A good Day

Sometimes it is hard to work for yourself, by yourself. Sometimes it is lonely.

Sometimes there is so much work you don’t know what to do, other times there is so little work  you don’t know what to do.

Sometimes you talk to the jewelry. Sometimes you yell at the jewelry, because “WHY ARE YOU MAKING MY LIFE MISERABLE AND WOULD YOU JUST SOLDER ALREADY!”

Sometimes when you have a ring all done and beautiful and you are polishing it, the buffing wheel sucks it out of your hand and throws it to who knows where (probably into the furnace or under the hot water heater) and it is gone forever. Gone. And it was such a perfect little ring.

Sometimes customers get angry because their package never arrived in France and you sent them another one free of charge, but it never arrived either and they needed that ring to propose to their girlfriend and it is all your fault.

Sometimes people send their ring back because it just “isn’t what they were expecting.” What exactly were they expecting?

Sometimes it is hard to work at home. Sometimes your day consists of going with your husband to drop his truck off at Big-O and then driving him to school, going back and picking him up from school, driving him to pick up his truck from Big-O, driving one or other daughter to dance class, taking the dog to the park, picking the daughter up from dance class, and making dinner. And the next thing you know it is 10pm and you still have 10 rings to make before you go to bed.

But sometimes when everyone is gone to work or school it is very quiet and peaceful and you kinda wish they would never come home.

And sometimes you get a letter like I did today and it is a good day.

Hi Demi,

I’m sure you don’t remember me but…

2 years ago I purchased 2 of the oui rings from you for my best friend and I. We both have worn the rings every single day and even traveled through Europe this past summer together wearing them. They have been through so much and survived a lot, so there is tremendous sentimental value there…

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Unfortunately about 2 weeks ago my roommate got her ring stuck on something and the gem popped out. Then this past week I left mine in a bathroom at the doctors office. I called to see if anyone returned it to lost and found but they didn’t. I can only hope it brings as much luck and happiness to whoever found it as it did for me.

Regardless the rings were super important and my best friend and I are graduating next month. I would like to surprise her and get both rings replaced since we both aren’t coping well without them. I just wanted to thank you for creating these rings because not only are they beautiful but they were great conversation starters and up until the day I lost it I was getting compliments. Not to mention it brought a ton of happiness and motivation into my life whenever I looked down at it.

Thank you

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Girls Above Society

This one really is about me. Staring the beautiful Lauren Galley, Street Bauble’s official model. Not your average 18 yr old she is doing big things for the world in general and teen girls in particular with girlsabovesociety.org.

She’s Making Jewelry Now

Comment Emesis, Hackers, and Zombies

I learned a new word last week: EMESIS. Who knew I would get to use it so soon.

A couple of weeks ago I added a new page to my blog, I entitled it “Live Events”. I added it as a place to announce when and where I would sell my jewelry in person. Kind of a little bulletin board of sorts. It’s a very simple page, just a list of upcoming events with a couple of videos for fun.

Ever since then my blog has been BOMBARDED with comments. Hundreds of comments, telling me what a wonderful and informative piece of writing I am providing to the world. The comments seem a tiny bit like they were written by a computer, but still gushing with praise so I am happy. This evening I happened to notice my spam folder had 598 comments in it! 598! Are you kidding me?!? For one very brief moment I questioned whether they really were spam at all. Maybe my filter has gone crazy, maybe my page has become wildly popular and my filter is jealous and trying to keep me from my glory days.  Or maybe not.

But I WAS curious and thought I better have a look at those spam messages, just in case one or two REAL comments were hiding in there.

It only took 2 or 3 to see that I had been delivered a great big SPAM and EGG sandwich. Take this one for instance:

“To make scrambled eggs with a waffle maker simply crack eggs into a bowl, add milk and wisk. When it comes to any kind of cookware or kitchen appliance, Wolfgang Puck remains to be at the top of the game. Maybe you’ve recently had a child, or other life event.”

I don’t remember asking for advise on how to make scrambled eggs…… and I am not really sure what that has to do with having a baby, but what do I know?

Once I started reading I was sucked in. It was a blend of unwarranted bad grammar infused praise and random sales pitches. Instead of being upset I found the whole thing extremely funny.  So though I am not going to approve these comments, I would hate for them to be lost forever.

Here are some of my favorites:

“If some one desires to be updated with hottest technologies then he must be go to see this website and be up to date everyday.”

 

“I loved as much as you will receive carried out right here. The sketch is tasteful, your authored subject matter stylish. nonetheless, you command get got an edginess over that you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come further formerly again since exactly the same nearly a lot often inside case you shield this
hike.”

I am not at all sure what you are trying to say, but edginess is definitely what I was going for. Is this what happens to the well-crafted emails I write to customers in France when I run them through google translate?

“Wow, this piece of writing is good, my sister is analyzing these things, so I am going to let know her.”

She is analyzing what things, craft fairs?

Magnificent goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous to and you’re just extremely excellent. I really like what you have acquired here, really like what you are saying and the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it sensible. I can’t wait to read far more from you. This is actually a great website.”

I am just extremely excellent! Hear that world!

“Very shortly this web page will be famous amid all blog users, due to it’s fastidious articles

“Fantastic website. Plenty of helpful info here. I’m sending it to some pals ans also sharing in delicious. And obviously, thanks for your sweat!”

Hmmm. Delicious sweat.

“I think the admin of this website is actually working hard in favor of his website, as here every material is quality based data.”

Thank you. I AM working very hard to make sure every material is quality based data.

you’re really a just right webmaster. The web site loading velocity is amazing. It kind of feels that you are doing any distinctive trick. Also, The contents are masterpiece. you’ve performed a magnificent activity in this matter!”

Wow, what does it mean?!? I am a just right webmaster because of the distinctive trick that makes my loading velocity so magnificent? That is a good thing right?

“You’re so awesome! I do not think I’ve truly read something like this before. So wonderful to discover someone with original thoughts on this topic. Seriously.. thanks for starting this up. This website is one thing that’s needed on the web, someone with some originality!”

If this was referring to a post that was about anything more than the dates of some upcoming shows I would really be touched. But, as it is I think you are just making fun of me.

“Have you ever considered about including a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is valuable and everything. Nevertheless just imagine if you added some great graphics or videos to give your posts
more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with pics and videos, this blog could certainly be one of the very best in its niche. Amazing blog!”

Good idea. I wish I had thought of it.

“Why people still use to read news papers when in this technological globe everything is presented on web?”

 

“And, that part of the Waffle Baker does make us happy. This is a recipe for a Belgian waffle that is truly a sweet, sumptuous and nutty concoction. So I am going to share with you, from my personal experiences over the years, pricing tips on twenty of the most common items sold at a garage sale.”

 

“At this moment I am ready to do my breakfast, afterward having my breakfast coming yet again to read other
news.

Me too.

But first let’s talk about zombies.

“First, there was the Miami Face-eater; then another man ate his room mates’ brain and heart; and now it’s being reported that a woman in NYC wanted to eat a police officer and claims she has a “hunger for human flesh”. In fact the term zombie came from the region and refers to persons who have undergone such a mind altering experience.”

 

“Yeeeaahhh. kill’ a zombie. That is of course, unless it is at the expense of someone else.”

 

“Hey! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any problems with hackers?

My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing a few months of hard work due to no back up. Do you have any solutions to protect against hackers?”

Who me? No, never.

My Boss is a Slave Driver OR the Owning Your Own Business Myth

Your-Own-BossPeople who work for THE MAN make assumptions about what it is like to “own your own business” and “be your own boss“.

People who work for THE MAN assume that being your own boss means:

1. Sleeping in and working (or not working) whenever you want,

2. Working in your pajamas,

3. Just LESS time working overall,

4. And there is this vision of getting rich somehow while you are sitting on the beach and your business runs itself.

Now I can’t speak for everyone, maybe there are some small business owners that have it all, that are wearing their pajamas on the beach and their business thrives…. I don’t know.

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I can only speak for myself and I am an artisan, so maybe it is different for me.

It is true that I get to pick my own hours, which I love. Though that often translates into working in the middle of the night while everyone is asleep. Honestly it is the best time to work. It is so quiet and it is easy to be productive.

As for the pajamas thing, well I MIGHT work in my pajamas… sometimes.

But as far as working LESS, it just isn’t true. The truth is I work more now than I ever did at my 9-5 job. There is ALWAYS more to do and it is sooo hard to just leave things undone to give myself downtime.

So, I spend a lot of time in my jewelry studio. Some days it feels like the only time I surface is for the hour a day I take the dog to the park. My kids have come to know right where to find me. When they get home from school they come straight downstairs to my studio and sit on the washing machine (remember I share with the laundry room) while they tell me about their day. It gets really funny when the whole family gathers in there to visit with me. We have a great home with plenty of real places to gather, places with couches and chairs. But noooo, everyone congregates in my studio where there is neither couch nor chair. I am a one person shop and my studio is a one person studio. So, the kids sit on the washer and dryer or the dusty floor and my husband pulls up a bucket seat. My sweet dog has made a place for himself under my desk where he can keep my feet warm. It works, but it is kind of ridiculous at the same time.  Sometimes I fantasize about there being enough room to have a couch in there, but there just isn’t and it would probably ruin all the fun anyway.

Somehow, thanks to a wonderful husband, meals get cooked. Occasionally I open my eyes in the kitchen long enough to realize it is dirty, so I clean.

But mostly I make jewelry or work on other businessy things. Sometimes I think about people who come home from work at 5 and spend time in the evenings on their hobbies or watching TV. What would that be like?

I can’t remember.

But it is a new year, sort of. It is a time for me to make changes right? Maybe if I schedule time for ME and my family; if I force myself to shut the studio door after dinner, I can regain my life outside my business.

I can do this. See, I am doing it already. I am spending time with my husband right now while I blog about making jewelry. Well at least I am spending time near my husband….

Baby steps.

Musings for Feb 27th

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I live in a place where winter is snowy and cold and I am ok with that. Winter is supposed to be cold, right? But, this year has been colder than most. The snow that came down in December is still here, that means it has remained mostly below freezing for a long time.

Perhaps that is why February, the shortest month of the year, seems to go on forever. My  joints ache for warmer weather, my dry hands itch for warm sunshine. We took a mini vacation to sunny St. George, Utah at the beginning of the month, but the beautiful weather turned for the worse and it actually snowed while we were in Zion National Park.  Maybe we brought the weather with us. But we didn’t do it on purpose.

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Some people around here (my children included) pretend it isn’t really winter. They wear light jackets and Toms because they know they will only be outside for 2 seconds as they run from their car to work or the bus to school. But, not me, I take my dog to the park every day for exercise. We spend about an hour there walking and playing with a ball. In case you haven’t experienced this, an hour in temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit is a long time. I have a good winter coat and warm boots that I love made by Keen, but it is still cold.

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Ok, ok,  I know, you don’t care. You live in California and it is warm, and this is my second post about being cold, so…… get over it girl!

But wait…..imagine my joy when I realized this morning that there are only 2 MORE DAYS OF  FEBRUARY!!

Never before have I been so glad to see March. March in Utah means melting snow and warming temperatures. It also means a lot of mud tracked onto my kitchen floor, but oh well.

Hooray for the end of February. Farewell and good riddance.

 

Ok, I admit it, I am just wasting time while I procrastinate taking the dog out.

I don’t live in the arctic

It is -6° F outside.
-6° ?!?!?!

This is what the weather app on phone says it looks like outside.

fog

There are days when sharing my studio with the furnace and laundry room is a pain, to say the least. When it starts to feel like a dirty clothes uprising. Or when my husband, bless his heart, does his own laundry. This usually results in mounds of clean clothes on the floor, right in my path. Because hey, what’s the fun in cleaning your clothes if you don’t throw them on the dirty floor afterwards?
But this is not one of those days. Today it is -6° outside. But, here in my cave the furnace and the dryer are both running full blast and it is nice and warm.

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I think I’ll go find some more clothes to dry.

Bloggers Changing the World or at least Having Tons of Fun

I will be the first to admit I am not a huge blogger. I am a jeweler that blogs about it, not a blogger that makes jewelry.

I am also not part of the blogger community, so I don’t know these things, but apparently bloggers have conferences where they get together to eat good food, party, win prizes and talk about whatever it is that bloggers talk about. If your a women, it is conferences like Evo and BlogHer.   I didn’t even know there were blogger conferences, let alone what they were for. So, several months ago when my friend Lindsey told me I should go to Evo (The Evolution of Women in Social Media) I thought, ‘what does it have to do with me?’ Yes I am a women and yes I use social media in my business and personal life, but to put down $300 to spend a weekend sitting around with strangers talking about twitter and facebook, I don’t get it. She told me it could be life changing, but I thought ‘meh’ and then I promptly forgot about it.

Well, that all changed when a couple weeks before the conference they asked me to make them some necklaces that said “evo” to give as a gift to their volunteers. Suddenly I was thrown into the middle of it. I became an official sponsor, right there with Ebay, Lowes and a bunch of other huge names.

So what is evo and why are people willing to pay to be a part of it?

Let me tell you what I know. The evo Conference is a weekend of workshops, parties, networking, and a chance for women to get away from home and have fun. It is attended by bloggers, businesses, and social media junkies.

The necklaces turned out awesome:

I thought that was the end of it. But it wasn’t.

Two days before the conference they offered me a ticket. I was camping with my family. I didn’t really have cell phone coverage so I couldn’t ask questions or work out details, all I could do was say yes. Luckily for me the conference was held in Park City, Utah, an hour drive from my house. So as soon as I got home from camping, I got cleaned up, packed, grabbed some business cards and some jewelry and headed into the unknown.

If I had been there alone, my experience would have been very different. I am a little shy, especially when it comes to marketing myself. But Lindsey, who is not shy, took me around and introduced me to everyone saying, “This is Demi, she made the evo necklaces,” and while they were ooing and aweing I’d give them my card.

The classes and speakers were good. We met this guy:

Derreck Kayongo, founder of the Global Soap Project.

Who taught us this song:

The sponsors gave us lots of food, did our nails, let us star in their advertisements, and other fun stuff.

We met this guy:

One night the power went out for a few hours. Somehow the party went on. It was great, social media junkies had to put away their devices and talk to each other. Some new friends and I found a pool table and played by the light of a cell phone. I have never played so badly and laughed so hard.

All in all, I had a great time. It was fun to get out of the studio, meet some new people and expand my community.

And because I am the kind of girl who always wants to turn my lessons learned into a list, here they are:

1. I usually think I have to do everything myself. But I am wrong. Maybe I should let go and get some help with the boring stuff like marketing, shipping, and finances, to leave more time for jewelry making and design.

2. What is that saying? “You have to spend money to make money,” I guess everyone says it because it is true. Marketing takes money and time too.

3. The most successful people I met are just normal people like me, people with a goal or a vision, people with a story to tell.Who’s to say that I can’t be just as successful?

4. Blogging and creating jewelry are kind of the same. When you blog, you can feel like you are writing for yourself. You write as if someone is listening, even if no one is listening. If a blogger writes about things they are passionate about, like global poverty and disease, sustainable urban form, cleaner air, buying handmade, parenting, or whatever, it can feel like shouting into the dark.

Designing and creating can feel that way too. When I create jewelry I pour my heart into it, not knowing if it will even have value to anyone else. I create something and I put it out there and I wait and hope that it will mean something to someone, that someone will like it, that someone will care.

In that we are the same.

5. I have passion and a voice and with it I can do big things, maybe even change the world.

That is life changing.

Gold Snippet Conundrum

Found this post from an old blog I kept in 2007. I had to repost for your reading enjoyment:

“AAAAhhhhh!!!!
The age old problem of gold snippets in the keyboard.
I try to dump them out, but the keyboard wont let them go. Maybe my keyboard likes them. Maybe they are like the little sprinkles that you sneak from the spice cupboard and the keyboard is gobbling them up!”

The answer isn’t that hard. Don’t cut rings while reading email. Duh.

Local Utah Fairs and Markets

I decided to give the local artisan scene a try this year, because hey, I am a full time jeweler now, and that is what you do right?  You make a bunch of inventory and go to these events where there are a lot of people walking around and only a few buying anything. It least that way you sound more legitimate when you can say, “Oh I can’t come to that barbecue, I have a show this weekend.” And you have a bunch of inventory, and thus something to show friends and neighbors when they say, “I would love to come over and see your stuff.” You and I both know they are really just checking up to make sure I am not playing videos in my basement all day.

But there are some issues with local fairs:

1. You have to be there to make the sale.

I admit it, I am pretty spoiled by selling online. Selling online is great because you don’t have to do anything to make sales. I know, I know, you have to design beautiful pieces, take great photos, set up a website, do tons of marketing, provide great customer service, and all that, but in the end the sales just happen. Most of the time they happen while you are asleep, or walking the dog, or heaven forbid, MAKING JEWELRY!

So, at a fair you have to spend all day doing nothing but sitting there, looking cute, talking to people, and even being kind of a salesman. No sitting back and letting the sales happen on their own.

2. People don’t always come to a fair to buy stuff.

I don’t know what it is like in other places in the world, but in Utah, the cheapskate, DIY capital of the world, people aren’t always willing to spend real money on anything.

3. Some fairs are better than others.

The really good ones cost a TON of money. The ones that don’t cost a ton of money can go either way. Some are great, some are not so great. The trick is finding the good ones.

~~~

So, yesterday I attended my third fair. I went into it suspecting it probably wasn’t going to be huge.  When something is held in a place called Centerville, population 15,000, this should be a sign. Also, it was the first time they have had this flea market and despite their assurances that they had totally got the word out, it takes time for these things to grow. But I didn’t have anything else to do, and you just never know right? So, I got up at the crack of dawn, drove an hour to find the big grassy field with not an inch of shade and set up my booth.

Notice the lack of shade, no tent, and no people?

That is pretty much how it looked all day. It was sooooo dead. And SO HOT!

I pretty much melted. Some of my jewelry cards did melt.

The only redeeming thing of the whole day was the cute little 15 year old duo that sang and played guitars for the entertainment. They weren’t half bad and their music selection was actually pretty similar to what comes out of my Pandora station.

Lessons learned:

1. A sun hat is great, but you still need sunscreen, even on your hands.

2. No tent = no fun.

3. First time shows in medium size towns probably are not worth my time.

Oh well. At least I know one fair not to repeat. 1 down, 100 to go.