Capitol City Visit

Capitol City Visit
Madison Wisconsin

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Hot New Creations.....Gone already! Wow!



Well, I don't know what happened between last night and today, but....... my blog page is acting strange! I just is taking forever to load! I hope it loads easily for you! My sister-in-law was just here to visit this week. She is one of my best jewelry customers and did some holiday shopping during her stay! (At my workbench)!!!!

Hot off the creative table; here are only a couple of pieces she bought! I hope the people she gives them to will really like them! They all have jewelry I have made already, so I know they appreciate my creations. In fact, one of the lucky giftees has been noted to say "I really appreciate Carol's sense of style and color"! And I'm told that another one of her friends wears one of my triple stranded pendant pieces almost daily! It certainly makes one feel good to know your pieces are worn and loved! If you might be interested in either piece or any custom piece, let me know; I can reproduce it for you as a custom order!

Be sure to check out my shop for the item of the day special, listed in my shop announcements. And today, 8/29/10, I am offering 20% off anything that has GREEN on it in my shop! I have quite a few GREEN pieces, so now is the time to buy! I will refund via paypal; just write blogpromo20 in message to seller box! Thanks!


I also recently got my first custom order for one of my Viking Goddess Rings; this one is to be very fall-ish with a dark pearl and copper wire. Pictures to come, soon!
Please contact me if you are interested in one of those, too!

Have a great week! Carol


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Item of the Day Movement....Save Simply!

Good Morning!

I did mix things up a little this week, with posting an article instead of my Wordless Wednesday post. Hopefully, I will be back to normal with my Sunday article/Wednesday Photography soon! I am craving a normal schedule! It seems so long since we've had one! The kids returning to school will help with that!

I wanted you all to know that I joined the Item of the Day Movement on the Etsy Forums. Each morning, I will post a new item of the day! That item will have its price slashed......sometimes up to 50%! The sale is only good for the day that item is featured.

How can you find out what item is featured for the day? Well, it's pretty easy. Go to my shop;
and then go to my shop announcement. Read it! Even if you need to click on the read more button; the item of the day link will be listed there! Click on the link and it will take you to the page of the item description!

The item of the day sale ends at 11pm EST each day. (10pm for all of us CST folks). It's simple; make the purchase before that time and you get the sale price! I will have already adjusted the price on the item of the day, so you don't even have to wait for a refund!

Save Simply with my Item of the Day!

So, why don't you try it out? I have a beautiful necklace listed for my item of the day right now! Thanks! I hope you have a great weekend!

Carol

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Time for Reading!

Time for school......Time for Reading!

The start of the school year is almost upon us here in Wisconsin. I know that in other parts of the country, children have already returned to their desks. It brings to mind how very, very important reading is! I love to read. I love to learn. My children don't get too much of a break over the summer as I keep them "tuned up" with various worksheets on math and language arts. However, I feel strongly that the most important thing on can do for one's child is to read to them or read with them. Every child needs this every day. One must make time to do it!

All of my children are readers. We try to read to each other daily. Over the summer, we have read some excellent children's novels. These have included; Esperanza Rising, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Charley Skedaddle, Cricket in Times Square, The Lemonade Trick, and Stuart Little. There have been others, too. Those are the most memorable. The books are memorable because of their stories being captivating. They are memorable because in reading them; they embody time spend with my children.

Some of the stories take place in a different time. Charlie Skedaddle takes place during the civil war. Esperanza Rising takes place in the 20th century but unfolds a tale of Mexican immigrants and the struggle one young girl makes with her "new " life here in America. Island of the Blue Dolphins is a beautiful story about a young girl in the South Pacific that has to learn to survive on her own for most so of her life on a deserted island. I was shocked to learn at the end of this story that it represents the story of Robinson Crusoe. Of course, Stuart Little is a classic children's tale by E.B. White. We really enjoyed how different the whole novel seemed from the movies about this character. Cricket in Times Square is aptly named for the events in that book. And the Lemonade Trick is a delightful story about a young boy, a magic set, and what you can accomplish if the "magic" turns out to be real! It is a fun and entertaining read.

Above all the books give you a chance, as a parent, grandparent, or caregiver to talk about life issues, the struggles or joys one encounters in life, how people's lives were different during different times in our history, and reinforce the values that are important to you as a family.

I ran into one of our favorite teachers in the mall last week. I have done a book club for her for the last 2 years and did one some years ago, also. I was absolutely thrilled when she asked if I wanted to do the book club again, this year! I most certainly will do this! I love to read! I love to help children learn to read and understand what they are reading! I gives me a sense of contribution and satisfaction to have such an important role in the development of such an important life skill............reading!

Read to your child......grandchild........or any child.............daily!

Thanks and have a great week! Carol

I have some wonderful pewter beaded bookmarks in my shop.
These make great teacher presents! Please come and check them out! http://carolsjewelryorchard.etsy.com

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Local Festivals; Kornfest!

Well, this weekend our town is having its annual fest! We have a corn fest, but it is creatively spelled Kornfest! It does make our little town in West Central Wisconsin, hop!

For us, the event really signifies the end of summer.......school will be starting again very soon! We usually attend the fireworks that kind of usher in the event on Friday night. This year was no different. It was a good show but we did miss the explosives being accompanied by music as they have done in some year's past. We attended we our neighbors, who have lived here a few years but never have been to this fireworks display. It was a nice, warm, summer night and very crowded!

Saturday, found us attending the parade in the morning to watch our high schooler march with the band. Getting into the drop off zone for the parade line up is always a major challenge and accomplishment if done in time to return to actually watch the parade! Our course, there is a carnival and games. Some of us attended that as well! And just in case you're wondering there is lots of corn! This year, it was 75 cents an ear! But it usually is very yummy! We do need to support the local farmers and economy, after all! Finally, we just can't seem to get away without eating a funnel cake! It was a sobering observation to realize that none of our waistlines need to experience the festival foods that are in abundance!

After those activities we found that we had enough festing. Today, we stayed out of the fray.....none of us like crowds too well. It is crowded and today, hot!

When we first moved to Wisconsin, some of our new neighbors laughed at our zeal to attend the local carnivals in our town and nearby towns. However, by doing so, we found which festivals we liked and which we didn't. We got a flavor of local Wisconsin and what is celebrated here. Over the years, we have stopped going to many, but it was a good experience to go! Those particular neighbors have long since moved, but admitted to us that they took our example and tried the many local festivals shortly after arriving in their new town, on the West Coast.

So, as Kornfest winds down, so does summer. Fall will be upon us soon, with the dazzling autumnal colors and cool, crisp mornings! I can hardly wait!

In honor of Kornfest, all of my Viking named jewelry pieces are 25% off through tomorrow morning, at 8am CST. These include special orders on the Viking Goddess Rings; so take a peek in my shop for these pieces at;

Thanks, and have a great week! Carol

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Butterflies Galore!




In one of my earlier posts, I described how my family raises monarch butterflies each summer. Please see post dated 6/30/10.

Today, we had 5 Monarch Butterfly births!

This whole process is so amazing.....we never tired of watching it! This is our seventh summer!
I am posting a few of my favorite pictures.........and at least one from today's excitement!

We had three boy butterflies and two girls! It was a beautiful, dry, hot day here in Wisconsin; so it didn't take them long to pump up their wings, dry out, and fly away!

Oh, and we always name our hatchlings!

Let me introduce you to Vincent, Gabe, Violet, Viola, and Veronica!

Please enjoy the photos! Comments are always appreciated! And FYI, please look for the top photo to be added to my etsy shop, as available to purchase as Fine Art Photography!

You can view my items at; http://carolsjewelryorchard.etsy.com

Have a great day! Carol

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

One Day Sale Orange25; Get Ready for Autumn






Sale announcement;

Get ready for Autumn Sale in my shop, today 8/18/10 only!

Save 25% on anything with the color orange on it! Today, only!

You'll get an immediate refund via paypal once the transaction is completed!

There is a lot to choose from! Take your pick! There is more in the shop, too!

Thanks!



Sunday, August 15, 2010

Visit my newest Jewelry Creations and Giveaway Opportunity!



Well, today I am going to show you a couple of my newest creations. These pieces were made with beads bought in the Craft Barn at the YMCA of the Rockies last month! Page down to see my post about Crafting on Vacation!

I'm showing you these for two reasons;
1) I said that I would show what I created with some of the beads from my trip and
Both pieces are available and described in detail in my shop (see link below).
2) I want to make you aware of a special opportunity you have to win $25.00 of FREE merchandise from my shop!

From August 10th- September 9th, my shop is being featured on www.etsystalker.com
This is a curated gallery (you must be accepted to the shadowbox feature to be shown). There are 17 great artists (not just jewelry) being showcased. Most of the shops, including mine, are offering a give away! The directions for each shop's giveaway is posted on their shadowbox page.

Mine directions are simple;
1) go to my shadow box at; http://etsystalker.com/?page_id=11479

2) page down and leave a comment about your favorite piece on my shadow box or in my shop

3) you may leave a comment everyday to be entered more times (more chances to win).

4) if you follow my blog or sign up to follow my blog now, you may write a second comment on the shadow box that you are a blog follower. Same thing applies if you tweet about my shop or the shadow box. Come back to the comment page and post that. However, you only get one extra entry per blog following or tweeting. (You can tweet as much as you want but please, only post one comment about doing so! It only gets you one extra entry)!

Thanks! I hope you participate and win! The drawing will be on September 3rd by random.org and I will announce the winner on my shadow box comment section, September 4th.
Good Luck!

The other shadow boxes can accessed here; http://etsystalker.com/?page_id=11164
by clicking on the shop's featured piece in the main gallery.
Check them all out; there are some really talented artists and great giveaways!

I also wanted to let all my local followers know that I recently made a delivery to Coaches Corner in Holmen, Wisconsin of my Sports Themed Necklaces. These necklaces are made exclusively for Coaches Corner! Stop by the store and take a look! The picture above the post is of these pieces! Fall sports are featured; girls tennis and volleyball both with sterling charms, basketball and wrestling with pewter charms. Most of the necklaces have sun rock japser or gray-pink jasper semi-precious gemstones. If you have a special desire for one of these necklaces (perhaps in a different color combination), please contact me via the comment section or my shop page at; http://carolsjewelryorchard.etsy.com

Cabin Chic in Osseo, Wisconsin will be carrying a line of my Viking Goddess Rings.
Those are pictured above, as well.

Thank you for reading! As you know, I do not always promote my jewelry on this blog. My last post is on Harnessing Energy and includes a book review! If you have not read it, please take a look!
Have a great week! And good luck with my giveaway!
Carol





Thursday, August 12, 2010

Harnessing Energy! We have to do it!





Electricity.......Did you ever really think about it?

Yesterday, we found that we were without power for about 2 hours mid-morning. During that time, I rapidly discovered how much we use it and take it for granted! I must have flicked the light switches in each room I entered as I travelled around my house multiple times! The laundry room switch must have been used 15 times alone! As I began grousing to myself about why I even needed to turn on the lights (there was no need....it was light out and the laundry room has a sky light), I started wondering why the power was off and when it would come back on.

So, I turned on the T.V. ! What a loser! Now, I am an intelligent woman and know the T.V. works on electricity. Then, about 9:30am, I needed my mid-morning coffee break........Well, obviously, the coffee maker works on electricity! No coffee! Now, this whole experience was beginning to make me crabby! Keep in mind, the power has only been out an hour by this time.

I decided to go to the local coffee house to get that caffeine that I seemed to need so badly! And, I thought that maybe, I would find out if the whole town was out or it was just us! Well, the whole town was out! No coffee at the coffee house, just iced tea! Not what I wanted! Home, I went. Oh, and I forgot to tell about trying multiple times to use the garage door opener! Electric, of course! Again, a loser! Again, an electricity junkie! Who knew?!

The power actually came on a short time later. It was really only out for about 2 hours. It felt a lot longer! We really depend on electricity for everything these days! I had done some thinking about electricity earlier this summer. You see, on both of our driving trips this summer, we saw wind turbines. Fasinating, huge, tall, white structures turning gently in the wind........all while generating power! My family thinks they are fabulous! We passed them in Illinois and in Minnesota. Some on our trip back East to visit family and some on our trip West for vacation. Now, I hear there will be a wind farm here in South West Wisconsin!

Interestingly enough, while I was in a waiting room yesterday, right after the power outage, I had the good fortune to read the latest copy of National Geographic Magazine (July 2010). There was a huge article on "The Grid" and our use of energy here in the U.S.. It was an interesting article and I learned a few things. Here's one; the state of Texas is producing far more electricity in wind turbines than can be used, right now! There is not enough "grid" to support it! Wow! I'd highly recommend reading this article if this subject interests you.

Perhaps, all this interest in energy was initiated by a book I read earlier this summer. It is called City of Light by Lauren Belfer, 1999. This is a phenomenal story of turn of the century Buffalo. The genre is historical fiction and the story, although a murder mystery, does involve the harnessing of energy......that of Niagara Falls! It is a fabulous read! Having lived in the Buffalo/Niagara Falls area for some of my adult life, I found this story fascinating! Here is the link to a google review;

So, I'd encourage all of us to think about electricity! How much we use it. How we can conserve it. And how we can harness it! Enjoy the pictures of the wind turbines........if you have a chance to witness these fascinating machines in action; I'm sure it will start you thinking about the power of Electricity!

Have a great week! Carol

All photographs copyrighted by Carols Jewelry Orchard.
No permission to reproduce. Thanks.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Too many hobbies......time for writing! Seriously!

I just got home from a weekend away at our cabin in the Wisconsin Northwoods! And a fabulous weekend, it was! Our neighbors joined us (with their five kids in tow) and we really enjoyed all the Northwoods has to offer. We are getting to know our neighbors.....or rather, I am. I tend to be reserved and hang back longer than my husband, who is now involved in remodelling their kitchen! But, as the course of the weekend progressed, different topics were explored as topics of the conversational, get to know you! Eventually, the conversation ended up on writing.

Okay, now you all are thinking, this is Carol talking about writing her blog. Well, it wasn't! You see, I've always had a desire to write. And I've started many stories and written some non-fiction pieces in their entirety! I happen to like to write! And yes, I think that is somewhat unusual! I think writing can serve many purposes. It can be cathartic, it can be creative, it can be searching, or explorative. I like all forms of writing! I even still send snail-mail letters, when I have the time!

I've long had a desire to write and then, be published! I think that would be fabulous! To be able to say, I have a published book or story or article, would be a goal accomplished for me. And I've tried to work at it! I do realize that writing is something (like a craft) that has to be practiced and refined until, maybe, you finally get it right!

But, it is a craft that is hard to practice! I have made many attempts to write daily (not, at all, including my blog), somehow life always gets in the way! And I know the publishing world is hard....probably one of the hardest there is to crack! That may also stand in my way. But, I continue to love writing! And in explaining that to my new friend (my neighbor), I did admit that writing is something that I desire but know I really need to commit time to, seriously! She was floored to learn that I have several stories "in the works" and just have not "worked" on them for well over a year! The ideas are there, the work has not been!

On our way home from the "cabin" I was thinking, I do just need to commit some time to the craft of writing! I need to return to the story I started for middle-elementary readers and work on it. My children think it's good.....and so, it may be! I won't know unless I devote some time to it!

Obviously, that means time away from my jewelry! I don't know if I can do that! After all, we are headed into a busy time of year for crafts! I hosted a successful home show last year, and hope to again this fall! So, I am going to try, but we'll have to see! I know my blog is helping me to write (seriously) at least a couple times a week. That is a step in the right (write) direction! Thank you for reading it!

Have a great week! Carol

Monday, August 2, 2010

What's the story? Creating unique pieces of jewelry, with a purpose.




I have often read that it is wise to "tell a story" when you list a piece of jewelry on etsy. Now, I usually don't do that, I have to admit. However, once in a while, a piece of jewelry is inspired by something extraordinary. I have decided to share one such experience with you in a new series called......What's the story? .....that I will run periodically.

The first piece I will share with you is the story of the FAITH bracelets that I make. No, there isn't one available in my shop right now. I'll explain the reason for that in a little bit.

The making of my first FAITH bracelet was inspired by a woman in California that I have never met! She had bought a few pieces of jewelry from me off of Ebay and custom ordered several more. After she had a few pieces of my jewelry, she e-mailed me to ask if I could make her a bracelet that said FAITH on it. She wanted it very understated but left the rest up to me, as far as design. I had no idea why she wanted it. All I knew of her is that she led a bible group and had special ordered bracelets for that group as Christmas presents. So, I came up with a design that met with her overwhelming approval as she stated that "I had read her mind" and it was exactly what she wanted. This bracelet is pictured with the black and gray beads on the red background. Almost a full year later, she contacted me about making one for her sister. She wanted it exactly the same, but I made it slightly different. During the course of that year, I had occasional emails from this woman who, I eventually learned, had a husband dying of cancer. She was my age. She had a son the age of one of my sons. I was more than happy to provide something that might comfort her in this very sad time in her life. Thus, the birth of my FAITH bracelet.

Another year went by. Another FAITH bracelet. We became close to one of my son's teachers. She was going through a tough situation regarding the health of an immediate family member. She was doing her best to be supportive, but I could tell she was wracked with concern. At the end of the school year, while the situation was still unresolved; I made her a FAITH bracelet. This was a present. This was my way of supporting a very supportive person and also thanking her for being a great teacher. This bracelet is the crystal copper and golden pearl FAITH bracelet picture. The bracelet was lovingly received. Fortunately, the health concerns were alleviated, too!

Although making these bracelets has been well received, they don't do well when I post them for sale. Therefore, I almost never post them now. I have the materials. I just don't seem to have a desire to make them unless there seems to be a need. For me, they symbolize FAITHFULNESS.

It recently came to me that part of the need to make these bracelets is therapy for myself. A few short weeks ago, upon returning home from vacation, we learned that a sweet teenager we had known, died from an inoperable brain tumor. She had known my son when they were in grade school and we knew their family. Unbelievably, to me, my first response to the news that she had passed away was to make her mother a FAITH bracelet. It then, became obvious to me, that this was a therapeutic activity for myself! This one is pictured with the lapis lazuli stones and blue crystals. I have sent it to the young girl's mom, in hopes that she might use it to remind her to let her FAITH get her through this time of grief and sadness just as she let her FAITH get her through her daughter's illness. Making and giving this bracelet was one of the ways I chose to try and understand this sad situation.

So, that is the story of my FAITH bracelets. I hope you like them. They all have significant meaning for me. They have all been bought or more recently, given, to women who have already possessed FAITH. Thank you for listening to my story on creating a unique piece of jewelry for a purpose!

Oh, and my neighbor now has one too......but her name is FAITH!
Have a good week! Carol