visit my shop at; http://carolsjewelryorchard.etsy.com for some nature inspired jewelry and bookmarks featuring butterflies, frogs, and dragonflies.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Gardening Anyone?

Well, my plans for this week include some gardening. It is only mid- April and I already feel that I've put it off long enough! My front perennial bed (new last year) is already full of huge dandelion foliage! I will be getting out some round-up for those! I tried digging some out but the tap roots are already too long! They'll just come back! A positive note for that bed is that finally, I have some tulips! For years young rabbits have found my tulips and I got to the point of just not planting them. But, for some reason, I did decide to try again and planted some late last fall.Probably just because I'm a sucker for plants on sale and bought some tulip bulbs that way. Anyway, they are beautiful!

After I take care of that bed at my own house, I need to head over to school and weed our butterfly garden bed there! Each year I help a group of elementary students care for this one bed at school. It is time to weed it and start preparing for spring planting! I always know when it is time to do this when I am embarrassed to walk by the garden! It is definitely time! I have felt the embarrassment for two weeks now! It does always make me feel good to weed this bed and know that "I'm giving back to our community and school".

I am anxious for the week to begin. I have several exciting promos going on on some other blogs and will post about those tomorrow! Thanks for reading and happy gardening!


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Promoting!!!! Me, Myself, and I!

Wow! What a beautiful day in Wisconsin!

The sun is out, it is going to be near 80 today! I've already been out in my gardens weeding!

I have decided to write about promoting! Promoting oneself, that is! This is something that has always been hard for me! Of course, when you are trying to sell something; promotion is absolutely essential. I'm learning how to do it, what works for me and what doesn't, and having some fun along the way!

First let me update you on one of my ventures from my last post! I spoke of creating a new line of sports necklaces for a local store. Well, that has gone extremely well. The owner and I have been in close contact and she has sold almost everything I took her. I am currently working on a second batch of necklaces for her shop! We both have been thrilled with the sales! Obviously,
I took a chance when I stepped into her shop in early March to "promote" my jewelry, but it was worth it (for both of us)!

I also bought ad space on a popular life style blog for the months of March, April and May. Now, almost half way through my paid time I can say that this has not been the best investment. The blog is beautiful and it has driven a little more traffic to my shop (1-2 persons/day) but that's all and no sales. Although I liked the thought of more visibility, this blog is apparently not the best place for my jewelry "promotions". However, I remain faithfully optimistic that it may change in the next six weeks! I am awaiting a feature segment on this blog and hopefully, that will help things along!

I also took advantage of an opportunity to have a feature on another blog if I was willing to give something away! So, starting the 18th, I will be featured on http://www.heavenlysavings.blogspot.com/
Please stop by and check out what Krista is giving away from my shop and others!

I guess I've always found self-promotion hard because it involves tooting one's own horn. And I was always taught; modesty is the best policy! But, if I do say so myself, I've had a great week.

These are the things that have happened this week (and yes, I'm tooting my own horn)!
1) Completed my first custom order on etsy! Yeah! You may view the Earthy Swarovski & Sterling SISTERS Bracelet next to my post!

2) Received a call from a shop that I previously had consignment jewelry in about viewing new pieces for direct sales!

3) Was approached about making custom labels for 2 stores by an ebay customer! She received a piece of my jewelry with one of my custom tags and was thrilled with the classiness and quality!

4) Selling Sports Necklaces as part of a new line at a local shop and receiving another order!

5) Receiving the nicest compliment from a repeat customer about my jewelry (working on getting permission to use as a testimonial)!

Well, as you can see, I am energized by things proceeding so nicely. Is it from self-promotion?
Some of the events are; some are just the result of consistently providing a high quality product, standing behind my work, great customer service, and networking! Or maybe, I'm just getting more comfortable and confident at self-promotion!

Thanks for stopping by to read my post! Have a great SUNNY week! Carol

Monday, April 5, 2010

New Ventures!

A couple of weeks ago, I entered a new phase of my jewelry making. I have decided to make less but more high quality items and learn some new techniques. This is how it is going so far.....

I know a owner of a local sporting goods shop. I went to talk to her about having my pieces in her shop. Surprisingly enough she has been looking for someone to put some sports themed necklaces in her shop for a while. She did have a person who did it but that person doesn't make them anymore. So, in mid-March, I took her 8 necklaces with local spring sports pendants and 6 bracelets with our high school name and date (2010) on them. We decided that we could do consignment and she could pay me as they sold. Well, I got a nice surprise after being gone on a trip for a week. I came home and she has sold two of the eight necklaces and cut me a check for all of the pieces! Whoo-hoo!!!!

Another new venture of mine was to contact the owners of a shop that I previously had consignment pieces with. They have stopped taking pieces on consignment from anyone (for reasons that could be a whole different post) from anyone. I had been successful in their store and wanted to see if they would take pieces wholesale from me. They seemed interested in that. So, I wrote up a proposal for 4 different pieces that I could make and sell to them wholesale. I included pictures of all the pieces. I mailed that just before my trip and am waiting to hear back!

I have started to learn new techniques. The first is making resin pendants. The first one I made turned out great. It is of a picture of a monarch butterfly that I took and placed in an antiqued brass frame and then used the resin. The picture looks great and did not bleed. I have tried a few more for a bracelet but unfortunately a few of the pictures have bled. I think it's the elmers glue I used to hold the picture in place. I am pretty sure that I used double sided tape to hold the monarch picture in place and that was the difference. I'll keep experimenting with this! More on this and other new techniques later!

Lastly, I have my first custom order through etsy! I am making a sterling silver cube sisters bracelet with earthy swarovski crystal colors! I have a sisters bracelet in my shop that the customer liked but wanted more earthy colors to it. I am almost done with it and will mail my first picture of the piece to her today! I am excited about this! I have done custom work before and have always found it satisfying! I'm thrilled to have a piece custom ordered through etsy!

As always, check out my shop for unique, high-quality, handcrafted jewelry pieces. I also have a sale section with some great deals. You can view my shop at: http://carolsjewelryorchard.etsy.com