Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Loot: Part 2

Remember when I ooh-ed and ahh-ed over this tote bag?


I now have it in white AND red, thanks to my parents and my brother-in-law's fiancee! So excited!

And of course I got a bunch of books, including (but not limited to):

(from my husband)


(from my future sister-in-law)

(from my best friend)

I also got a gift card for Ann Taylor from my in-laws, and I'm very much looking forward to using it soon. :-)

By the way, Cory of Tealwater Designs had an excellent suggestion for my earring card dilemma - I had no idea you could buy plastic adapters for earring cards! I promptly placed an order, and they should arrive soon. Problem solved. Thanks, Cory! :-)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Loot: Part 1

One of my favorite gifts this year came from my husband. Which I guess makes sense, but I was super excited about it.

When I first started making jewelry, I got a really cheap set of tools, just because I didn't know whether it was something I'd stick with. The idea was to upgrade as soon as it was clear that I'd be doing this for awhile, since my old tools were not exactly ergonomically designed.

I couldn't tell you why, but I just never bothered getting new tools. But I apparently complained about my old ones enough that my husband went out and bought me new ones! (He also bought me a copy of our good friend Eric's very first novel, Textual Healing - you should go order a copy!!)


I haven't had a chance to use them yet, but just holding them I can feel that they'll be a lot easier to work with.

I'm planning on giving them a go tonight, but first I'll be eating some leftover Christmas dinner.

I'll share some more photos from Christmas, as well a some of the other amazing gifts I received from the wonderful people in my life, later this week.

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!


I never thought I'd be the type of person who dresses up her dog, much less a dog that weighs more than 15 pounds, but Elvis gets cold easily and really seems to enjoy getting dressed up.

So how could I resist getting him a Christmas sweater??

Anyway, I hope everyone out there has a very merry Christmas!!

My family and Glen's family are both coming over for Christmas dinner today, so I'm off to get ready for that... Wish me luck! ;-)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Winding Down (and Back Up)

Now that 2010 is winding down, I have some time to catch my breath and really start to focus on next year.

Here's my current list of goals for 2011:
  • As I've mentioned before, I'd really like to streamline my products a little bit. There are certain styles that sell over and over again, so it seems like it would be best to focus on doing variations of those styles. Hopefully then I can actually assign style numbers for groups of items, instead of item numbers for each individual piece, because as it stands right now my inventory spreadsheet has a row for every single piece of jewelry I make. Hopefully the end result will be less time spent on the administrative end of things (especially calulating the materials cost for each item!).
  • Which brings me to my next goal: I need to overhaul my inventory/sales spreadsheet, at least to some extent. It's become unwieldy, and I don't like it. My expense and cash flow spreadsheet are still working quite nicely though!
  • Try to schedule more jewelry parties. They're fun, they don't cost much to do compared to craft shows, and pretty much everyone who shows up buys at least one thing, so it's a good return on investment.
  • Come up with better displays for craft shows, especially my jewelry tags and earring cards. I've been using generic display products, and it just isn't cutting it anymore! I'll continue to use the silver and purple packaging I came up with for online orders, but I want to carry that color scheme into my earring cards and jewelry tags for shows.
I'm thinking that for the tags I'll use the same purple paper used for mailing products. My plan is to print my logo on the paper, then cut the tags out using victorian pattern edging scissors.

Instead of regular string, I'm going to use a thin, silver or gray ribbon. Same basic idea as what I'm currently doing for bracelets and necklaces, but a little more personality.
As for earrings: I'd like to use silver or gray earring display cards with my logo in purple, but I can decide whether I should buy them and print my logo on labels to stick on, or make my own from scratch.
The dilemma I'm facing is this: If I order pre-made hanging cards, they'll have a hole in the middle of the top, like this:

If I use clear labels, I can't put them on the top section, and if I put them on the bottom section the label will be partially covered. But I WOULD be able to use my current earring displays, which look like this:

If I make my own cards from scratch, they'd be completely flat and wouldn't be able to hang on the display racks I have. I'm trying to figure out the best way to display them at shows if I go this route, but I really don't know... Punch holes and push-pin them to a cork board maybe? Thoughts? Anyone??

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Spreading Holiday Cheer

As I sat down to write this, it occurred to me that I've been playing the clarinet for nearly 2 decades now - that's 2/3 of my life!

I've played in concert bands, marching bands, pit bands, and most recently, a municipal band.

photo via EastonBand.com

One of the things I find most enjoyable is playing Christmas music a nursing homes, which we did this past Monday.

When I was scanning through local news websites yesterday, I was pleasantly surprised to come across a nice article on the Easton Patch website about the concert. If you look carefully, you can see me in a couple of the pictures - first row of clarinets, all the way on the right. :-)

Our last concert of the year is at 2:00 this Sunday, Dec. 19 at Lafayette College. Admission is free, so if you're in the Lehigh Valley area and want to listen to some Christmas music, stop on by!

Also, don't forget -‎10 more days left of free shipping on all orders from my Etsy shop! Plus 10% off orders of $20 or more with the coupon code "KITTY10" and 20% off orders of $40 or more with the coupon code "KITTY20"!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Happy Birthday, Frank!

Last night, Glen and I threw a party to celebrate Frank Sinatra's birthday.

Glen came up with the idea back in 2003, our junior year of college, and it quickly became a tradition.

Now every year, on or about December 12, we invite our friends over for drinks, food and music. And since this year the party was the day before the big day, it included a midnight champagne toast in honor of Frank's birthday.

We made sure our bar was fully stocked.


We served some delicious food, including an appetizer wreath...


...and baked brie with walnuts, dried cranberries and cherries, and apricot syrup.


We dressed Elvis in a bow tie and cape...


...and partied the night away. :-)


Now I'm off to finish some laundry, then watch a movie and relax for the rest of the night before another busy work week.

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend! :-)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Geminids

If you've been reading my blog for awhile now, you probably know that I love staring at the night sky. So far I've had absolutely no luck with the big meteor showers so far this year. It's been cloudy for the Perseids and the Leonids, so my year thus far has been sadly meteor-less.
But I have one last chance: the Geminids.


via Space.com
They're supposed to peak the this year the night of December 13 into the 14th, and I'm hoping the skies will be clear for a change.

I desperately want to stay up late and watch them, but considering it will be mid-December in the Northeast, it's a safe bet temperatures will be well below freezing.

I guess it'd be a good excuse to get out every blanket in the house and bundle up in my back yard with a big mug full of hot chocolate though, right?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Getting into the Christmas Spirit

Our house is finally decorated for Christmas!

Yesterday after work I insisted we put up our Christmas lights in between the snow flurries. Glen climbed the ladder for most of it, but I put the lights on the top of the gable. Which is no small feat, since I developed a fear of heights after climbing to the top of the light house in Cape May when I was 14!

Tonight we bought and decorated our tree. This is the first time we've been able to put it right by a window, and I'm pretty excited about that. (Well, we could have done it last year, but I wanted to put the couch in that window nook. I should have followed Glen's advice and put it on the other side of the room. He was right, I was wrong. There, I said it.)

I also put up the stockings on our (currently non-working, but hopefully that will change soon) gas fireplace. Yes, our dog has the biggest stocking. And the little green stocking belong to each of our rodents. What can I say, we like to spoil our pets!

I've been doing a bunch of custom orders for Christmas lately. It's a little crazy trying to balance them with the day job and all the holiday stuff, but it's also a lot of fun! And I'm already coming up with some neat ideas for next year.

This weekend is our annual Sinatra Night - we invite our friends over, get all dressed up and have a big party in honor of Frank Sinatra's birthday. We play Rat Pack music on the record player, and now that my piano is finally in our home I will hopefully be able to play some Cole Porter tunes!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Possibly the best tote bag in the history of tote bags:


I'm not generally one to say I "need" something like a canvas tote bag.

But seriously, I NEED this bag!!!

Also a fan of this one:



I think it's safe to say that just about everything in Book Fiend's Etsy shop is now officially on my Christmas list. :-)
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