Capitol City Visit

Capitol City Visit
Madison Wisconsin

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Planning for Summer.......Now!

Well, I finally have that list on my kitchen counter whittled down to only a few items. For weeks now, I have had a running list of things I need to get scheduled! Here is a sample of what my list looked like;

Register and Pay for AP exams- high school (done)
Register for Youth Options- (college courses for high schoolers) (done)
Sign up for Summer Sports at Park and Rec (done)
Sign up for Summer activity classes (can't until 4/4/11)
Get National History Day sponsor (done)
Schedule vacations
-decide where (still undone)
Turn in teenagers work schedule for summer (done)
-(around our schedule)
Organize digital picture files (undone and there's more than 8,000 of them)
Invite friends to High School Spring Musical Performance (done)
Put important dates on family calendar (done)
-state solo ensemble, forensics, AP exams, National History Day performance
Check with relatives coming to visit (done)
Clean closets (done)
Submit Juried art show applications by 3/31/11 (done----show is in July).

As you can see, I have been busy and I will be busy! Living in a relatively small suburban/rural community, activities fill up fast. I have learned, through trial and error, that I need to plan our summer March! Ugh! Sometimes, that is harder than it sounds. You need to realize this is more that just a list.....each item involves important decisions on the part of several family members, as well as, coordination of dates, times, and available transportation efforts. Sometimes, yes....I am being a mom here, I really have to push to get those decisions made!

But, I feel like I am finally getting through most of it! The list was daunting when I first made it but now, not so bad when I look at what's left. It's manageable! All this activity (and I really try not to over schedule) will keep my children busy and not bored over the summer months. I also try to squeeze in some school work a couple times a week to keep them up to speed for fall. Now, I can start looking for the workbooks for that..........although that is a job that I enjoy because it entails going to the bookstore!

Maybe, I'll get around to organizing my pictures soon, too. Probably not! Next week brings setting up a local display of my jewelry at a business, holding a meeting of a committee I chair, leading the garden club at our local elementary school (we are exploring worms), expecting company, and attending the high school musical! Someday, I'll get around to those 8,000 pictures! :) The picture I featured is of the snow that was still on the ground in northern Wisconsin this past weekend, from last week's storm!

Piled high, but with Blue Skies! There sure won't be sledding in the summer!

What's keeping you busy?
I'd love to hear! Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Workspace......better than ever!

I forgot that our blog frenzy posts were to be on sharing about our workspace this week and prepared to write about chicken wings! Oh, well.....Another day, another post!

My workspace has evolved over the seven years I have been making handcrafted jewelry! Part of the evolution was necessary as we moved into a different house almost four years ago.

When I started jewelry making, I had a small 4x4 foot table in our walk-in closet of our Master Bedroom. The closet was a space for myself, and peaceful, away from my then, young, children but it also did not have any windows and poor lighting. However, I was able to make several nice pieces in that closet and begin selling on consignment.

Eventually, I found that I needed to have some better lighting with which to make my handcrafted jewelry! I made myself a workspace at our dining room, that had an East facing window. Yes, the light was better but the dining room was open on two sides; one to our foyer and one to the hallway to the powder room on the main level of our colonial style home. So, my problem there became being out in the open. If I didn't complete a project in one sitting, I had to leave all of my supplies, tools, and beads out. My workspace was there for all to see (good and bad) when you entered my home! Being a compulsively neat and somewhat private person, this bothered me! I felt like I was leaving a mess behind (albeit, a creative mess) every time I left the work station.

Almost four years ago, we moved into a different house. This house had a large lower level with many windows.........lots of natural light. It also had a bedroom, tucked away in the back (without windows) that I immediately thought would be a great workspace because I knew I could shut the door and keep my mess to myself, but be able to return to a project. I must have forgotten about the need for light, as I claimed this spot for my jewelry making! Well, the workspace never got started there. I did use the room for storage of my supplies, but began to use the old dining room table that was now in front of the many windows (again facing east) in our lower level. I love working in the natural light. However, even though my work was not visible to all upon enter into my house, it was visible immediately upon coming down the stairs to the lower level! Again, I was left with feeling I was leaving a mess!

It was actually my husband who noticed that we had a large built in bar area (used as a full, in-law kitchen when the first owners lived here) that was going to waste. There were numerous cupboards, a large counter top, room for storage, electrical outlets, and even a sink! The counter top sits below and behind the actual bar top, so I can leave my work out but no one actually sees it because it is behind the bar! There is overhead lighting and the workspace is in the same area as our evening family TV viewing area. So, I can be with everyone, if I choose to create while watching a show! It is also very private, during the day, when I can become lost in my work or blast some music that only I seem to appreciate!

This unused bar area (well, I have been known to have a glass of wine there), has been my workstation for about two years now! I love it. It is messy (a little). I can leave my projects out
(I always have one in progress). And it has lent itself to the creation of many beautiful, one of a kind pieces!

So, there you have it! If you have an unused bar area in your home, I highly recommend converting it to a hobby/workstation area! It has worked incredibly well for my creations from Carol's Jewelry Orchard! Please visit my etsy site at; to see some of these creations!

If I have your name to the right on my blog, please add my name to your Promotional Frenzy Team list on yours. I am still working on adding all team members names. You do not feel like you need to add me, until I have added yours! Thanks.

Happy Creating!

P.S. I am going to try and take a few pictures, so if you read this before they are posted, please feel free to stop back and see the pictures! Obviously, the pictures of my chicken wings don't fit the subject today! :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Wisconsin Capital in Calmer Days- Fine Art Photgraphy

The future of our educational system here in Wisconsin and the resulting effects on my children, as well as others, has been causing me a number of sleepless nights. Here is a beautiful picture of the Capital Building in Madison from a number of years ago, while visiting on a school field trip. The photograph is available for purchase through my etsy shop at;

Thanks! Have a great week!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick........Patron Saint of Ceramic Engineers!

For all you potters, ceramists, and others involved in some form of clay building, ........St. Patrick's Day is a day you can celebrate for reasons other than being Irish! Did you know that St. Patrick is the patron Saint of Ceramic Engineers? Well, he is!

While I realize this is an odd bit of information, I have known it for 30 years! You see, I met my husband when he was a ceramic engineering student! We went to the same University and every March, the University having a College of Ceramic Engineering, celebrated St. Patricks' Day in a huge way! The whole town (very small college town) turned green for a weekend! There was a parade, a dance, and of course, green beer at the pub! It was a lot of fun. And even though I'm not Irish in any way, St. Patrick's Day always takes me back to our University campus full of life and everything Green! It always makes me smile. This year, especially, makes me nostalgic as we begin to talk to my high schooler about college choices! (Where does the time go?)

St. Patrick helped bring Christianity to Ireland, many centuries ago. Dublin was built up during his time there with many stone and mortar buildings. It is said that he developed the mortar to hold the stones together. Thus, St. Patrick became the Patron Saint of Ceramic Engineers!

I'm not sure how much the University celebrates St. Patrick's Day anymore, although the College of Ceramic Engineering at Alfred University is alive and well! It was a very rowdy, sometimes, drunken weekend for the town. I know the parade stopped being held shortly near the end of our tenure there. However, since neither my husband or I were damaged or caused damage, during these St. Pat's celebrations, I will hold on fondly to my memories of celebrating the Patron Saint of Ceramic Engineers!

For other ways AU is going green check this link;

Have a GREAT St. Patrick's Day!
And when you see a beautiful old stone church or building, say a little thanks to St. Patrick, Ceramic Engineer!


Monday, March 14, 2011

Select Item Sale for 3/14/11

Very briefly; My Select Item Sale Feature for today, 3/14/11, is one of my Viking Goddess Necklaces. Made from Swarovski Glass Pearls and Crystals in a Mossy Green color, this is a must have accessory for spring 2011.

Was $35.00, Now this one of a kind, handcrafted piece of jewelry is only $28.00! Today, only!

There are matching earrings, too! These are only $16.00

You can have both for under $50.00! WOW!
Or you can convo me about a matching Viking Goddess Ring or Bracelet to match, custom made for you!

Happy Shopping! Sale ends at 10pm CST tonight!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Passing on The Versatile Blogger Award!!!

The Versatile Blogger Award!!!

I woke up Saturday morning to find that I had been given the Versatile Blogger award! What a thrill! My first award for blogging/writing! Maybe this is a good sign, as I get ready to send in about 20 elementary student poems to a writing contest!

Leah R. Hood, a fellow etsian, jewelry artist, and member of the promotional frenzy team on etsy awarded me the Versatile Blogger Award! She makes gorgeous, special occasion jewelry and her links can be found my previous blog post (from yesterday). Thanks again, Leah!

*Thank the person who awarded you and link back to them in your post.
*Tell 7 Random facts about yourself.
*Pass the award on to 15 new found bloggers.
*Contact each blogger you want to pass the award on to and let them know you've done so, and let the
giver of your award know you accept it.

Seven Random Facts about myself:
1) I have two cats named Lewis and Clark, after the explorers!
2) I have been to Niagara Falls over 2 dozen times! (Both the Canadian and U.S. sides)
3) I have a Master's degree in Nursing! Yep! That's right!
4) I love gladiolus!
5) I need to get an adequate amount of sleep to remain healthy!
6) I am a night "writer", often laying in bed thinking of how to "write" something or express my thoughts.
7) I like to read historical fiction.

The blogs I'd like to pass The Versatile Blogger Award on to are;

So, there you have it! Please check out these great blogs and the shops that go with them! I will be notifying the shops of their Versatile Blogger Award tomorrow!
I hope you enjoy all they have to offer!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Good Morning!

I woke up this morning to find that I was given the Versatile Blogger Award by a fellow etsian, LeahRHood at She also makes gorgeous jewelry you can view by visiting her etsy shop and has a great blog at;

I am honored by this award and will be back later to tell you who I am passing the award on to and more about myself (part of the receiving the award). So, stay tuned!

BUT, it the meantime I want to celebrate and am going to host a sale, TODAY only, 3/12/11 for 20% off everything in my shop!
Just use the coupon code at check out -----blogawardsale----and your 20% discount will automatically be applied.

Additionally, if you are a local customer and/or friend, please check out and I will refund the shipping to you via your paypal account, since I can deliver in person. Please convo me if there are questions about that or if you need me to remove the shipping charges up front, before you pay! Again, this is only for my local customers. Thanks.

But the 20% SALE is for EVERYONE so, pick your favorite piece and save! Remember, the sale is for TODAY only!

Thanks, again Leah for the Versatile Blogger Award!
I am honored!


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What's in the name?

In my blog post this week for our Promotional Frenzy Team on Etsy, I had many ideas about which to write! It was actually hard to decide. So, I made a list!

I had a thought some weeks ago, as I was listing a newly created piece of jewelry for my shop about the names we choose for our creations. I am somewhat fickle about naming my pieces.
Sometimes, I do and sometimes, I don't!

Many times, I'll just title the piece with descriptive words about color or type of components know, Blue Swarovski and Sterling Silver Bracelet....something like that.

Other times, and I'm not quite sure what spurs me on to do it, I think of a specific name for a new piece of jewelry. I usually don't think too hard. It just comes to me! I've named a few pairs of earrings after women. Some are actual women or girls I know, others are fictional.

Swinging Josie
Classic Ruth
Lovely Lauren

I've also been known to name creations after places; if the place stimulated me to create the jewelry or I bought the beads during a particular trip. I was really inspired by a trip to Maui, last year......its inspiration (even before I went) led me to create my Ocean themed paua shell pendant/charm necklaces. These have proved popular for me! Is it the name, the piece, or a combination of the two?

Most recently, I've been creating altered art photographic charm bracelets. These are all based on places I've travelled to and photographed. I use my photographs in the charms. Of course the place travelled to, earns a name in the bracelet;

American Landmarks, Mt. Rushmore, Independence Hall

One of the funniest pieces I've named has been called The Green Flash. I've written about this piece before, if you look back through my blog posts. This particular piece caused me quite a bit of creative strife. I put it together and did not like it, so I took it apart and tried again 2 or 3 times with different beads. Finally, I had a creation I liked and the name just popped into my head! The Green Flash is an optical phenomenon that occurs just before sundown. It is fleeting and vibrant. Needless to say, this piece sold to someone who knows what The Green Flash is!

So, how do you name your pieces? Do you name them all or just some? I have recently been working on my SEO and adjusting my listings. I'm not sure whether naming a piece helps or hurts! After all, who looks for Classic Ruth Earrings or the Orange Sunrise on Haleakala Volcano Necklace? And if you buy components for your creations, are those components named? How many names does a piece have by the time it's finished?

Well, I just thought I'd ask What's in the name?
The answer is probably different for each of us!
Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!

Oh, and don't forget to check my shop and here on my blog for the last few days of my select item sale featured piece. Today it is a wonderful, one of a kind, spring floral lanyard for only $19.50!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

One of a kind handcrafted Jewelry -Select Item Sale Feature for 3/8/11

Select Item Sale Feature for 3/8/11......

One of a Kind Fused Glass Pendant Necklace with a Fingerprint design on the pendant!
Great color for Spring!

See my etsy listing for the details on this piece or to purchase;

Please see my post below on offering YOUR suggestions for pieces to include during my last week of my Select Item sale. Leave your comment here on the blog! Thanks!

Have a Terrific Tuesday!

Monday, March 7, 2011

I want your input for promotional pieces!

My shop, Carol's Jewelry Orchard, is entering the last week of my month long promotion, called The Select Item Sale where I offer and promote one piece of jewelry from my shop each day from 2/17/11 through 3/17/11.

I would like to know what pieces my loyal readers would like to see put on sale! Just write a comment about your favorite piece in my shop below. The piece with the most comments is the piece I will feature at a special promotional price.

Here is the link to my shop;

Thanks! I look forward to seeing some of what YOU like from my shop!

Select Item Sale Feature for 3/7/11

Good Monday Morning!

My Select Item Sale Feature Today, 3/7/11, is a one of a kind Paua Shell Pendant Necklace, accented with freshwater pearls! It has a sterling S clasp. This was priced at $30.00, but for today only is $25.00! I'll even throw in FREE shipping if you convo me first (before you pay).
U.S. and Canada, only please!

You can view the full description here;

Yesterday, I did not get my Select Item Sale Feature posted to my blog. However, it was on my Facebook Page;

If you don't see a listing here; please check there! Or come and visit me there, anyway!

Only one week left to my Select Item Sale! Don't miss out on some one of a kind pieces at a great price!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Select Item Sale Feature for 3/5/11

Love Pink????

Today, my Select Item Sale Featured piece is a very special one!

It is a long, lariat style necklace that can be worn in a variety of ways. All the metal components are sterling silver of either a Bali or Hill Tribe origin. It has swarovski crystals of rose, light rose, and fuchsia, along with coordinating czech faceted and pressed glass. A stunning, attention getting piece....Today offered at $12.00 the original price of $32.00....only $20.00

To make the deal even sweeter.....20% of the purchase price will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Cause for a Cure For Breast Cancer! I was able to make a $25.00 donation to this worthy cause last year, from sales of Breast Cancer support and/or awareness items! Thanks to all who made that happen! Let's do it again!

To view the listing for this very special piece; click here.........

Remember, the sale ends at 10pm CST tonight! Act now!

I have other Breast Cancer Awareness Handcrafted Jewelry and Bookmarks in my shop. Please come look at those as well;
I offer these items year round, not just in October (Breast Cancer Awareness Month).


Friday, March 4, 2011

Select Item sale feature for 3/4/11

Select Item Sale for 3/4/11 is a wonderful pair of hand forged Sterling silver earrings. These fancy earrings are only $12.00 today. They could easily be sold for 3x that! Please view my shop listing for complete details.

Thanks! Have a great day! Remember the sale ends at 10pm CST tonight.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Shop Snapshot for February 2011- How was it?

Today's post is one I would like to make the beginning of each new month, reviewing my activities, sales, ups, and downs for the previous month. I did one of these "Shop Snapshots" as I call them, last year and it was well received. I meant to do more but, you know, life just got in the way! I'll try and do better this year!

So, here is Carol's Jewelry Orchard's Shop Snapshot for February 2011.

Etsy sales at

Total of 8 sales for the month. 2- Necklaces, and 6- Pairs of earrings.
One of these sales was from a customer who bought a pair of earrings, came back upon receiving them and bought another, yet different, pair! I love that I'm developing a following!

Custom Orders from Local Customers:
2- Horse Necklaces
1- Cancer Support Bracelet
2- Pair Holmen Mascot Lady Viking Earrings
2- Pair Green and Gold Football Earrings (this is Wisconsin, after all)!

I had two queries from international customers that are worth mentioning. One from a lovely woman in the UK who likes my peace sign necklace;
She and I discussed shipping to the UK, although I don't normally offer this! I did a little investigation at the post office and found that, in fact, it isn't really much more than shipping to Canada (which I do offer). Unfortunately, this customer found herself short of cash this month, but may return in the future for that piece of peace!

The other query, I have to say bothered me. A customer convo'd me to state that he/she liked a certain bracelet in my shop and would I consider shipping elsewhere? They didn't mention where in their query and no place was listed on their profile! When I returned the convo and simply asked where they wanted me to ship to, I never got a reply! I don't understand that.

Similarly, I was all excited last Friday, the 25th, when I received a query about my Romantic Wedding earring listing;
The person wanted to know if I could make 7 similar pairs for her wedding party! I responded immediately, offering both a 10% Bridal discount and FREE priority mail shipping; along with completing the order in two weeks for a 50% deposit on the work. I never heard back. A no thank you would have been fine. I felt not responding was rude! I can't afford, nor should I feel like I have to, give my work away (especially when it is already fairly priced). I am disappointed that I still have not heard from this potential customer and realize now, I probably won't.

Back to the brighter side of my shop snapshot; I joined facebook this past month. I am still very much a newbie when using the site. I am not sure it will help my sales (this is why I joined). If you want to "friend" my shop page it would be appreciated and can be found at;

Also, I am working on my new website at;
Please visit me there, as well. Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Finally, I am launching a new line of custom made jewelry featuring childhood/teen memories that include pictures of children, grandchildren, friends, nieces, nephews and charms of their favorite activities. This will make great Mother's Day presents or Graduation presents (both for the graduate and their mom). Take a minute and stop by to look at those!

So, there you have it! Carol's Jewelry Orchard's Shop Snap Shot for February 2011. In between all this, I've continued to create some fabulous spring pieces! Keep my shop in mind when you are looking for some handcrafted jewelry accessories that will set your style apart!

If you are interested in the Blue Flowered Swarovski Crystal Watch, pictured above as my Select Item Sale Feature today, click the link below; it was $35.00. Today, only it is $25.00.

Thanks for stopping by,