About Me

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JLynn has been in the Art, Craft & Jewelry industry for over 30 years ~ promoting creativity through Education and Media. As a published designer, JLynn is known for her detailed, colorful Jewelry, unique Altered ART Wood Tiles, and Artwork. Online since 2004, a former eBay Power Seller, and currently on Artfire and Etsy. Family, Art, Nature and Kaleidoscopes are her biggest inspirations

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

$25 Gift Certificate Winner!

Thank you all for the feedback and lovely comments from The Color Challenge!
I had a lot of fun participating - and plan on working with a few more of the Nasa Photos as Art for inspiration on future pieces in 2013.
Without further delay...the winner of our $25 dollar gift certificate is Blog Follower and Comment poster...Cherrie Fick!

As a reminder...tomorrow 12/12/12 is the last day to place a "Custom" order (either jewelry or tiles)...and at 12:01am on Sunday 12/16/12, our Etsy store will go into "Vacation Mode" through 12/26/12 for our Christmas preparations and festivities!

Look for our end of the year Holiday Blog post in the next two weeks :)

Friday, November 30, 2012

Challenge of Color Blog Hop - JLynn Designs!

Welcome to the 3rd Annual Challenge of Color Blog Hop!
A special thank you to Erin and Brandi for the opportunity to have a little non-pressure fun with colors and creative inspiration :)
Each participant received two different color palettes (created by Brandi Hussey) - all of which are pictures from the Earth as Art Exhibit from the United States Geological Service taken from the Landsat 7 Satellite.  I had a lot of fun just looking at the photos - vibrant and full of texture which I tried to bring into my designs too.  The goal of course was to be inspired to create something...jewelry or accessory - anything that would capture the colors.  Since I loved both of mine - I stayed up LATE and created from both palettes!  Yes - for all of you that leave a comment, you'll be entered into a fun GIVE-AWAY and if you want to do a little shopping, check out our Etsy store header for the current 30% off coupon code :)
Here's my Palettes....and creations!

And the details...
The Bogda Mountains (located in China)

Featuring a beautiful Sari Pendant from Erin of Tesori Trovati Jewelry
 (our lovely host!).  I love Erin's creations...they are elegant and
have beautiful little touches that show how much love she puts
 into each and everyone of them.
Asymmetrical design with Vintaj Findings, Artisan Lampwork Beads,
Freshwater Pearls, Amesthyst Gemstones, and Swarovski Crystals
This lovely swirl beads is so much more beautiful in person...
with layers, details, colors and dimensional swirls - handtorched by
Dean of Bubby and McGurk Beads.
I love this one because with the 3-dimensional swirl...it gives
the appearance of a birdhouse when combined with the bead caps!

And the beautiful embossed bead caps come from
Metal Me This on Etsy!

Double Wire wrap loops create some gorgeous links and droplets

Introducing Palette #2 - The Dardzha Monster
Western Turkmenistan/Caspian Sea 

A tri-strand Bracelet design with Vintaj Brass findings, a selection of premium Czech Glass beads, Artisan Lampwork Beads, Artisan Ceramic Beads, Riverstone, and Swarovski Crystals

Yellow Ceramic Beads created by Nan of Spirited Earth, and the
Rust Flower Ceramic Bead comes from Potomac Beads

And that deep layered and very gorgeous blue swirl glass Boro Bead
was handtorched by Amanda of Seashore Glass
Well - I'm now sending you off to "HOP" and leave more lovely comments and browse all the terrific designs and color palettes!  I would love to take a day and be inspired by each Geographic photo!
Erin Prais-Hintz http://treasures-found.blogspot.com/2012/11/3rd-annual-challenge-of-color-reveal.html
Rebecca Anderson http://songbeads.blogspot.com
Kris Auderer http://strandedinthecity.wordpress.com
Chrizette Bayman http://beadsoupmix.blogspot.com
Lori Bowring Michaud http://artfullyornamental.blogspot.com
Courtney Breul http://beadsbybreul.blogspot.com/
Lynsey Brooks http://yellowunicorncreations.blogspot.co.uk
Stephanie Buss http://maxandlucie.blogspot.com
Iveth Caruso http://www.creativeatelier.net/
Shannon Chomanczuk http://www.formysweetdaughter.blogspot.com
Lisa Cone http://inspiredadornments.blogspot.com/
Cece Cormier http://thebeadingyogini.com
Lori Dorrington http://lorisglassworks.blogspot.com
Dawn Doucette http://designsbydawnmarie.blogspot.com
Jeannie Dukic http://site.jkdjewelry.com/blog/
Kim Dworak http://cianciblue.blogspot.com/
Beth Emery http://storiesbyindigoheart.blogspot.com
* YOU ARE HERE * Janice Everett http://JLynnJewels.blogspot.com

  Pam Farren http://www.re-maker.blogspot.com
Donetta Farrington http://simplygorgeous-donetta.blogspot.com
Gloria Ferrer http://judetaama.blogspot.com.es/
Cherrie Fick http://designsinthelight.co
Therese Frank http://www.theresestreasures59.blogspot.com
Patty Gasparino http://www.mylifeunderthebus.typepad.com
Tanya Goodwin http://pixiloo.blogspot.com/2012/11/3rd-annual-challenge-of-color.html
Ambra Gostoli http://chicandfrog.wordpress.com/2012/11/27/3rd-challenge-of-color
Jess Green http://tabbiekoshka.blogspot.co.uk/
Denielle Hagerman http://somebeadsandotherthings.com
Mary Harding www.maryhardingjewelrybeadblog.blogspot.com
Karla Hartzog http://www.karlakrafts.com
Kim Hora http://www.kimmykats.com
Brandi Hussey http://brandigirlblog.com
Emanda Johnson http://ArtemisiaStudio.blogspot.com
Jennifer Justman http://soulsfiredesigns.blogspot.com/
Sue Kennedy http://suebeads.blogspot.com
Ema Kilroy http://emakaye.blogspot.com
Lee Koopman http://Stregajewellry.wordpress.com
Linda Landig http://www.LindasBeadBlog.com
Kirsi Luostarinen http://kirsiluokorut.blogspot.com
Cynthia Machata http://antiquitytravelers.blogspot.com/
Alicia Marinache http://www.allprettythings.ca
Beth McCord http://www.ebbeadandmetalworks.blogspot.com
Mary K McGraw http://mkaymac.blogspot.com/
Karen Mitchell http://www.overthemoon-design.com
Cheri Mitchell-Reed http://creativedesignsbycheri.blogspot.com/
Aimee Moisa http://threecatsdancing.blogspot.com
Karla Morgan http://www.texaspepperjams.blogspot.com
Penny Neville http://copperpennydesigns.blogspot.com
Becky Pancake http://beckypancakebeaddesigns.blogspot.com
Kashmira Patel http://sadafulee.blogspot.com
Alice Peterson http://alice-dreaming.blogspot.com
Kayla Potega http://www.teejewelry.blogspot.com
Debbie Price http://greenshoot.blogspot.co.uk
Bobbie Rafferty http://beadsong.blogspot.com
Caron Reid http://caronmichelle.blogspot.com.au/
Nicole Rennell http://nicolerennell.com/blog
Cynthia Riggs http://cynthsblog.blogspot.com/2012/11/3rd-annual-challenge-of-color.html
Andrea Ross http://silvermapledesigns.blogspot.com/
Sally Russick http://thestudiosublime.com
Annie Scherz http://www.studioluma.ca
Pam Sears http://crazycreativecorner.blogspot.com/
Renetha Stanziano http://lamplightcrafts.blogspot.com
Sandra Stein http://sannipanni.wordpress.com
Kristen Stevens http://kristen-beadjourney.blogspot.com
Tracy Stillman http://www.tracystillmandesigns.com
Sherri Stokey http://www.knotjustmacrame.com/2012/11/challenge-of-color-reveal.html
Lola Survillo http://www.beadlolabead.blogspot.com
Kay Thomerson http://KayzKreationz.blogspot.com
Jo Tinley http://daisychaindesignsjewellery.blogspot.com
Emma Todd http://www.apolymerpenchant.com
Cory Tompkins http://www.tealwaterdesigns.blogspot.com
Pam Traub http://www.klassyjoolz.blogspot.com
Melissa Trudinger http://beadrecipes.wordpress.com
Michelle Tucker http://michellescreativemusings.blogspot.com/
Shelley Graham Turner http://www.shelleygrahamturner.blogspot.com
Monique Urquhart http://ahalfbakednotion.blogspot.com/
Rachel Van-Walsk http://balancedcrafts.com/blog
Patti Vanderbloemen http://www.myaddictionshandcrafted.blogspot.com
Lesley Watt http://thegossipinggoddess.blogspot.com
Lynn White http://lynnwhitejewelry.com/Lynn_White_Jewelry/Lynns_Jewelry_Blog/Lynns_Jewelry_Blog.html
Joan Williams http://www.lilrubyjewelry.com
Please let me know what you think by posting a comment (and you'll also be entered into our GIVE-AWAY).  Thanks for stopping by! ~JLynn

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

TUTORIAL TIME...contemporary painting made easy!

Poppin' Poppies original Artwork by
Jen Everett (my daughter)
A week or so ago, and completely out of the blue, my daughter (who is in college), came home for the weekend armed with a bag filled with a mini Canvas print, a paintbrush set and a few Acrylic paints to create something for her room.  In exchange for my personal guidance...she agreed to my photo taking, so I could create a mini-Tutorial for all of you :) 
So...if you're in need of a little gift giving idea...or just want to create a piece of art for your bathroom, bedroom, or even your cubicle at work - these little canvas blocks are just the right ticket - quick and easy to do...and very lightweight!
- Assorted Acrylic Round Paint Brushes
- Sea Sponge or Pouncer
- Wedge Sponge Brush (wood handle with black/grey sponge brush -any size)
- Acrylic Paints (Cream, Tan and three other colors of your choice)
- Ready to Paint Blank Canvas Block (any size - shown is a 8x8) 

 STEP 1 - Canvas Preparation & Base Layers
  • Cover your table!  Then using a Wedge/Sponge Brush, paint entire canvas with a tan base
  • Using damp sea sponge, pounce a light cream base on top of tan to create a mottle blended finish
  • Pencil in basic geometric floral shapes and stems (oblong ovals, circles with imperfect "bumps")
  • With a dampened large round paintbrush, fill in shapes with your choice of paint colors.

STEP 2 - Let the Flowers take Shape!
  • Mix a "dab" of Black paint and blend with one of your paint colors to create a slightly darker shade for shadows/depth.  With a wet round brush, and swirling motion, apply shaded paint over the original base layers in the center and outer edges where petals might be.  Repeat for all your flower colors and when finished - rinse and dry off paintbrush.
  • Repeat the above process but this time using a small dab of white paint with your flower paint colors to create a slightly lighter shade of paint for highlights.  With a small wet round brush and some short, quick arc-like strokes - paint in some highlights (as if the sun were hitting sections of the flower/petals).  There is no right or wrong in this step...trust what you're seeing and keep blending together.
  • Using your round paint brush, begin to outline flower and fill in stems with black paint.
STEP 3 - Details, details, details...
  • Using a wet round paintbrush, add a dab of black and blend so that paint is a little thinner and is moving easily...dab a little bit in the center of a flower and in a swirling motion, define the center.  Repeat for all other flowers.
  • Redefine flower stems with watered down black paint so that none of the canvas show through. 
  • Touch of colors in flowers by using the same process in Step 2, to better define and blend the transitioning shades of color (original paint color, shadowed and highlighted colors).

This is the current state of her artwork...she wants to add a few more details and final outlines, along with that Picasso signature!  However, I have to say that I'm kind of liking it the way it is. Just remember that in any art or craft you do...often the imperfectionism of the piece is exactly what makes it unique and special!
TIP:  The idea with this project is to HAVE FUN with it!  Let go of your perception of "being perfect" and simply enjoy blending colors with colors, and water so paint flows on canvas.  Take a look at any photographs or other artwork for inspiration only...remember give yourself the opportunity to allow your inner creativity to come out! 
Enjoy this fun, quick and easy to do project that can be used for your own personal use or for gift giving!
P.S.  Look for my top 10 "Thankful" post tomorrow!  If you're traveling in this states this Holiday weekend, be SAFE!  Happy early Thanksgiving everyone!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

5 TIPS to be more productive & creative - Through the Looking Glass!

5 Tips for Productivity and Creativity

Think about the "Looking Glass" mirror of Alice in Wonderland - but instead of looking at your own situation of multi-tasking in a negative and confusing state of never getting things done - turn it around into something positive  where "Through the Looking Glass" reflects a new meaning ~ a different perspective ~ and a new bottom line meaning that says...
If you are more productive, you will have more time to be creative! 
Yes, if we didn't need to earn a living, put food on the table, gas in the car, pay the rent/mortgage/bills, put clothes on our back, shoes on our feet, in addition to everyday housekeeping, cooking, children, fur babies, parents, relatives...and other things that "pop" up that need your attention, love, care and/or worry...well does it make you wonder...I mean can you imagine a world where there were no worries?  NAH...Me either - and to be honest if we didn't have the worries, I'm not sure if we would appreciate those special moments in time with our favorite people, a sunrise or sunset, a promotion, a feather in the cap, the beauty of the blue skies and flowers, or simply having that blessed hour to do something to sooth our inner souls.  For me...that means carving out time to be creative.  But "Creativity" is not just about my business of jewelry designing and ART tiles...it's about so much more in daily living that has a direct impact on my happiness and how I live my life.  So by now you're probably asking...so Janice - what are your tips???  Well - I'm not perfect...some days and weeks go much better than others - but I can guarantee you that if you make small efforts in doing any of these...those "little bits" will begin to make a difference - and definitely add up over time.  And the more you can do these things...the more you will feel accomplishment and that sense of being true to yourself.  So here goes...my FIVE tips for you to increase your productivity and creativity (in no particular order)!  Drum roll please...
#1 -  TIME...and controlling the Social Media Beasts...otherwise known as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Email, Surfing on the Internet (and the list goes on...) - it's a major distraction and one big time sucker.   However, notice I said CONTROL and not "eliminate" - this is about taking a step back and thinking objectively...looking at your own habits in a different perspective and analyzing what you can do to better control your own personal distractions that impede your progress and productivity.  Controlling distractions is SO important to your health and happiness because at the end of the day...the week...the month... - we all deserve time off...to read, be artistic/creative, express ourselves, and simply to allow time for our inner souls to be refreshed and rejuvinated.  So my biggest TIP is to set specific times for your e-Socializing - and if needed set a timer in order to stick to it!   If you need to close your door, shut down your internet browsers, email & IM...and set your cell phone to receive only certain texts from family members in the event of an emergency - do it along with anything else you can do so you're not tempted by distractions".  You CAN do this - one hour at a time to start...
#2 - Stop multitasking - period.  Woman have this knack - and some men do too...however generally speaking, all multitasking does is get you in a state of "many things left uncompleted".  One of my favorite lines in regard to my desk and studio, is it's an "organized mess".  Well, guess what?  I still have some of these messes as you can see - but I've gotten a LOT better at focusing on ONE thing at a time and getting it done.  Did you know that studies show if you multi-task...your IQ drops?  And because of that your brain function slows down...your thoughts get kind of fuzzy and you can't process things clearly...and where do you think that leaves us?  Well...even more susceptible to being "distracted"!  So another big tip I have here is at any given time, encourage yourself to FOCUS on that ONE thing and get it done.  Easier said than done I know...but just remember if you want to be productive and get things accomplished - the only way to do it - IS one thing at a time.  How you ask?  Well that leads right into #3..."The Plan"
#3 - "Plan your work...work your plan" - how often have you heard this old sage advice?  My old District Manager (from when I worked Marketing/Education for JoAnn's) would always remind me about this when I would start getting frazzled with all that I had to do.   But if you take it to heart and do this on a daily basis, I can almost guarantee, that you will start seeing results and feeling them too!  Planning though is KEY...but a special warning to take to heart...goals come in many forms and you need to break down those very big ones.  So although the need to jot down your BIG goals is an important one - it's actually more important to break down those big goals into smaller and more manageable tasks - this is ESSENTIAL to your success.  So for instance my own "Updating my Website" breaks down into manageable "to-do's" and specific tasks - (Updating my Store categories, photos, About Me page, listing new products, etc.) and depending on the time needed for each task, they all get assigned a specific time frame for completion within my "Plan your work...work your plan" list.  My point in all of this - is to come up with your BIG GOALS, then break them down bit by bit - creating "your plan" that is realistic and manageable...all the way down to the tiniest detail.  THEN you start  at the bottom and work you way up to that BIG one...
#4 - Set specific TIMEs for specific tasks!  If you're like most people, you know that certain times of the day will be better for the tasks that require our undivided attention - whether thats Admin work, financial reports, number crunching, packing/shipping, etc. - for most of us that own a small business...we may have some temporary help in the name of friends that we pay as an independent service contractor (or bribe the cheap help...aka family members with shopping, dinner out or their favorite cookies or ice cream lol)...but MOST of us "do it all".  SO...because we need to break down our tasks (from #3), it's important to find your most productive times during a day/week!   We creative artisans for the most part...detest Admin work...so when we sit down to do it...we are ALWAYS looking for ways to get distracted and will make all sorts of excuses to do "anything" other than the task up to bat - one culprit in the distraction theory...is the fact that many of us are chronic email and FB checkers (and although this is a hard habit to break...you CAN do it because checking either of these things all the time throughout the day is simply not as efficient as you try to make it out to be!  You get sidetracked with spam, amusing forwards, sale ads, messages from friends, posts/comments that DISTRACT you from what you set out to do in the first place and before you know it the minutes have added up to hours and the task that should have taken only 30 minutes to complete, is still not completed 5 hours later...sound familiar?   So stick with your PLAN so you're productivity doesn't come to a screeching hault and you don't start feeling all those self deflating thoughts of being overwhelmed.  SO...my best advice - set the time for a specific task and get it DONE - think of these tasks like a "Progress Karma" -  don't talk ill about them or shove them aside, let them know they are important simply by showing them a little designated love at a designated time to get graduate them to the "completed" pile.  I recently had been putting off (and when I say putting off...I mean MONTHs) a large spreadsheet task (to make things easier for my inventory and pricing when using specific brands/findings in my designs)...so I set up a specific 8 hour time frame to get it off my mind and get it done - and boy did it feel GREAT not to just get it done - but in knowing that because I did set my mind to get it done...I'm now MUCH more productive with inventory, pricing and reordering!  Which leads me to #5...

#5 - Take TIME to get yourself picked up, cleaned up and organized in a way that work within your habits (to see my transition from Home Office to my Design Studio & Office - click on the picture above) and you'll see some of the ways I've organized "like" things together - as well as, how I organized to work WITH my habits versus trying to teach this old dog new tricks ;)...the term "everything has a place is only true if you are staying true to the way you work, design and be creative.   Remember, when you get busy EXPECT your office and work area to become that Creative MESS...but be prepared to "cleanup" and set things back the way you had them when you have completed your orders and design tasks.
BONUS...fact is - if you start doing these tiny little 5 things...you will be more productive and your mind will feel a bit more free - which makes you ultimately more relaxed...which allows you to breathe in and take in your surroundings - often getting inspired to be creative in the medium or craft of your choice.   Phewwww...are you seeing the pattern here?  Are you beginning to see the benefits to these TIPS?  Over the past several months, I've made changes myself - and the biggest perk for me is that I now have more freedom and time during the evening and weekend hours to be "off" from my work and business - refueling my energy and mind...along with allowing myself special artistic time to simply "be"
"Through the Looking Glass" was one of those rejuvinating times I was able to take in my personal journey of becoming more productive and creative.  The Vintaj Filigree was what I call "handsewn" with wire and Swarovski Crystals - and it looks so gorgeous sparkling in the light in any of my windows.  My creation was recently published in the Bead Trends October 2012 edition...(Bead Trends staff is ALWAYS amazing with their photography)!  The fun part about this piece is that my inspiration was actually two fold - first...that I was inspired by all of my thoughts and tips from above...and knowing that many of us struggle with finding time to balance our home life, jobs, and creativity ~ and second...my front door which never fails to bring me inspiration depending on the weather, landscape, and time of year...this is just one section of the sidelight panel :)
Well - that's all I have for the moment...I hope you've enjoyed these little tips!
And just so you know...part of my own "getting more productive" also includes making time to post more regularly here on my Blog and dedicate more time to all my Jewelry hobbyists and professionals by including the addition of more TIPS, TUTORIALS, and product/technique info as well.  So farewell til next time...leaving you with the bi-product of one of my creative rejuvination time - first photo below is a picture I took on  recent visit to my local State Park...the photo below that is an inspiration Watercolor painting I created and then digitized into a screensaver for myself...with the plan to release some limited edition ART tiles featuring portions of this painting :)

Photo I took early October at Rocks State Park, MD
My Watercolor painting digitized into a screensaver... 
OH...almost forgot!!!
I thoroughly enjoy gaining an hour every Fall! Today I celebrated that fact by going to bed extremely late last night...slept in til 8:30 (the new time) and stayed in my PJs til 2pm (the new time) - doing that enabled me to have some uninterrupted time to finish my design work on our Christmas cards and get them ordered for printing...AND - I also was able to undecorate from Halloween and bring out the Turkeys!   My daughter is home from College and baked...so I'm currently looking forward to having a Molasses Cookie with a very large mug of Dunkin Donuts Pumpkin coffee!  SO...to celebrate daylight savings time...I'm doing another POWERHOUSE discount in my ETSY store...here's the secret code...
Simply enter in the promotion code box at Etsy checkout
 to receive 30% off your entire purchase
Valid through 11/5/12!
Have a great upcoming week everyone! 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Creative Bead Chat NEWs!

Today I'd like to recognize five ladies that are responsible for keeping one of the Facebook groups I belong to - running smoothly with the sharing of lots of information, techniques, products and more that is useful and also fun!  In a short period of time, it's a "hot" group and has earned the reputation of being one of the best places to go to learn more about a variety of mediums, be exposed to a multitude of jewelry styles - and make some new online friends that share a common bond...being creative.  So in no particular order...I'd like to introduce you to them...and give them a well deserved round of applause!

First up - Marla James of Marlasmud - her store is full of beautiful ceramic findings and pendants...love these!

Melinda Orr of Orrtec - beautiful Patina findings - some of my favorites include her embossed metals

Karen Totten of Starry Road Studio - I have my own collection of her rustic styled pieces ;)

Marla Gibson of Spice Box Designs - exquisite designs with lots of detail!

Keirsten Giles of Lune Designs - unique and one of a kind designs :)

Hope you take some time to go on over and say hello and visit their websites and stores...and of course if you're on Facebook - join us on the Creative Bead Chat :)

Look for my return on a more regular schedule this Fall...where I'll be sharing more JLynnJewels designs and ART tiles, as well as, updates going into our Etsy store at JLynnJewels!

Here's a sneak peek of our newest line...ART BEAD TILES!  These beauties are all professionally finished with smoothly finished wood burned bevel edges in a "chunky" style (3/16" thickness versus our regular 1/8" or thinner "wafer" style tiles.  The reason they are thicker is so they can accommodate an INTERNAL drill hole through the center ~ absolutely fantastic for Stringing and Wireworking - all available in a variety of shapes, sizes and as always, customized to your favorite patterns and colors.  Visit our Facebook page for the latest :)

We will be sharing more in the upcoming weeks including some new Tutorials!
Have a great upcoming week!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Take NO Prisoners!

The Sky is the Limit!

TODAY...is a "Take No Prisoners" kind of day!

Which in my book means that I'm not too concerned about anything other than kicking some butt and checking off some things on my long list of to-do's!  And you know what????   It feels good!

Time...just goes by way too fast!  My life as they say has been a tad on the crazy side with LOTS going on in my personal life, as well as, my business life.   Time has been at a premium...and we were not able to do a vacation this summer...but we did get a little creative with our "refresher breaks" ;)


Being that my husband and son were tied up (and I'm not saying whether I tied them up or not)...my daughter and I did what we girls do best - we planned our escape!  In mid-July we found a few days and took off to the Poconos to enjoy the mountains and Waterfalls at Bushkill Falls...and just this past weekend we combined a trip to NJ to take my Mom home from the Rehab hospital she was in for her knee surgery with a couple nights in Beach Haven, Long Beach Island NJ!  It was nice to plan a quick, economical get-away that was within a three-hour radius from home.  Our time was filled with lots of laughter, making new memories, R&R, Shopping, enjoying nature, fun in the sun, toes in the sand - and one of our best memories to date...watching a lot of Shooting Stars on the Beach this past weekend (Yes - we made lots of wishes).

Life is full of changes...some years are smooth sailing and others you are faced with challenges, sicknesses, and deaths.  There is not one person on this earth that is exempt...but having had my share of things this past year - I will tell you that the one thing I take comfort in - is having the ability to see the positive and good in everything and learning from the experience.  When you can do this...it really helps warm the heart, and strengthens you to shift your priorities and juggle things in that forward motion.  

So - having weathered a number of things over the past year, and coming back from our mini-get-away and R&R at the beach, I have had that restless energy to get moving and get things done!  Today, it was to revisit and finish some things that I started over a year ago...the renovation of my Home Office turned into my Business/Jewelry Studio.  The below picture is the one I took a year ago after I got things relatively cleaned up and somewhat organized.  However, at this time the studio was not fully functional because I hadn't "lived" in it yet...

Well - a year later and it's definitely "lived" in...and messy...and well, in such a "working" state that I can't even find my camera to show you a picture lol!  

SO...today was IT!  It was the "Take NO prisoners" approach - and I definitely kicked some butt in my office/studio today.  I suppose some people would call my progress in the office today as a "small thing" - but I'm so proud of my accomplishments because all of my business necessities were ordered online and at the best price (versus running to the office supply store in a panic because I ran out of ink cartridges lol).  

Seriously though...if you have your own Home Office/Studio/Craft place...there are things that you need to stay on top of - like ensuring that you don't run out of the basic office supplies including paper, Bubble Mailers, Shipping Labels, and if you ship smaller items...those plastic bags and Sheer Voile Gift bags.  Over the years, I've gotten in the habit of ordering before I run out completely - and although I'm not perfect 100% of the time...on a whole, I do pretty well because of the habits I've formed and business practices I've put in place.  So if you're in business and would like to get yourself organized to be better positioned for a successful Fall & Holiday selling season like me - here's a few helpful tips...

  1. Take inventory of all your shipping and packing supplies...and order NOW.  Papermart, Uline, Starboxes and a few places on eBay are excellent resources to purchase things like Bubblewrap, Bubblemailers, packing paper, and more.  Getting organized now will help you be more productive and efficient as we end the 3rd quarter and start the busy 4th quarter.
  2. If you are a crafter or designer that sells your creations...also take inventory of your packaging/presentation supplies...not just your sheer gift bags, boxes and ribbon - but also your business cards, pamphlets, notecards or thank you's.  It's easy to create your own in a variety of Publishing programs - but you can also create and order things quickly and online at Vistaprint, Moo, and Zazzle to name a few.
  3. Necessities...need I say more?  Do you use a certain type of glue, varnish, adhesive - or maybe a specific metal for jewelry making, a certain crystal color for those Christmas Tree earrings - Artisan beads...the list is endless.  My suggestion - is to really think and forecast your needs and take the time to stock up now, because if you wait, chances are those popular must-have colors and findings will be out of stock when you are hit with that "Oh my Gosh...I need...!" type of feeling/thought.  Many online companies have promotional coupon codes (google Promotional coupon codes for websites like retailmenot.com or couponcabin.com to find the latest for all your online shopping).  And for those that go through certain supplies quickly - check out online stores like Craft for Less to get a super price on purchasing in quantities.  Likewise...snip those coupon codes for JoAnn's and Michael's for the 40-50% off coupons and make sure you use it on those highest priced items.
  4. Idleness?  There is no such word when you are in business for yourself.  Every minute counts...so use your time wisely.  This is not to say that you are working around the clock or can't take time for a little breather and social fun...but it's important to not waste too much time with the things that do not benefit our creative souls and financial goals.  Social sites are good for networking - but let's not stretch the truth here because they are also a huge time sucker...and won't help you at the end of the day when you stop and think about exactly what it is you accomplished... so my suggestion...come up with a realistic plan on time management - whether it's a certain time of day or a certain day to do a specific task - set it and stick with it.  You will be amazed at how much you can do when you "plan the work, and work the plan"!
  5. Lastly...Journal ~ wherever you go.  I love the physical feeling of writing, so always have a small notepad on hand...but I also love my e-gadgets too and utilize my Notes App too.  Whatever works for you - USE it!   Fleeting thoughts and spur of the moment ideas are often forgotten...but if you take the time to jot them down and put them in action - there's a good chance that one or two of them may lead you to a really "Hot" seller or a new signature piece for the upcoming season.
So my lovely friends - go forth and set some goals for yourself...jot down some ideas, make a plan of what you'd like to get accomplished for tomorrow or for the week...and as I said earlier, "Take No Prisoners"

Have a great day!


Monday, July 2, 2012

Defining Moments...strengthen you

Life can be filled with moments of questions
to which there are no answers...only feelings

Time flies!  It has definitely been a while since I've posted here on my blog...and to be honest, I really had a lot planned to share...but life, as that old cliché goes “Took on a life of its own”.  Although I love to maintain a balance between my real life, my business life, family, and all the little things I love to do…sometimes one area of your life take precedence over all others. Recently, my life has been full of a series of moments that I call “defining” – you know those little seconds when everything becomes crystal clear in such a simple way, that no matter what else might be on your plate - it doesn’t matter, because you know exactly where your time and efforts need to be.  Some of those moments are tough ones – where others are those “ah-ha's” when your heart feels like something just fell into place and clicked.

If you pay attention and look at things with an honest and open mind...you realize that these moments are the ones that will help you move forward with intention to make positive improvements in your life.  Self reflection is a wonderful thing...because no matter how compassionate, loving, and kind you think you are...there is ALWAYS room for more in your heart, mind, spirit and soul to share with others.

Through challenges, worries and the many unknowns – I am one of those people that always have the desire to keep looking at things from a positive perspective, finding the good, learning from the experience...and knowing that one thing is certain...you always have time in every day, to simply give thanks for all the little things in your life.  There is beauty to be found when you simply believe in the fundamental goodness in people, and have faith that everything will work out for the best.

The last two months for me personally, have been filled with both happy and sad times, triumphs, things to celebrate (significant Birthdays, Anniversaries, Graduations and business milestones), along with a good deal of challenges.  I have never been one to openly share the struggles of my own life (for me, they are personal and I don't feel comfortable with broadcasting them openly in a public format)...however, I do love sharing the lessons learned from them - along with the hope and feelings that inspire others that might be going through their own tough times to keep moving forward in a positive direction.

Well, as random posts go...I'm not always sure where my thoughts will lead, but when the words are flowing, I write.  Having been a freelance writer sharing articles for home life, decorating, and more in my past, writing is one of those special things for me.  So just like designing jewelry, painting or playing with fire (torching lampwork beads) – each of these activities have the capacity to calm, soothe, comfort, and give me an outlet to express my feelings which is such a blessing.  I wish the same type of creative outlets for all my friends and followers.

So although I've said it before, I'll say it again...I truly am a believer in that philosophy of "everything happens for a reason" to bring us to the place we were meant to be...in order to live our life in harmony with our own thoughts, actions and beliefs.

Wishing everyone a beautiful Monday and start of a glorious week!