Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Weekend Countdown?

Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted. --Randy Pausch, Last Lecture

Thank you to everyone who commented about  the rejections... I'm trying not to be upset about it anymore. It just doesn't seem right to toss energy into something that's giving me nothing back. I'm sure that later this year I'll look back at this moment and realize that if the Etsy Dallas thing had panned out, I never would've been available for xyz opportunity.

Yep. That's how I'm gonna think about it.

There is always room for improvement. I know I need to spend more time getting better photos of my jewelry. I'm experimenting on sunny days and I think some of my more recent photos are much better-- but much of the jewelry on my Etsy site has poor photos. I recognize that.

I also need to post items more regularly. I'm not sure whether that's something that worked against me or not when it came down to judgment time, but it may have. 

I know I need to get a brand... hell-- I'm still undecided about using linda lee studio as my "brand" ... I like it but I don't. I can't get the .com and that's annoying. All the good ones I can come up with are taken! The only thing that isn't taken is my name, because, well, I own that already. So I've been thinking about switching to using my name.

*sigh* I am undecided there. 

I wish I could have someone run the business and logistics side of everything-- post my stuff to the internet, create my logo, maintain my website, mail stuff, etc... so I could just be free to create.

Although-- I think I wouldn't mind doing all that other stuff if I didn't also have a full time job. Oh yeah, that...

This week is already proving to be challenging. There have been lots of those lately. We're nearing the end of a huge project at work, so everyone is putting in lots of hours. At the end of this week I'm pretty sure we're all going to collapse in a tired, aching heap of exhaustion. Maybe we'll have a few margaritas first.

I should have a bit of a lull over the next couple of weeks. Lulls always make me incredibly nervous. I've had a "lull" turn into 8 weeks of no work... or even longer... and with the economy being the way it is, it's difficult to not worry about it.

Things will work out. They always do.

Don't they?

Anyway, back to the actual reason for my post! I got some gorgeous tourmaline in the mail today. I've been anxiously awaiting it, and it arrived today... on a Monday... so now I have to wait all week to play with it!! Here's the strand:
Isn't it gorgeous?? You just don't see blues like that often in tourmaline. I can't WAIT to play!! I already know that what I make is likely going to go into my own jewelry box. All my best pieces do, and these beads are calling for a spectacular design, indeed.

So, I guess that's it for now. If you haven't already checked out my blog feature over at Macaroni & Glue, go check it out now

I have to admit that since I've opened up my blog to talk about more than just jewelry, I itch to write here far more often. I s'pose that if you actually read this blog... you've noticed that already. ;-P

Brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. They're there to stop those who don't want it badly enough. --Randy Pausch, Last Lecture

I'm glad you're here, reading. 

Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day, and don't be afraid to say hello!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

On Rejection...

Well, I didn't get in to Etsy Dallas.

It didn't matter that I have a 'connection' in the group.

Granted, they only allowed 60 new members in for the entire year of 2009

And, granted, jewelry is a very competitive category. Everybody makes jewelry. 

I thought my jewelry was special.

Well, I still think it is.

But in a world where everyone thinks their jewelry is special... sometimes people are going to be kicked to the curb.

It's no fun when it's me.

I was also rejected from the Peddler show in Arlington.

Again-- too much jewelry.

Rejection abounds. It doesn't matter that my jewelry is unique. People just glance and think, "Oh-- jewelry. A dime a dozen. Everyone does it. Whatever." And that's that. It's difficult to make people look twice.

It's terribly discouraging. Immensely disappointing. I can't even tell you how bummed I am, but let me assure you-- I am bummed.

I just have to remember to have faith.  

And I do want my loyal customers to know something... you're all very special to me. This may sound silly, but it makes my heart pitter-patter with gratefulness every time one of my you touts my jewelry. It means so much to me that you "get" that I pour my heart and soul into what I create, and that a handful of people in this world appreciate it. It gives me the type of validation that I otherwise cannot manifest.

So, I continue to concentrate on the customers I *do* have. I am slowly trying to build that customer base. It's a tedious and never-ending process. At times I feel like everything in the world is working against me wanting to be an artist-- and the smirks and raised eyebrows I get when I call myself an artist becuase I design jewelry is not only disheartening, but added to things like the two hefty rejections I mentioned above, it sort of beats the horse dead.

One thing's for sure, though. I never, ever get a big head. 

Humility is a good thing, yes?


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Twitter Is As Twitter Does

Look! A post that has absolutely nothing to do with jewelry

I have to admit that up until about a month ago, I totally didn't "get" Twitter. I thought it was the most ridiculous waste of time. I scoffed at those who embraced Twitter, all the while quietly wondering why the site continues to grow and why more and more people sign up for accounts and inevitably follow random people across the internet.

I finally succumbed one day, when I realized it might be a nice way to get word out about my jewelry and maybe make a few random connections here and there.

I've been on for over a month now, and I have to admit that the charm of Twitter has finally drawn me in.

It's like having one giant chat window open with all of your AIM, Yahoo, msn, and other instant messengering friends right there in one window. People talk across the room, and you meet new people quickly and easily. Those with the most followers (who aren't celebrities) typically have entire conversations on Twitter, and if you engage in this behavior, you'll end up growing your follow list exponentially.

It's kinda like the virtual version of hanging out at a really cool party... and if you choose, you can be the life of the party, a groupie for the life of the party, a wall flower who just watches everything going on, or you can hang with your small group of friends, occasionally exchanging words with others, but mostly sticking with those you know.

You can easily spend an entire day on Twitter, and many people do just that.

It's insane. I actually had about 30 people 'follow' me today. Thirty. In one day. That's how fast my list is growing... all because I take the time to ask about people, try to say funny things, and I very rarely promote my business... so that when I DO promote it-- people will actually click the link.

There are themes on Twitter-- like #followfriday, which is essentially a tag you add to a tweet that people can click, instantly displaying a list of tweets with that tag. #followfriday usually happens on-- as you might expect-- Friday. The tag is pretty self-explanatory-- users tweet a recommendation for others on their list to follow. It can be viral. Here's where I show my dorkiness and say that I'd like to be recommended some time! 

Yeah, I'm goofy. I know.

I've never been "cool", but the nice thing with Twitter is that you don't have to be. There's no time to dwell on who's cool and who isn't. You either follow me, or you don't. And if you get tired of someone, just unfollow them. Simple as that.

Twitter does have its down sides-- it's a time vortex, to be certain. The conversation can never go too deep, and if you look away for more than a couple of minutes, you've missed an entire page of tweets... which usually means missing out on conversation and connection, too.

So... tweet carefully. Grow your follow list by being real, engaging people in conversation (just like you would face-to-face), and select who you follow carefully.

Like anything else in life... Twitter is whatever you make it. It can work for you, against you, or do nothing at all. You never know where it could lead, and I have come to realize that-- just as in all aspects of life,  it's best not to rule out the possibilities.

For what it's worth... here's  NY Times article about Twitter. Basically, it says what I said here, only much more thoroughly and far more eloquently.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Feelings of Inadequacy Abound

I’ve been battling quite a bit with feelings of inadequacy over the past few days. Work has certainly been plentiful—for which I am grateful. We need the income, and I’m thankful that I’ve been blessed with grace on more than one occasion. But there was an incident this week that shook me more than I expected, and it really made me question just how valuable I am to the group of great people I work with and for.

(Although I suppose a bit of humbling once in a while is good for the soul.)

To top it all off, I got a rejection letter in the mail this week—a show I was really hoping to get into rejected my jewelry. The excuse was, of course, that they already have too many jewelry vendors.

Rejection in its many forms is a tough pill to swallow on the best of days. But when I already feel weak, rejection can be almost unbearable.

I struggle with inferiority on a regular basis—I never accomplish enough, I never get enough done within the span of an hour, a day, a week, a year—and then, I beat myself up about feeling that way.

Did you catch that?

I beat myself up about beating myself up.

I’m quite good at it. Sometimes I don’t even realize I’m doing it.

I think the important thing is to keep trying. Continue improving, admit my mistakes when I make them (which is often!), and move forward. 

Reflecting is one thing, and of course stagnating is bad. I do reflect on a regular basis—usually in the form of a private journal entry (in my paper journal, or in a locked journal I keep online), and then the important thing is to open myself up and try again. Put myself out there, over and over.

Sometimes, surrendering to the process is the most powerful step I can take. Usually, it's also the most difficult.

Look, I know I'm not a bad person. I’m a pretty good person, actually. Everything happens for a reason, and sometimes—sometimes, the things I really want are worth working hard for, and worth that wait.

How cliché, right? 

There’s a reason why clichés exist…

My Latest Pieces

Ok. Here's the piece that I'm very proud to show you. The focal gemstone is citrine! I love this necklace and I have already decided to keep it. You can't change my mind. At least, not at this point in time. ;-)

I really pushed myself with the color combinations in this necklace. As soon as I saw this bead, though... I knew that yellow had to be the central color of the necklace, with lots of other fun colors added in.

This is another with a Sarah Hornik bead, named Fantastico! as the centerpiece. Isn't it a lovely one? 
I also used peridot and shiny Swarovski crystals, with sterling silver wire. This necklace makes me feel happy and light. It reminds me of my time in Italy, which is fitting, since Sarah made the focal just after we all got back to our respective spots of the world after Murano Magic.

Now, for my next piece... this one uses gorgeous Peruvian Blue Opal as the main gemstone, with a couple of pieces of citrine, and Swarovski crystals. Another Sarah Hornik bead as the focal. I love this necklace too, and have also decided to keep it. I always end up keeping my best pieces!! Even when I don't mean to!

Check out the matching earrings, too.... this glowing Peruvian Blue Opal is magical, isn't it? It's even better in person, too!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Check Me Out!!

The lovely Kelly of Macaroni & Glue has graciously featured me on her blog! How awesome is that? Go check it out! (And leave a comment!!)

I think the blog feature is an awesome idea. I think I should start featuring others on my blog. Wouldn't that be fun?

And I really love Kelly's cards. Check 'em out on her Etsy site! 

I finished two necklaces this weekend. I'm wearing one of them today, and I have all but decided to keep both of them. Well-- I'm definitely keeping the one I'm wearing right now... but the one featuring citrine?? I think I'm keeping that one too. I just need to get some good photos of them. The citrine is such a delicate yet beautiful color that it will be easy to lose in photos. So... bear with me. I'll show them off soon. ;-)

*** If you're stopping by here... won't you drop me a line, to let me know that you're reading?***

As promised - I am updating this blog more. While this blog is definitely focused on my jewelry adventures, I think it's important to give you a little piece of me, too.

Have a great afternoon!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Follow Me?

Hey all... if you pass by this blog, would you "follow me"? I'd love to have some more people who read... I have some pretty pointed goals for my jewelry business this year, and one of those goals includes writing more here, sharing more, and that means I need to gather more readers!

That being said-- if you know of anyone who enjoys reading blogs, point them my direction, would ya? 

I have a really cool design going right now... I'm anxious to finish the necklace so I can show it off. I LOVE the colors in it, and I'm getting to use some of my new beads, which pleases me.

It's been so long since I sat down and made some jewelry that wasn't for me or my husband, or a repair or something for a friend. 

It feels really good, just to create for the sake of it.