Phew! I Made It!

Alas, readers, another Christmas has gone by. And I made it. All of the shopping, the baking, the planning, the gift wrapping, the get-togethering, and the stressing is nearly over. Honestly, I don't know why I get so busy at this time of the year, it's not like I don't know how to plan for it! However, this one was a bit different, and the reason was my Etsy shop.

Let me just tell you, as mentioned in my previous post, I definitely wasn't prepared for the holiday rush. I really didn't think I'd be a part of it, being a fairly new seller and all! It was exciting though, and it kept me very busy. Luckily, I did have nearly all of my shopping done at the beginning of December, which helped quite a bit. I'll also have you know that at least 60% of my gifts came from Etsy, or were handmade by me. I also received some handmade goodies--a birdhouse, some coasters and some hot pads, and a painting--as well as items that PROMOTE doing handmade activities (a gift certificate from Fire Mountain Gems and a kit to make my own incense!).

In '08 I'm going to be a busy, busy girl. Today I did a bit of shopping for my belated birthday (December 19), and it included some metalsmithing tools--a jeweler's saw, a torch and some solder, a ring clamp, some new tweezers and needle files, and of course some new beads and wire. In late Jan, or perhaps March or April, I'm going to be attending a private session with a metalsmith in State College, PA to learn some additional skills. Most of what I've been doing is self-taught, but from what I've read it seems that once you get into soldering and the like, it helps to do some one-one-one instruction. I can't wait!

Over Christmas I took a little break from the shop, but I still got some orders. I'll be working over the next few days to fill them, as well as try to come up with a few new designs for earrings. I'm also waiting on materials to continue developing my Beneath the Moon necklace and earrings (smoky quartz smooth teardrops are becoming hard to come by these days!). I'm also working on variations of this design...changing up the stones and whatnot. For instance, my up-and-coming "Beneath the Blood Moon" necklace will feature garnet teardrops and freshwater pearls in place of smoky quartz and peach moonstone. I'm hoping for a nice outcome on that one! The garnets I purchased are big and gorgeous and perfect for someone to show off. I'm also going to be doing a made-to-order piece called the Jonelle necklace, made after the person I made it for this Christmas. :oD I haven't talked to her yet, so I hope she liked it! I'll be putting pics of it on my Flickr page soon.

Well, I'm off for now, gotta get to work in the studio. Have a nice breather before New Year's!


Time for an Update

Dearest readers, sorry for the delays in posting; it's been a crazy week and this week is only going to get crazier.

The holiday rush hit me much more than expected. I figured that since I didn't open until late October, I wouldn't be so busy around the holidays, but WOW WAS I WRONG. If I was any more buried, I'd be in serious trouble! Stay tuned for lessons learned from this holiday after the season ends. In case you want to get a jump start on things, check out littleputbooks's article in the Storque. I wish I had it much, much earlier!

In other news, I finished a few of my custom items. I posted some pics here for ya; click on them to get to my Flickr page. Note that one of them inspired my Back to Earth necklace, currently available in my Etsy store. I have two other items to finish before the holiday--a necklace, bracelet, and earring set, and a pendant for a trade.

Finally, I'm letting my stock run down until after the 19th, basically because most of my items are made to order. To accommodate my customers during the holiday, I built up my stock, but now they have dwindled down to almost nothing, and I have to finish my custom work first! So, after the 19th I'll have a near-full storefront again, and production will resume.

Also--just a note--I am probably going to close the store on December 24-26 in order to spend time with my family, get last minute things ready for Christmas, etc. In 2008, I have many ideas for many new items, so stay tuned!


Red & Gold

Greetings, readers. Alas, here is yet another entry for the Etsy Bloggers Street Team Blog Carnival. The theme? Holiday Traditions & Musings.

I thought plenty about what I wanted to write...I don't have a large family; therefore, there's not many traditions that we follow. Honestly, Thanksgiving is the bigger holiday for us, so that's usually where many of our "traditions" are established or have been established. I did, however, remember one tradition that I follow, and that's decorating in red and gold for Christmas.

The tradition of using red and gold decor was started by my grandmother. I don't know if anyone used this color scheme before her, but what I remember most is the way her and my grandfather used to decorate their house for Christmas. White lights were a no-no. "White lights aren't warm, Chelsea," she would say, expressing her disgust for the white light trend that seemed to keep growing and spreading from house to house each year. "You need red to make your house look warm and you need red so it shows up better in the snow."

Every year, my grandfather would drag out those red, fat, monster-sized lights (can you even buy those anymore?) and cover their bushes in the front yard with them. I will say, against the snow, my grandmother was right--the lights looked beautiful. On their front porch was a life-sized wooden Santa Claus, which was bathed in a spotlight powered by a contraption that I think my grandfather built himself (he was quite the gadget maker, I must say).

Inside their house, taking up the entire width of their large front window, stood their Christmas tree. Adorned with red lights and red velvet ornaments accented with gold, it was truly a sight to see. The red lights on the tree created beautiful reflections against the ornaments, and the star on top--a multi-pointed 3-D star--was also embellished with red lights (you should know that I think the star originally came with white lights, and knowing my grandmother, she had my grandfather replace them all with red). To finish it off, each front window was dressed with a decorative arrangement comprised of red plastic bells, pine needles, and gold accents. The bells had twinkle lights inside, and when they flickered, they would light up the windows with that lovely, warm, red glow.

My grandparents aren't here anymore, so over the past few years I decided to take over the red and gold tradition at Christmas. Much of my decor is red and gold, but I have to say that my tree is what I'm the most proud of. I pile on tons and tons and tons of red lights, as well as red and gold bulbs (see some of 'em here...along with a little reflection of me with my camera in them!). I have a few other ornaments sprinkled here and there, of course, but the red and gold is what catches your eye first.

My tree will be here next weekend, and I will spend my Saturday afternoon decorating it (as well as--ahem--working on my custom orders!). Once it's finished, for a brief period of time, it will take me back to a place where Christmas was a magical event, full of wonder and surprise and visits from that jolly Santa Claus fellow. It will remind me of the warmth of my grandparents' living room, and the way the front of their house used to glow under a blanket of freshly fallen snow.

Yes, during the holiday season my colors will be red and gold, dear readers. White lights aren't warm, and I know this because my grandmother said so.


What Did YOU Do to Promote Today?

Here, readers, is a question for you: What did YOU do to promote today? Do you have one or many answers? Are you doing things inside and outside of Etsy to promote yourself? Well, if you're searching for ways to take action, I'm going to provide you with my personal checklist below. I'm showing you my list for two reasons:

  1. I need to make this list for myself anyway, to ensure that I do all of these activities.
  2. If you're not promoting yet, it will serve as a great starting point for you to set you on your merry way!
Here we go, my fine friends:
  • Give your blog some love. Don't have a topic? Write about what you posted today and describe how you made it and/or what inspired you to make it.
  • Add a photo to your Flickr photostream and add the same photo to your groups.
  • Go to your Indiepublic page and your Skwiggle Kreationz page and add that photo to your profile, too.
  • Update your Indiepublic and Skwiggle Kreationz blogs, and leave some comments for your friends.
  • Get your Street Team stuff done, including making comments on blogs for the Blog Carnival (what, you're not part of a Street Team? You can go to the Etsy Teams page to find one that fits your needs, or come on over to the Etsy Bloggers Street Team--we keep growing and we'd love to have you!)
  • Update my Etsy Mini categories (are you on it? If not, get on there now--it's free promotion!)
  • Return bookmarks and acknowledgments on Talent Database
  • Visit the blogs on your blog roll and leave comments

That should do it, for now. If you have any other activities that you perform, please leave a comment...I'd love to make this list all-inclusive!


The Business of Being in Business: Listen to Your Customers

In the past two weeks, I've received a fair amount of orders, which have kept me busy and quite pleased. I've dealt with numerous customers, but two of them have offered input that I found extremely helpful.

The first customer had a question about one of my photos for my Pinkleberry Drops earrings. One of the cranberry pearls had a funny looking reflection on it, and when I checked the photo and then the earrings, it seemed there was a small defect on the bead (I thought it was just showing up in the photo).

What did this teach me? Check and double-check my product as I assemble it.

We all have to deal with this...especially when you get to the point where you make multiple quantities of an item. We can easily fall into "the groove" where we start putting things together and become very efficient at it. Sometimes, we forget to continuously examine and evalute our product, making sure that it is 100% "customer ready." I can tell you, it won't happen here again!

I was thankful that my customer pointed this out for me. Luckily, since the item is made to order, I didn't send her the earrings that were in the photo (that bead, actually, is now in the trash).

The second example happened this week. I had a customer who bought a pair of my Santa Fe Teardrops earrings. If you see the photo, you'll notice that I hammer out the ear wires so they're flat. My customer e-mailed me and asked if she could return the earrings because the wires didn't fit her piercings. I was really bummed about this, and offered to make her a new pair of ear wires with a thinner gauge of wire, without the "hammered" look (no charge, of course!). She was more than pleased and left me very positive feedback! I was also very happy that I could accommodate her.

What did this teach me? Provide my customers with options.

From now on I'll be adding a note to my earring descriptions, informing customers who have smaller ear openings that I can provide them with a different set of ear wires if they choose. Had this person not spoken up, I may have turned away some potential customers and lost some sales!

So, your lesson for today is to listen to your customers. Check your feedback, check your convos, check your e-mail, and see if any of the information you received could be turned into a positive change regarding the way you do business. We are here to serve our customers. As sellers, we need to be attuned to their needs and ready to accommodate them as necessary. Without their input and their shopping savvy, we wouldn't be here in the first place.


Get Out There and Buy Handmade!

Greetings readers, shoppers, and blog lurkers. Yes, the holiday shopping season is upon us, and as December rolls in and the countdown until the 25th begins, you'll be bombarded with SALES!, SPECIALS!, DISCOUNTS!, BARGAINS!, and STEALS!
Any moment now, another Wal-mart commercial will appear on your television, spreading holiday cheery frenzy via a silly, smiling dot. Seriously folks, consider leaving the superstore chains at the bottom of your list for shopping this year. Instead, search around, dig deep into that Santa bag of yours, and find gifts that are handmade. You won't regret it, and here's 3 reasons why:

  1. Recipients will consider you one of the most thoughtful gift givers, ever! Who wouldn't enjoy a gift that was handmade, specifically for them?
  2. You'll be supporting an artisan who takes great pride in his or her work rather than supporting the maker of "widgets" that are mass manufactured and run the risk of poor quality (not to mention, dangerous components...ahem...lead?)
  3. Once you start buying handmade gifts, you'll be opened to a whole new world of possibilities for ALL celebrations of the year...birthdays, weddings, graduations...your options are endless.
So where can you start? Well, I'll throw the first SALE sign at you, but it'll be worth your while. The Etsy Bloggers Street Team is running a sale from December 1-December 8 on Etsy. See that little sign over there on the left? Click it and you can get more details. Or, you can get to the sale details page from here.
Now, you're ready to get out there and find that perfect gift, along with many, many more. 'Tis the season, folks. 'Tis the season to buy handmade.


The Business of Being in Business: Research

As mentioned in my previous post, I'm going to provide some write-ups about things that I've done along my way as a new seller on Etsy. I posted a list of numerous items, in no particular order, but the first one DOES belong at the top of the list: research.

I had never heard of Etsy until I joined Flickr. I was looking for a place where I could post photos of my work, and for those who wanted to order custom pieces, they could go to my Flickr page to get an idea of what they might be interested in. Once I started joining groups, I saw the Etsy name scattered about...mostly in discussions. Anyway, that's how I found it, and that's where the story starts.

I quickly learned that I could sell my wares on this wonderful new site, and I was also exposed to a whole other shopping experience. What I liked most about it was that I could shop for items that I'd only run across at music festivals or similar events. So, it was like a little hub for "festival-ly," crafty little items, right on my computer! Very, very exciting. I signed up as a member in June, thinking that I'd start listing items about two weeks after that.

I'm glad I waited.

The reason is, there is sooooooo much to learn in order for a seller to do this right. Things that I wouldn't have even thought of were brought to light: What about international shipping? What will my policies be? Are my descriptions accurate? Are my photos "clickworthy"? I found answers to all of these items not by guessing, but by reading. I mean ALOT of reading.

I started by participating in the Etsy Forums. I would read and contribute to threads for at least an hour or more every evening, providing input where I could (mostly on jewelry related items), and reading other shop owners' critiques. As time passed, I really didn't have a need to ask the questions I listed above, because there was always a thread that would answer the question.

Of course, there were other sites I used for research, too. First, the EtsyWiki is loaded with pointers, tips, information, and resources that can answer just about any question an Etsy seller would have. If you haven't been to that site and read all of the sections in their entirety, get there immediately! There is a wealth of information available, all nicely indexed and organized.

Another resource is Etsy's DOs and DONT's. These guidelines are the be all end all for selling as well as buying. Written by Etsy admin members, they provide information related to site usage, member accounts, buying and selling, reporting items, communications, and feedback. It's a nice read, because it's written all "Etsy-esque," giving readers a warm fuzzy feeling and letting us all know that Etsy loves us (even though they're layin' down the law!). You should file this web site at the top of your bookmarks, and refer to it whenever you get ready to ask, "Can I...?"

A final resource that I'd like to mention is Etsy for Everyone, brought to us all by strumpfkunst. Here, posts related to marketing, selling, promoting, and doing anything Etsy can be found. In addition, Etsy for Everyone includes updates from the Storque. Finally, strumpfkunst refers to Seth Godin quite a bit, who I'm finding to be quite an interesting and helpful read when it comes to marketing and selling.

Well, that's all I have for tonight. It rambles on enough, but I think I gave you some info you can use. Now, don't you have some reading to do? Enjoy.


Subu's Giveaway Contest

Forgot to mention earlier in my rambling post--Subu is having a "Crafty Giveaway" on her site, and I donated a pair of earrings for it (see photo).

Go check it out at: http://suburose.wordpress.com/2007/11/26/crafty-giveaway-13/

All you have to do is visit my Etsy shop and leave a comment on her blog, letting her know which item you like best. She'll then have a drawing, and the winner receives a pair of Winter Lemons earrings!

In case you need to know more about Subu, she's a seller on Etsy who specializes in paper goods (books and notepads, in many cases made from recycled materials) and ceramics. Her stuff is gorgeous, and my absolute favorite is her Starry Night Stoneware Bowl.

So, get on over to her blog and give her some traffic! You have until midnight 11/29. She's also running another fun contest where you try and think of a holiday slogan for her shop. How fun! Plus, she's a fellow Pennsylvanian, so what's not to like?

The Business of Being in Business

Well readers, it's been over a month since I've opened up Simply Wired Custom Jewelry on Etsy, and I have details to report. Some of it good, some of it so-so, but let it serve as a guide for you if you decide to start this endeavor. This won't be ALL boring biz stuff, but it is important for new sellers to be aware of. What I will try to do over the next few days (weeks?) is provide information related to tips, practices, resources, web sites, etc. that are available to you. Some of them will be my own, and some of them will be from others.

Please keep in mind that I do not consider myself an expert at this point, nor do I consider myself to be a "successful" Etsy seller as of yet. Also keep in mind that some of you may be impressed with where I am a month after beginning, and some of you may not. That's OK--we all measure success in different ways. However you want to measure yours, let the information posted here help you along your path in some way or another.


First let's do a review of the goals that I posted for myself a little while ago. The reason I listed these on my site was because I was following Christina's Perdue's Blog, where she provides insightful articles and tips for improving your shop. I credit Christina's blog with starting to set things in motion for myself. Following along and writing about my shop, even before it was open, forced me to move forward and start actually thinking about things like "goals" and "marketing" and "branding." If you haven't been there yet, regardless of whether you have started your shop or not, you should check it out.

OK, enough of my rambling. Here is what I listed way back in early October (the 7th, to be exact), along with notes related to status:


  • Open Etsy shop: Simply Wired Custom Jewelry officially opened on October 21
  • List at least one new item per day (weekdays) after opening until inventory runs out: I think I did this, but it was hard to tell because I had some sales in there. Regardless, I did list a new item each day (except Saturdays). Now, I try to list a new item each day plus renew 1-2 items each day.
  • Create new items while listing so that number of items in my shop is approximately 30 (may stretch to November): This definitely stretched to November! And, not to mention, when I listed this I was assuming that I wouldn't have any sales. At this point, I've had 15 of them, and I currently have 16 items for sale. So, add them together, and what do you get? 31! So, as far as I'm concerned, I met this goal.
  • Update blog every day: I've done a fairly good job at this; however, I think every 2-3 days may be more realistic for me. I was finding that I was spending too much time blogging and not enough time crafting, which should obviously not be the case.
  • Sell at least one item before the end of the month: Well, I didn't make a sale before the end of October, but I did have a sale within 30 days--seven of them, to be exact. So, I consider this goal being met as well.
Long-term (within one year): I'm not going to provide an update on status yet, as these were intended to be far beyond 30 days. If, however, you see something that you like, feel free to use these goals with adaptations for your own needs:

  • If sales continue to be a success, purchase a Simply Wired Custom Jewelry domain name
  • Begin metalsmithing techniques, and take a class if one is available near me
  • Submit my work in a jewelry contest
  • Evaluate success and determine if Simply Wired Custom Jewelry can become a significant portion of my income; if so, begin business plan for brick and mortar store (may extend beyond one year)

So, back to my October goals. How did I get to where I am right now? Much, much work my readers. And much more to come. Marketing and promotions is where it's at, and you have to be ready to put your time into it. Below is a list of activities that I've completed, are currently in progress, or are on my "To Do" list. The items displayed are what I'll be presenting in my blog entries in the future. If you see one that interests you and would like to see it presented sooner than later, do leave a comment and I'll be happy to post it quickly (also comment if you'd like to see something added; I'll write about it if I feel I can provide blog-worthy input):

  • Researching
  • Perfecting photos
  • Participating in Forums
  • Making the "Brand"
  • Developing business cards
  • Selecting promotional materials
  • Determining packaging approach
  • Joining social networking groups: Flickr, MySpace (to do), Ning (Indiepublic, Skwiggler, EtsyLove [to do]), Talent Database
  • Blogging/blog directories (i.e., Technorati)
  • Joining Street Teams
  • Advertising (Project Wonderful, paid ads)
  • Volunteering/Networking

...and that's just a start. There is plenty more, but it's 9:30 and I still have to edit some photos for posting. Stay tuned for updates on each of these and more...


A Matching Set, an Upcoming Sale, and Updated Relevant Links

I listed my first jewelry set on Etsy over the past few days. The title is called "Beneath the Moon," and the set includes a necklace and earrings. For those who purchase both pieces together, a discount applies! See my Etsy shop for details.

I'm also going to be running a special tonight, and then another through Monday evening, so be sure you tune in at my Etsy store tonight around 5 p.m. for the Saturday Night Special (SNS) details! Tomorrow morning the sale will be continued, it will just have another name.

Finally, be sure you take a look at my updated "Relevant Links" section in the left navigation bar. I've updated it to include Etsy for Everyone, a wonderful, informative blog run by strumpfkunst, and the Indiecrafters link I mentioned in my previous post, sponsored by Marie Cristine Jewelry.

Indiecrafters Web Site

Greetings, readers. I hope your Thanksgiving (if you celebrate it) was wonderful. I'm still so full even my ears feel bloated! Last night we got our first "real" snow here in Western PA--meaning, it actually stuck to the ground. My birds are upset because the perches on their feeders are snow covered; however, they're willing to forgive me because I bought a heater for my birdbath, which is working wonderfully.

So, let's talk shop stuff. I'm now listed on the Jewelry page of the Indiecrafters web site. This site is sponsored by the lovely Cristine of Marie Cristine Jewelry. Cristine does metal work as well as wire work (two of my faves!), and her handmade jewelry is made with sterling silver, fine silver, or gold filled metals. She also designs and creates handmade chains, chainmaille, bracelets, earrings, necklaces, pendants, and rings. Finally, she cuts many of her own cabochons from local stones that she collects as well as from raw material that she purchases.

So, hats off to Marie Cristine Jewelry, and thanks to Cristine once again for putting my creations on her site. Want more? Give her a visit at Etsy (link provided below). You might also want to check out her Trunkt Portfolio.


All Caught Up

Well, I finished my Thanksgiving To Do list. And yes I made it to the liquor store. :oP

Tomorrow will be spent with family and friends, so a post is probably not going to happen until Friday. In it, there will be a few announcements, including what I plan to do with this weekend's Saturday Night Special, a new site I'm on, a gift giveaway I'm participating in, and hopefully some new photos (I bought some different colors of craft paper today). If the photo shoot goes well, I'll post some tips here, of course.

Finally, I updated my Etsy banner today for my holiday shoppers. Go ahead and check it out...you know you want to!

Until Friday, have a Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.


Wow I Made the Cover

So a few weeks ago, fellow Etsy seller Tim Adam of TimothyAdamDesigns added a post to the forum that was quite intriguing, I must say. Basically, the deal was this: You buy the book that he is creating ("The Handbook to Handmade"), and all those who bought it would have their work featured in it. It can then be used as a marketing tool for Etsy sellers and Etsy in general.

I went ahead and bought a copy, figuring this kind of marketing would be quite easy (and that's my favorite kind!). Anyway, I got an e-mail from Tim today, pointing us to his blog where the Handbook is featured, and Talking in Circles made the front cover! I told him I was very flattered to be among such "wonderful-ness" of Etsy. I am also very thankful that he is taking the time and the effort to compile and publish this book. I can only imagine the level of dedication required. Cheers to you, Tim.

If you get the chance, give Tim a visit at his Etsy shop, listed below. He's a self-taught metal artist who creates some really unique items, ranging from jewelry to furniture to wall art. You can also view some of Tim's work on Trunkt.


Featured on Talent Database

Well, this was an exciting day for me, readers. I got an e-mail out of the blue that let me know I'm featured on Talent Database. Yeeeehaw! So that was kinda neato. It's given me a lot of hits on my page, which helps for some additional exposure. Are you a member yet? If not, get there now! You won't be disappointed; it's a great site.


...and Thanksgiving is Almost Here!

Good gravy (no pun) readers, it's almost that time. So much stuff to do before then, so little time. Not to mention, I haven't been keeping up with my reading of the Etsy Bloggers boards, and I almost missed this Blog Carnival. Yup, you got it...another one related to the holidays, 'cept this one is related to Thanksgiving.

I have until midnight to finish this post for Stormy Designs, who is hosting this blog, so this is gonna be quick and dirty for sure! To ensure that I get this in on time, I'm going to post my "To Do" list here for my holiday weekend. That way, if I have to add anything later, during the week I'll be back to update the progress I've made.

Here goes:

  • Go to liquor store. Much wine is needed for this holiday.
  • Prep items for the things I'm responsible for making (dinner is at my parents' house this year): apple dumplings, pumpkin pie, tomato basil dip
  • Determine what else to make to go to my friend's house, which is where we hang out at Thanksgiving evening.
  • Dig through all of my DVDs to find "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation," which is a family tradition where we're all stuffed and feelin' fat and we watch this hilarious movie while drinking that wine I bought at the liquor store.
  • Make apple dumplings, pumpkin pie, tomato basil dip
  • Try to fight off my husband from eating apple dumplings and pumpkin pie (my honey has a bit of a sweet tooth)
  • Did I mention go to the liquor store?
  • Begin holiday shopping on Etsy :oD

Well, there you have it. Perhaps I'll put recipes up later this week? They're quite easy and yummy too.

Nighty-night, all.

Dyed Beads: A No-No in the Tumbler!

So last night during an anal retentive phase, I decided to throw my "Paint it Cherry Red" brooches into the tumbler. The one that is now available for sale as of this evening made it through OK (see pic); however, the one that was supposed to go out the door this week is history. Yap. Gone and redone. I used red coral beads in these, and totally forgot that they were dyed. The one that was to be mailed out...the custom order for my friend, had a few marks on the wire from my pliers, so I figured I'd just throw it back in there and the tumbler would polish them out. When I took out the brooch, the poor little red coral beads were a very dull pink color. Ugh.

So anyway, I got up this morning early and wound, wound, wound another one. Here's a photo of it...all nice 'n shiny 'n new looking. The good thing is I'm starting to become proficient at the technique. Another good thing is that my friend will get a better product, as hers was the very first one I made and as I mentioned it had some slight scratches. I thought everything was a goner last night though. But...after asking for some help in the Etsy Forums, I got the encouragement to at least salvage some of it, and I did. I was able to keep the frame, as well as all of the beads that weren't red coral. So...chalk it up to a lesson learned.

I also took some additional pics tonight of my new products, but they turned out crappy due to the colors of the beads. I'll need to mess around with my settings...and there might be a lot of Photoshop going on this week! Expect some labradorite, some moonstone, some smoky quartz, some pearls, and some garnets. Most are earrings, but I have a new necklace/earring set on its way, too.

Peace out.


So Much Info to Share!

Greetings readers. Much info in the world of Simply Wired Custom Jewelry today.

The first piece I want to share is my latest Treasury, basically because I'm unable to put up any new photos due to my lack of a camera (see my last post). It's titled "Get REDdy for Holiday Shopping" and it includes links to some of my faves that are--you guessed it--red. Yum. You can get to it with this link...but hurry 'cause it's gonna expire in about one day.

Next in my news: the All Things Handmade blog. littleputbooks and schOOLLOcker sponsor this one, and I'm a volunteer. Here's why it's great: It houses lists and lists of sellers' Etsy Minis, grouped by category. Us volunteers read the blog on a daily basis, and check the comments, which is where sellers request to be listed. We then upload their Etsy Mini, and woo! They get some promotion on the site. Sound cool or what? I know it does, that's why you should go there now! For quick reference, if you'd like to know more information, jump to these links directly:

Currently, I'm curating the Music and the Zines & Comics categories. I've sent out a few requests, so I'm waiting for responses and comments. Feel free to visit and leave a comment if your products fit within one of those categories!

Wow. I think that's it for now. Check in often for updates that relate to new products that I'll be releasing in my shop; I hope to get pics up on my Flickr page this weekend. I also bought some wonderful holiday-esque packaging materials tonight from Michael's, so I'm looking forward to my next sale.


Paint It Cherry Red

Well, even without my camera, I gotta put something up that I'm working on, so readers, you'll have to deal with the less-than-perfect photo for now.

I introduce you to: Paint It Cherry Red, a brooch that incorporates the lovely colors of red (red garnet, red coral, and red Czech glass) into a mosaic technique against a hand forged sterling silver frame. In case you missed it, you can see the draft version of this brooch here.

These were quite fun, and took up most of my weekend! I made the frame out of 16g wire, and then hammered it to flatten it. Then, I used 18g wire to wrap the ends together tightly and form the pin. On the opposite side is also an 18g wrap that holds the hook for the pin to fit in.

Notice the one on the left has a defined set of Czech glass beads going up the middle, from the bottom left to the top right. I designed this one a little differently--I added this strip first, and then "mosaiced" (I think I just made up that word) each side of the brooch separately. I hope to post these next week in my Etsy shop.

Speaking of Etsy, have you started to put together your shopping list yet? Here's a few pointers: Check out my post on shopping picks for the holidays. You might also want to read up on this "Handmade Pledge" that's going around, especially in light of all of the recent toy recalls we've been seeing on the front pages. Need a quick refresher on the recalls? Check out fellow Etsy Blogger AliciaMae's article at: http://www.quazen.com/Shopping/Gifts/Christmas-Gift-Alternatives-to-Recalled-Toys.57776.

That's all for now...four days 'til I get my camera back!

Can't wait to click click click...


Why I Love My Camera

So, my husband went away on a hunting trip this week to Vermont. Before he left, he asked if he could take my camera with him. I said yes of course! I want him to be able to capture scenes from the deep woods of Vermont and its mountainous landscape with only the best of the best. However, this is putting a real damper on me at home, as it's going to hinder me listing new items because I believe my old camera (The Brick) has finally had it.

Yes readers, for tonight I was going to do some quick 'n dirty pics of some of my works in progress, including some of my custom orders. I took The Brick into the photo studio (as in, my little work room), and snapped away. I then loaded the pics on to my computer, hoping something would be salvageable; alas, they were all stinkaroo. I really don't know how I functioned with that thing. The macro setting is terrible; I was only a foot away and the photos were STILL blurry! Image stabilization is also a luxury that I just don't know HOW I lived without for so long.

Anyway, here's some updates if you care to know:

The brooch I was working on for my friend (view the draft version) is finished; it has a combination of red coral, red garnet (so deep red it's almost purple), some red Czech glass faceted rounds, and some sterling silver beads. The weight of the brooch itself is awesome! I hope she likes it. If not, I'm sure there's room for it in my Etsy store.

A friend of mine requested a custom order for his girlfriend, and I was really torn about what to make for her. Then, I decided labradorite would be the perfect fit. Now, I must tell you, I'm a turquoise girl at heart, and I noticed that quite a few sellers list labradorite as their favorite gem. I really didn't want to jump on the bandwagon, as I figured the stone had enough followers. And then I received a big strand of nuggets in the mail. Oh, how I love it. The way the color reflects differently in each piece, with flashes of blue and light green...it's just magical. And the combination of it with rainbow moonstone? YUM. So, I can't wait to make this gift. She's going to love it.

So, without the camera, I'll be renewing this week rather than listing new stuff. That's OK though, because it will give me time to create a few more originals (including some pieces with smoky quartz, another new fave of mine). Next week, I'll be back with some works in progress, as my husband will be back and hopefully my camera will be in one piece!


First Sale, 100 Hearts, Life is Good

Well, I reached two milestones this week--I made my first Etsy sale, and I reached 100 hearts. I also got another custom order! I'm quite happy, and it's been a great week. My sale came as a result of placing my item on Skwiggle Kreationz--it's a Social Network within Ning (IndiePublic is in this network, too!) that helps artists and designers with exposure and advertising. It's a great site! If you decide to get over there and join, be sure to send me a friend request; I'm happy to accept.

I also put a pendant in my shop today, as promised. It's called Luna; here's a li'l photo for ya. You can also go directly to it here.

As far as my weekly feature goes, I'm thinking I might have to put it on hold until after the holidays. The reason is because of the number of custom orders I have, along with the fact that everyone ELSE is undoubtedly very busy. So, although it may give me an increase in traffic, I'm going to have to postpone. Who knows? By then, I may determine a bigger, better feature to include. So, until then, stay tuned!

Get your wire out,



They Love Each Other

They Love Each Other
Originally uploaded by Simply Wired
They really do! As promised, here's one of my photos of one of my St. Bernards, Gus, and one of my cats, Shammer. For more photos of my pets, along with some new work, go see my Flickr page at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/simply_wired. Leave some love! I promise I'll get back to you.

Shop Etsy for the Holidays!

Today’s entry is related to the Etsy Bloggers Street Team Blog Carnival. The theme? Christmas Gift Ideas! This one is going to be soooooooo easy, as I’ve already been doing Christmas shopping on Etsy. Not to mention, I’m trying to stick with the Handmade Pledge as much as I can, because gifts that are crafted by hand are much more unique and meaningful than those that are mass produced.

What this nice little entry will do is give you an idea of some of the wonderful items that are available on Etsy…I’m trying to stay practical and reach a broad audience. I’ll provide five items below that would serve as a great Christmas gift…if you don’t think so, you’ll at least be exposed to the wide range of goodies available! Also, please keep in mind that I’m not going to let you know if these are MY specific Christmas gift items…I have friends and family reading this post, so I don’t want to spoil it, of course! Anyway…enjoy.


These are one of the coolest items I’ve seen on Etsy so far. They’re like a little mini neck warmer, without all of the extra material that goes into a scarf! Many sellers are going to be offering scarflettes as the cold weather sets in; my favorite so far is from AllInStitches. The color combination is fabulous, and it matches just about everything I own!


My hair was short for a very long time, but now it’s long once again, and so I LOVE wearing hats (they just didn’t look right with the shorter ‘do). Etsy sellers have a fabulous line of hats available, in all different styles. I need to get one for every day of the week! One of my favorite sellers that specializes in hats is BKMHattitude. I love this one especially…practical ‘n funky.


Yep, I love toys. Especially ones that are handmade, of course! This little creature here is brought to you by NattyStuffs. I just love it! And, I can tell you that I’ve already bought one, and the quality is fantastic. I can’t wait to buy more!


When I decide to break down and redo my stoneware theme for my kitchen, I can tell you that nothing will come from Target or The Bon Ton. They’ll come from someone who specializes in pottery, like khphillips. His Mudstuffing Pottery studio has some amazing items, all done up earthy and practical, just like I like ‘em! This lovely set I have pictured here is one of my faves because it would be the perfect addition to my kitchen, especially the colors. I am certain that YOU have friends or family members that would love this!


Handbags are a very popular item on Etsy…there are a ton of fabulous sellers, each offering different styles, color combinations, and themes for their handbags. The one I’ll mention here is HerRoyalMajestyBags. HRMB’s items are absolutely lovely, with styles that accommodate anyone’s taste. Not to mention, her descriptions for her items are a joy to read, and I’m sure the Queen would be delighted if you visited her shop! She has a wide variety of offerings, and stands behind the quality of her work. From what I’ve noticed just by running into her on the forums, she’s an all around great person, and a pleasure to converse with.

So, that’s it for now. As you can see, I only listed a small number of items…I wish I could list more, but I have work to do for my own store, silly! Now, get out there and BUY HANDMADE. Your friends and family will love you for it, and you’ll be considered the best gift-giver EVER. Happy shopping!


Thirsty Visitor

I LOVE IT when birds visit my feeders. Today I was camera happy, and this little cutie decided to hang out at our birdbath. I also got an excellent photo of a female cardinal, but I love how fat 'n furry this yellow goldfinch looks, so I posted it here for all to see.

Today was also the first day of Etsy's Jewelry Showcase; I bought a spot in it. After thinking about it, it was probably a bad idea to have purchased the spot on its debut; however, it did generate 40+ hits for my featured item (Ocean Storm) as of the time of this posting. I also purchased numerous other Showcase spots, including the main Showcase on November 8th, and Jewelry Showcases on November 21st and November 23rd ("Black Friday"...oooooooooh).

I'm also in an Etsy Treasury today! ArtisticDetour was able to curate yet another cooooool list. This time, my Winter Grapes and Lemons Earrings were featured. Thanks once again, ArtisticDetour!

This week I hope to keep filling up the shop with items; I worked on some new earrings today and some pendants. The photo shoot took longer than expected of course, some requiring a re-shoot, but I should have enough to work with for initial postings.

Wrap it up,



Gooooooood grief Charlie Brown, my cold has kicked my butt this week. I thought I was coming around, but today my head felt like it would explode and my energy is all gone. So, most of the day has been spent on the couch. I have my little bead board beside me, waiting to be picked up, but the creativity just isn't there, basically because every two minutes I have to grab another tissue and blow my nose. Ick.

So, I'm going to have a slight delay on the feature article; look for it early on in the week. I also think I'm going to do a book review of some of my favorite resources. Finally, I need to figure out how to do this Blog Carnival thing, as I'm a member of the Etsy Bloggers Street Team and I need to determine ways that I can be further involved.

I'll also be posting some new items this week--a few pairs of earrings, my Talking in Circles necklace (finished! finally! yay!), maybe a bracelet, and a pendant or two.

Wire it up...


Happy Halloween!

May your tricks be minimal and your treats be abundant.

For you readers who like random pics posted, here's one for ya from my back deck. It's called "Mr. Pumpkin's View." He stares all day into my woods and doesn't seem to mind it. Lately, however, he's been quite bummed because those leaves they are a' fallin'.

Anyway, some store updates: A fellow Etsy member sent me a convo today to ask if I sold pendants by themselves...the answer is YES I do; I just haven't listed any yet. Look for more to come in the near future.

Also, I'm beginning to feel a little better, so I'm hoping to be able to post my first "Sharin' the Love" entry either tomorrow or Friday. The reason for the weekly feature is based on the poll I conducted regarding what would encourage readers to subscribe to a blog. I had 22 voters; each voter could vote for more than one item. As of tonight, the results are as follows:
  • 12 people voted for "Tutorials (banners, avatars, photography, Photoshop, writing descriptions, etc.) "

  • 8 people voted for "A monthly contest"

  • 15 people voted for "Interesting, engaging, and visually attractive blog posts"
To my surprise, no one voted for "A checklist for listing Etsy items" or "A neatly formatted list of 'Etsy Best Practices,' grouped by category." I believe the reason for the low turnout on these two items is because most of the folks that visited my blog may be seasoned Etsy sellers rather than new sellers.

The upcoming feature will combine the tutorials (based on those that others have submitted [I don't want to reinvent the wheel here] or ones that I create) and the use of interesting, engaging, and visually attractive blog posts. My goal is for "Simply Wired: The Blog" to serve as a collection of resources--a "one-stop-shop" to find out what types of information is out there to assist sellers. Along the way, it will highlight some amazing Etsy members and their products.

Improving the Etsy Shop Series
Now that I've opened up my store, I'll be doing most of my changes right on my site. Today's tip was to be sure your Featured Items are ranked appropriately. This one is also finished, as I've been keeping up with my featured items as I list them. The one bit of advice I did get from it, however, is to be sure to have featured items that are in later pages of your items. This will encourage buyers to browse ALL items of your list. Great idea!


Happenings, Updates, Etc.

A short post tonight, folks, as I'm a bit under the weather. I finally posted Reloj on my Etsy site (it's also in my banner, above!), so now it's officially for sale. This one was really a struggle coming up with just the right look for it. After much scrapped wire and a few temper tantrums, I am truly satisfied with it. I hope the wearer who ends up with it will love it as much as I do. As mentioned before, I said that the colors were inspired by the talavera tile in my kitchen, and I posted a photo of it here for ya. Perfect match!

Later this week (hopefully sooner than later, depending on this cold of mine), I'm going to be starting a weekly feature where I highlight Etsy sellers who have "How-Tos" or helpful information for Etsy sellers. The feature will be called "Sharin' the Love." My first two highlighted sellers will be strumpfkunst and ChristinaPerdue.

Finally, I purchased three showcase spots...one for the Storque and two for the main page...hopefully it will lead to some more exposure.


Canyon Drops Earrings

Canyon Drops Earrings
Originally uploaded by Simply Wired
...keeping up with that Southwest theme, here is tomorrow's item. Find them at my shop: http://simplywired.etsy.com. See you there!


Mosaic Brooch Draft

One of my friends asked me to make her a brooch...I've never done one before, so today was the day I finally decided to finish my practice piece. I had the frame already created, but had to read up a little on the "mosaic" technique, as I really don't use it often. What it does is allow you to use a numerous selection of different sized beads to create a "mosaic" woven with wire. You weave the wire and beads around the frame, and keep moving inward until you just start randomly placing whatever piece or size will fit. My favorite part is adding little coils to the piece. Can you see 'em in there? Anyway, the one I'll be working on will be sterling silver, with red garnet and red coral beads. I think the color combo will be gorgeous! (My friend picked it out...she really has an eye for that kind of stuff.)

So, of course since this is a draft there are a few things I would have done differently. For instance, I used 28g instead of 26g wire. Mistake. It's too thin and breaks easily. I also need to be sure I incorporate even smaller beads into the design...I had nothing less than 4mm for this one, and I need to have 2-3mm beads to fill in the small gaps.

Well, that's all for now. I have to get ready for a Halloween party tonight...my costume came from Etsy! I bought these lovely little horns from AbbieRoad. Aren't they adorable? They're only about 2" high. I'm going to be some type of fairy...witchy...I dunno kinda thing. All I know is I can't wait to sport these little guys.


Santa Fe Teardrops Earrings

Happy Friday, everyone! Tomorrow is my day off, but you'll see these earrings in my Etsy shop on Sunday.

Today I bought a new lightbox to use for my photographing. See the following article at: http://www.theswitchboards.com/articles_professionalphotos.html. Very helpful!

I also got some new lamps to use with the lightbox so I can hopefully brighten my pics up a little (without so much Photoshopping!).

Finally, I took the "Handmade Pledge" today. See my banner in the left nav bar, or check out the buyhandmade.org web site. It promotes the shopping and purchase of handcrafted items rather than those that are mass produced. What a great idea!


Waterbound Earrings

Waterbound Earrings
Originally uploaded by Simply Wired
...coming tomorrow to Simply Wired! See you there!

Featured on a Treasury!

Well now, this is quite exciting...I've been featured on ArtisticDetour's "Shop From the Heart" Treasury. Check it out...my "Warmth" earrings are right there in the top left corner! Yeeehaw!

You may have read a previous blog about ArtisticDetour before at this site, as I bought one of her pendants when I first became an Etsy member. If you like what you see here, go to Artistic Detour's Etsy shop!


Festival Earrings

Quick post for today...here is tomorrow's item! I posted these on here before, but in case you missed 'em, you can catch 'em in my shop tomorrow. See you there!


Stay Tuned for Tomorrow's Item - Ocean Storm

I'm really pleased with this one, and have been waiting to put it in my store forever!

Improving the Etsy Shop, Days 9-11

I’m almost caught up! I’m up to days 9-11 of my 30 Days to a Better Etsy Shop. What’s nice is that since I’m just starting to build up my inventory, I can read these tips and apply them as I list items. So, here’s the rundown:

Day 9 was Join a Street Team. Already done! I’m a member of the EtsyBloggers Street Team since September '07. Check out the logo I added on my left navigation bar, too! Days 10-11 were Update Your Tags. I was pleased to find that the reference used for this activity was the Storque’s Guidelines & Tips: Tagging on Etsy. I used these guidelines for tagging my items; hopefully they will bring me some luck in Etsy’s search engine.

Finally, I also worked on my sponsor banner, which I’ll use if I decide to sponsor fellow Etsy bloggers:

I also have a few additional custom orders; updates will be posted here and on my Flickr page:

  • A mosaic brooch that uses sterling silver wire, garnets, and red coral.

  • A 15” necklace that incorporates cat’s eye, black onyx, sterling silver tube beads, and sterling silver wire (I already made one of these, you can see it on my Flickr page (I didn’t post it here because the pic ain’t so hot).

  • An 18” necklace that incorporates turquoise and sterling silver wire (and probably some Hill Tribes Silver as well--I’m gonna love this one!).

  • Bridesmaids’ necklaces, adjustable, that include Swarovski pearls, Swarovski crystals, sterling silver spiral tube beads, and sterling silver wire.

Now, the problem will be keeping up with other items to make to sell on my Etsy page.

Anyway...more products on the way, so stay tuned.


Orange & Copper Skullies Earrings

Coming tomorrow to a Simply Wired Etsy shop near you!

I'm on a Blog Page!

Displaced Moose! listed my Warmth Earrings as one of her favorite items on Etsy. Yay! She has some wonderful items in her shop, I must say...my absolute favorite being her Water Lily Shrug/Wrap. So, visit Displaced Moose!'s blog; you'll love her banner, too.

Many Improvements

Lots of work done over the weekend! I am on track with Christina Perdue's Blog, up to Day 8, I opened up shop yesterday, and yeah! I'm starting to get really excited about this whole shop thang.

Anyway, Steps 5 through 8 are going to be easy…because Step 5: Improve your Banner and Avatar is already finished, and Step 6: Update your Descriptions is going to be CAKE because I only have one item (Item #2 will be added in a few hours)! Plus, Step 7 is the other half of my items, which are yet to be listed, so I’ll just have to be sure to follow my own standard format when listing.

So, that brings me to Step 8: Update Your Message to Buyers. This is important for me because I haven’t really added anything to my message except “Thanks for your purchase!”, as I’m not really sure what this message is supposed to entail. So, my new one will be added as follows:

Thank you for your purchase from Simply Wired Custom Jewelry! Your item(s) will be sent to you within two-three days after your payment clears. All jewelry is shipped via USPS First Class Mail with Delivery Confirmation (unless shipped internationally), and will arrive in a lovely gift box perfect for gift giving (to yourself or to others!).

To check the status of your order, go to Your Etsy : Purchases and refer to the “status (from seller)” column.
Finally, I updated my business card, which has taken me forever to find the right cards for my printer! I finally found them…the Avery 8869s…which allow you to print to the edge (very, very important for my graphic design style) and only prints out eight cards per sheet. I’m pretty pleased with the final result; I printed out a set and the edges were very, very clean. At any rate, here’s the image I’m using for the card:

Next, I need to work on the other side, which will probably include a discount code for new customers who acquire my cards at craft fairs (thanks to all of those lovely Etsy sellers who offer to distribute these freebies!). I’d really like to include a set of earrings with each card, but my poor hands won’t work that fast.

Last but not least, I updated my blog banner! I'm quite pleased. Stay tuned, in a few hours I'll be posting a new item, plus posting tomorrow's item here.


Black & Silver Skullies Earrings

Coming tomorrow to my Etsy shop, just in time for Halloween shopping!


Simply Wired Custom Jewelry Creations is Finally Here!

Phew...finally. It took a while, but I posted my first item! Yay! I listed my Warmth earrings today, and for the next two weeks (excluding weekends), I hope to post something daily. This is such a relief, and it was really fun to see my item come up on the first page! Anyway, you can get to the shop by using the left menu, or you can go there really fast by going there now. I hope you enjoy my stuff. If you have comments, questions, concerns, or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment here or convo me.

Etsy rules,


Improving the Etsy Shop, Part 4

I'm still playing the slow catch-up of the 30 day plan, but hey, since my shop isn't up and running yet, I should be OK eventually. Today's activity is to update my profile. Here's where I am so far:

I'm Chelsea, the creator of Simply Wired Custom Jewelry. By day, I’m an instructional systems designer, and when I find time outside of being a workforce professional, I’m a jewelry artisan. Wire and gemstones are what continuously draw me in…the combination of the two is electrifying. At the beginning of this side-profession of mine, I was searching for something to keep my hands and my brain creatively occupied. I started to explore different types of beads and techniques, and when I saw what could be done with wire, that’s when I decided it was for me.

Nature, art, music, people, emotions, weather, and my day-to-day surroundings inspire me. Within my portfolio, you’ll find creations comprised of sterling silver wire, in many cases oxidized. I also favor the look of copper, so a few of my recent pieces incorporate its basic, earthy glory. Weaved, enclosed, or entwined among the wraps you’ll find many types of gemstones, my favorites being turquoise, carnelian, and amber. Metal has also been calling my name as of late, so stay tuned and watch me grow. I promise I will keep trying to improve!

None of my designs would have ever come to fruition without an incessant desire to learn from established professionals. Continuous reading, researching, and enrolling in online classes have enabled me to develop my own personal style, which I attribute to Lisa Niven Kelly, Kriss Silva, Sharilyn Miller, Mark Lareau, Linda Chandler, and Christine Ritchey.

Finally, when I’m not working on jewelry, you can find me working on my musical career, where I’m a vocalist for a little project called The Simple Groove. You can also find me spending time with my wonderful husband, my two St. Bernards, and my two cats. The free moments that are left are spent reading, baking, and watching my backyard birds from the comfort of my living room.


Back in the Shop

Well, I've been doing that day job career thing since last weekend, and all week long. I traveled to D.C. for work...I left Sunday night, but Saturday was pretty much spent packing and preparing my house for house/dog/cat sitters. So, this weekend was generally shot as far as getting anything done Simply Wired-wise.

Check-in Sunday night was absolutely horrid. I stayed at a ratty hotel that had stains all over the floor and on the ottoman in my room. Let's not discuss these details any further. The coworker who I was traveling with called our admin assistant the next morning, and the wonderful chick that she is came to our rescue by getting us set up in an Embassy Suites [sigh of relief]. What we were trying to do with the original hotel was stay at a place where it was fairly close to our meeting site. We'll learn next time, as apparently the Embassy Suites is our company's hotel of choice. If you've never stayed there before, there's really, truly no need to stay anywhere else. Ever.

Anyway, next week things may slow down a bit, so I'll get back on track. Until then...keep on keepin' it real...



Improving the Etsy Shop, Part 3

So I'm at day 3 of improvements already. Tonight's is easy:

Update your sections.

I'm going to keep it standard, based upon the products that I have, which are necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. But, I want to add something clever to the categories, just to make them a little different than these one-word descriptors. So, I'll be using the following:

  • Adorn my neck with marvelous!
  • Decorate my wrist with spectacular!
  • Embellish my ears with dazzling!
There, that should do it. I'm sure there will be much more difficult tasks to come.

In other news, I have to travel to D.C. next week for work, so that puts a damper on the shop opening. Sigh. Oh well, more to look forward to when I return. Last night and tonight I started taking some pics and working out the settings for my new camera. I put a few of the pics here; let me know your likes/dislikes.

Canyon Drops Earrings

Warmth Earrings

Festival Earrings

Reloj Necklace

Funny how a new piece of equipment can totally mess up a whole process. With the old Kodak camera ("the brick"), I had everything all set--lighting, settings, exposure, etc. With the new Canon, I had to go through the process all over again. Plus, because of all of the new and improved settings and adjustments that can be made, it took me twice as long (please note that I'm not complaining about my new camera, I love it!).

The photos are still coming out a little bit gray, but I attribute it to the fact that I only have one lamp shining in the lightbox. My Photoshop skills can handle this for now. I need to get two more lamps, but I just haven't been to the store yet to find the ones that I need. In addition, I also need to get full spectrum bulbs, which I think will make a world of difference.

Anyway, that's all for the night. Long day tomorrow, as I have a deliverable that's due for my day job.

Hugs 'n stuff,



Improving the Etsy Shop, Part 2

As mentioned in yesterday's blog, I'm following a fellow Etsy blogger in her quest to help everyone improve their shop in 30 days. For me, today is Day 2, and the corresponding assignment is:

Update Your Shop Announcement

Since mine really isn't an update, I'll be creating mine. Hmmm...let's see. In a very small amount of text and real estate, I need to communicate to a potential buyer just how much they'll ROCK in my wares. I also want my potential customers to visit this blog and my Flickr page so they can see works in progress and get the general dirt on little ol' me. So, here goes my first attempt:


Making You Beautiful, One Wire Wrap at a Time

A special welcome to you, beautiful Etsy buyer. Here you will find wire jewelry that I've twisted and wrapped into wearable art, all by hand.

Browse my selection of necklaces, bracelets, and earrings for the perfect accessories to your wardrobe--the kind that you just can't find on major merchandisers' counter displays.

I also do custom work, so convo me and we can discuss your unique needs. I love to make things as wonderful as you are!

Updates and other Simply Wired Custom Jewelry happenings are available at http://simplywiredcustomjewelry.blogspot.com/. Photos of custom work and works in progress are available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/simply_wired.


So, there you have it. More to come...maybe later tonight. We'll see.




Busy Weekend

Good grief, things have been crazy. As I mentioned in a previous post, life just sometimes takes over. I did get a few components done on my Talking in Circles in necklace; however, I was working on a coiled jump ring this evening and I got one right, but the other one decided to give me grief. As a result, the tools were put away. I hate when that happens. It's almost like having to start over, with no direction on where to go next.

So this week I think I'll be at a point where I'll have some items to add to my shop. I'll have about three necklaces and several pairs of earrings, which will enable me to post consistently for approximately two weeks. In preparation for my store opening, there are a ton of other things to do, such as photograph my items, write their descriptions, figure out pricing, etc. It's a ton of work! At the same time, lots of shop information needs to be completed. Luckily, Christina Perdue's blog is helping a bunch of folks out, including me. She has this excellent plan where she's going to spend the next 30 days giving us all tips on how to update our shops. While she provides the tips, she's going to be doing the same thing.

To get me started writing and documenting what I'm going to do with Simply Wired Custom Jewelry , I'm going to post my information here, and then I'll move it over to the shop when I'm ready.

Alrighty...here goes her #1 item: Set goals both monthly and long term for your shop and business.

Mine are as follows:


  1. Open Etsy shop
  2. List at least one new item per day (weekdays) after opening until inventory runs out
  3. Create new items while listing so that number of items in my shop is approximately 30 (may stretch to November)
  4. Update blog every day
  5. Sell at least one item before the end of the month

Long-term (within one year)
  1. If sales continue to be a success, purchase a Simply Wired Custom Jewelry domain name
  2. Begin metalsmithing techniques, and take a class if one is available near me
  3. Submit my work in a jewelry contest
  4. Evaluate success and determine if Simply Wired Custom Jewelry can become a significant portion of my income; if so, begin business plan for brick and mortar store (may extend beyond one year)

Nighty night, folks. I promise I'll also include some other fun stuff mixed in with "the biz" posts, including pics of pets, corners of my home, etc.



It's Here!

My camera is here! I'm still learning how to use it, but I'm quite proud of this macro shot I took today of one of the flowers on my deck. Oh, how I'm going to love photographing the jewelry. I didn't get the chance to try it yet because I need to move my lightbox outside, etc. But hopefully tomorrow I'll get some time.

I also got a photo of this little guy, who's hanging out on the railings of my deck. He wouldn't turn around for me, and then I kinda blew at this web to get him to move around a bit and he ran away and hid. I'm totally not a spider fan, but I am a fan of webs, so I have to make the trade. No sense in photographing them if their eight-legged little habitants can't get credit for 'em [shudders while thinking about the spider].
Another thing that I did today was clean my copper jewelry with lemon juice. It really works! Reloj and Egyptian Goddess are super shiny, waiting to be worn. I can't wait to photograph them for my Etsy shop!

Anyway, more to come in the next few days folks, I promise.

Click-click-click-click-click goes the camera,


The Smell of October

I caught it today after I walked down my driveway, returning from a quick trip to the store: October. Breathing in, the crisp air burns from the golden sunshine that rises later and sets earlier, reminding us that our summer has had its finale. If you know me, you know that I'm not really an autumn fan; I'll take spring and summer forever. But for those few weeks in October, as the leaves glow orange, red, and yellow amidst their lack of light, and pumpkin patches bear their signature fruits, I take it all in.

In my little nook of the U.S.--Western Pennsylvania--the leaves are not quite turning yet. From my deck at the back of my house, my view is covered in trees, all trying to hold on to their green while their neighbors slowly transform. Soon, they'll give in, and the view from my sliding glass window will be adorned with nothing but color. Even my birds know that fall is upon us; their numbers are dwindling, hopefully because they've discovered the birdhouses my husband and I built for them.

This morning I began the fall scrub-down of my house, which is why I'm late on posting and why I'm delayed in jewelry making. I need to get things in order on the homefront in order to let my creativity flow without interruption. Halloween will be here soon, and I'm doing a revamp of all of my decor (mostly because my house is in the process of a complete transformation). Tonight, because of my completed missions today, I was able to finish Reloj (yeah!) and get busy with Talking in Circles (see my previous post on these for details). With my camera arriving tomorrow, I hope to get things photographed, descriptions written, and open that store soon...but I'm patient. It will come. Until then, I'm going to let the chill of the air creep in when it can, let the leaves begin to color my backyard, and get ready for All Hallow's Eve. All is good.

Look how the sun has painted the trees
All these colors never known to them
Colors never known to their leaves
I'd like to sing like that
--Chris Pureka, "Compass Rose"


New Camera!

Well, I finally did it. I finally made the leap and purchased a new digital camera for myself. I went to my favorite online retailer, Amazon.com, and completed the transaction (the camera has been sitting in my cart for over a month). It will be here on Wednesday!

If you'd see the one that I have right now, you would know that I am LOOOOOOONG overdue. My brother has even told me that he's embarassed to go anywhere with me if I take my old one. We call it "The Brick." It's a Kodak DC3400 Zoom, which my husband bought for me for my birthday in December of 1999. Now, granted it's old and it's huge and it's definitely outdated; however, it's done the job for me quite proper, so I can't complain. Aside from the size, however, the LCD screen is about shot, it's a battery hog, and soon I don't think I'll be able to purchase the type of Compact Flash cards it needs anymore. Regardless, I'm still going to hold on to it as our "beater" camera.

So, let's get back to the new purchase. Oh, the new purchase. I'm quite pleased with it: The Canon PowerShot A720IS 8MP Digital Camera with 6x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom. I am drooling over it for many reasons (visit Canon for the full spec). First, at one of my old jobs we worked on a marketing piece for Canon, and we had the opportunity to interview several well-known photographers (Greg Gorman and Barbara Bordnick, to name a few). I didn't do the interviews myself, but I did get to hear them and transcribe them, which eventually transformed into training materials that taught photographers how to make the transition from film to digital. Because of the testimonials these folks gave about Canons, I was sold immediately (granted, they were using the very high-end series at the time, but still...it didn't take much convincing). Second, Canon products continue to receive excellent ratings, and some of my favorite photos I see on Flickr are shot with a Canon (check out my friend's stream of GORGEOUS macro shots here).

So, I'm looking forward to doing shots of my jewelry for my shop, and testing out this little fella just to see what he can do. In the next few weeks, I anticipate posting some strange and random moments in time, courtesy of my Canon, but I doubt anyone will mind. You can probably anticipate dogs, cats, backyard bird scenes, and the wonderful, wonderful colors of fall. Have a beautiful evening folks.

Peace, love, and thousands of camera clicks,

p.s. Also arriving with my camera will be Mark Lareau's new book, Getting Started Making Metal Jewelry. Yeehaw I'm gonna be having some fun in the very near future!


Six Things About Me: #6

Alas, the final installment of this list. Next, I'll have to identify other lucky victims. :0D

Here it is: #6: My two biggest accomplishments are backpacking trips.

I maybe should have said "BIG backpacking trips," as they are not what you call easy-out-and-backs or easy-loops. Nope, they involve two significant trips: One to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, and the other one from start to finish on the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail.

The reason I consider them such feats is because the Grand Canyon trip was my first backpacking trip EVER. Down to the bottom and back out in two days, with mules having the right of way, it's a challenge because of the changing temperatures, the rough path, and the incline of the hike. I made it, but not without a struggle! I even almost cried once on the way up, after I tried to look up to see where the top was and all I could see were switchbacks.

The Laurel Highlands Trail was also a doozy...all 85 miles of it (70 trail miles + the extra miles to hike in and out of the lean-tos). I did this one in terrible boots, with blisters all over my feet. I think tears did come that time, but I refused to let those stupid blisters get the best of me. It was one of the best vacations of my life, and when I think about how we did the trail from start to finish, I give myself a cheer. There's not many people who can say they've done the same thing.


Six Things About Me: #5

Almost done! Here's #5: I've only recently been doing this crafty/jewelry thing.

It's true...I never really had the time until about two years ago, when I decided to MAKE time for myself to do the things I love. Don't get me wrong...I did things outside of work and beyond the standard "life responsibilities" (I always made sure I had time for the band, spending time with my husband and my friends, etc.), Ocean Storm Necklacebut I was looking for something tangible where I could "get my hands dirty." One day, I was talking to my soon-to-be-sister-in-law about making stuff (as mentioned in item #4, she's soooooo talented), and she was showing me some bead work. I didn't want to do the exact same thing, so I started looking through some books, and wire and metal is what really drew me in. I think it's the mixture of the metal with gemstones and glass that really attracts me. Plus, there are so many techniques to learn, I figured I could get into something that would offer many, many opportunities to keep learning and growing. So, that's where I am today. I'm ready to take the next step to PMC and metalsmithing in general. I have a large, mostly cement basement that's divided into little rooms; one of them is just dying to become my workshop. After that, I'll be working on starting my glass studio. That's the one I'm really excited about, but it seems that there's much more equipment that I need to buy, so I'll be taking it one step at a time. I figure this will keep me occupied for quite a while.

Egyptian Goddess NecklaceI must warn you that I'll probably have to skip a day tomorrow, as I may not be around in the evening. If not, I'll try to get on early Saturday to give you the 6th and final "interesting" (or maybe not) item. By then, I hope to have some more photos of some works in progress, too. My pieces are very labor intensive, so it takes a while, folks. Please bear with me! Until then, I included some photos that I put on Flickr not long ago, they'll be on Etsy, too (and most likely rephotographed, as they're a little gray).

Tomorrow is Friday,