Friday, December 31, 2010

Reviewing accomplishments in resin jewelry making

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This past week, I have taken the opportunity to review 2010 and my resin jewelry business. This is a time for me to reflect upon and evaluate my decisions. A lesson I have learned from other successful business owners, regardless of the enterprise, is not that they always made the right decisions, but that they always made a decision and executed it. I make it a point to gather facts, review, then make a choice accordingly. It seems that most businesses (and people for that matter), can get the first two things done, but not the last one.  It is in that frame of mind, that I'm going to discuss my decisions here.

What major decisions did I work on this year?

I began the year with a larger focus on selling wholesale. I resigned from the local artisans' guild and decided not to do the spring art shows like I have done in the past. I only participated in two, local, fall art shows, mostly because they are local and have been good venues for me in the past.  While the economy has not made it a stellar year, I am excited about the future of this and look forward to expanding my wholesale market.

I met my goal of teaching a jewelry making class locally each month.  I find it is a great way to keep my skills in check. Teaching others how to make jewelry forces me to think creatively as well.

Through social media, I was able to network with a few influential people within the art business world.  I'm excited that I have a close business relationship with these people and can rely on them for expert help within my art business.

I continued to support a few, worthy charities with my art jewelry for their auctions and benefits.

What other specific decisions worked?

Introducing a line of jewelry with a price point under $15 was successful. I think after the economy recovers, I can continue to have success with these pieces of contemporary jewelry because they are unique and colorful.

I hired someone to help me with my jewelry making.  This was a tough decision for me since I am the type that expects perfection from myself.  It's hard to task someone else to do things in the jewelry making process without knowing if that same person will also take the assignments just as seriously.  My assistant started with a few small tasks and has asked for more responsibility.  I look forward to giving her expanded duties in 2011.

I reduced the number of galleries I work with that are "consignment only ".  While this reduced the total amount of my jewelry in retail outlets by more than half, I managed to increase my overall sales volume by working with cash, wholesale customers only.

So what wasn't successful?

I'm disappointed my advertisements I bought in wholesale catalogs didn't bring more leads. I don't know whether this is due to not advertising the right jewelry, not having an "eye-catching" ad, or perhaps that it wasn't the right place to advertise. I have put this on hold until after my wholesale show next month when I can see what resonates with wholesale customers.

I started another website, Handmade Resin Jewelry.   My hope was that it would bring more sales to my KMS Designs Resin and Acrylic jewelry website.  While it may still be too early to tell, the results have not been exciting as of yet.

What decisions am I contemplating now?

I am mulling over the possibility of having an outside source manage the commerce portion of my retail website.  I am exploring options now and hope to have a decision made by the end of January.

I would like to expand tasks to another person (hired or intern) to get more public relations exposure.  There are a lot of bloggers and media outlets I would like to work with and obtain press coverage from.  This would also give me more time to work on jewelry!

What things are you considering for 2011?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What jewelry questions do you have?

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Have a burning question you're dying to ask?  Looking for answers to your jewelry making questions or just have a curious question about art jewelry?  Leave your response here or if you want to remain anonymous, send an email to  I'll post the answers to the questions next week!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Wholesale Art Jewelry - Jewelry for sale wholesale

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In a post I wrote last week discussing the jewelry projects I'm working on now, I briefly mentioned that I was working towards selling more jewelry wholesale.  As promised, here is a little more information about what I'm planning.

In a nutshell, selling wholesale involves a retail customer buying a large quantity of product at a discounted price.  That retail establishment then sells it for their retail price.  Since I am not doing art shows and festivals much anymore, I began trying to sell my jewelry wholesale in the fall of 2009.

Why would I want to do this?

While I do sell some jewelry on the internet, I do not sell as much as I used to when doing art shows.  Many people who buy from me online have met me at a show or have experience with my jewelry (received as a gift, taken one of my classes, etc.).  While the internet is great for making new connections, it doesn't take away the concerns some people have about buying something without having the chance to "taste it" first.  Selling my jewelry wholesale would allow me to have a better nationwide exposure for customers, especially those who want to "experience" the jewelry before buying it.

Wholesale also allows me to work with the same number of people, but sell more jewelry.  I love interacting with retail customers.  I really do.  But with three small children in my house, my opportunities to have uninterrupted business time can be a bit slim.  Believe it or not, it takes almost the same amount of time to interact with a customer over the phone wanting one pendant (and subsequent packing and shipping) as it does to speak with a boutique owner about a large order and its packaging and shipping.  Dealing wholesale allows me to maximize the amount of jewelry sold for the least amount of time.

If this wholesale thing is so great, why don't all artists do it?

There is a HUGE commitment to producing a certain amount of inventory.  There is no way I could have done this a few years ago.  I have learned to work smarter on the business side of jewelry making and have found a way to have a few of the tasks completed by my very qualified assistant (who also doubles as a great babysitter.) 

I also have to accept that my profit margin per piece drops substantially.  With my one of a kind sterling silver semi precious stone jewelry pieces, I would have needed a high wholesale price to cover my time investment in the piece.  The retail shops, in turn, would have had to charge a very high price for the finished piece.  The price would have been much higher than what I would have sold the jewelry for at an art show.

I am getting ready for my first wholesale show event at the ACRE Orlando show in January 2011.  I will be blogging about it a bit over the next couple of weeks as I get ready and will have some pictures of the show as well. (If you own a retail establishment and would like to speak with me about carrying my jewelry, please contact me about my wholesale terms.)

Friday, December 24, 2010

What I'm grateful for in my jewelry business

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In listening to the last podcast of Alyson Stanfield of the Art Biz Blog entitled Uncommonly Grateful, I was inspired to share what I am grateful for within my art business.  On this day of Christmas Eve, as many around the world prepare to celebrate, I too would like to do so by sharing my gratitude with others.

I am grateful for the modern conveniences of electricity and running water.  I have oftentimes thought about jewelry makers from thousands of years ago who had to do many of the things I do by machine, by hand.  I also appreciate that they had to use a pump operated by foot to blow air through a candle's flame to create a "torch" to melt metal and glass, while I am able to use much more modern methods.

I am grateful for the internet and the opportunity it brings for me to sell my jewelry.  I have made connections with people around the world that I know I could not have made otherwise.

I am grateful for the help and encouragement I receive from friends, family, fans and other artists.  Your kind words are a treasure!

I am grateful to my family for being supportive of my art and jewelry.  It means so much to me that you believe in what I do.

I am grateful for the large library of art and jewelry making books I have in my library.  Whenever I'm "stuck" or need some inspiration, I don't have far to look.

I am grateful for the work ethic my parents taught me.  Because of this, I continue to persevere and look for opportunities, rather than waiting for them to look for me.

I am grateful for the equipment in my studio.  I chose to work hard and earn money from jewelry making in order to buy the next piece of "what I want."  I have never borrowed money and found a way to buy it or decided to do without.

I am grateful for the artists who have truly touched my life and taught me skills which I continue to find valuable.

Finally, I am grateful for the browsers, fans, enthusiasts, and blog readers that continue to find enjoyment with my work.  It is because of you that I can keep doing what I'm doing.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Breakfast casserole recipe

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This is a repost of a blog entry in March, but since I will be making it to enjoy Christmas morning, I wanted to share again.  Make it sometime on Christmas Eve, then pop it in the oven on the morning of the 25th.  I love how I don't have to take away time from watching my kids open gifts, yet we get to have a yummy, hearty breakfast to enjoy as a family.

Breakfast Casserole

1 1/2 boxes of Pepperidge Farm croutons or 8 slices of bread, cubed
3 cups of milk
4 eggs
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1 can cream of mushroom or cream of broccoli soup
2 to 3 cups of cheddar cheese (more or less to your liking)
1 pound of ground sausage
Package of ritz or saltine crackers
2 tablespoons of butter, melted

Spread bread/croutons in the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan. Mix 2 1/2 cups of the milk, eggs, and mustard. Pour over the croutons. Brown the sausage. Sprinkle the meat over the crouton mixture. Top with the cheese. Refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, mix the remaining 1/2 cup of milk with the soup. Pour over the casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Crush a sleeve of crackers. Mix the crackers with the melted butter. Pour over the casserole for the last 5 to 10 minutes of baking.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Jewelry projects - What I'm working on now

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As far as my jewelry making business goes, holiday gifts are over by December 15. Most everyone has either purchased from me at a retail show, or have bought their jewelry and had it shipped. I sometimes will get a last minute order, but for the most part, the holiday is done. So what am I working on now?

These are a couple of new scrabble tile patterns I have almost finished.  I hope to have them photographed and on the KMS Designs website by the end of the year. 

Are those Valentine's Day heart jewelry patterns?  Yes!  While Christmas and Hanukkah may be over, the next holiday is just beginning.  In order for me to have enough Valentine's Day jewelry inventory, I have to start now.

This is a another tray of the resin and sterling silver jewelry.  This line of jewelry is at a crossroads for me.  I love to make it and customers are drawn to it.  The complication is that the price of silver continues to climb at an astronomical rate.  (As I write this, the price of silver is up 60 percent in the last four months alone.)  I am faced with the choice to continue making the pieces as I have been and raise prices, or find a way to make the pieces differently, at the same price, while still appealing to customers.  Stay tuned on this one.

The last (but certainly not least!) thing that I'm working on is getting ready for my first wholesale show in Orlando, Florida, next month.  I'm represented by and will be exhibiting there.  More to come on this big project!

Friday, December 17, 2010

A red wine recommendation

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Need another wine recommendation?  This time it's for the 2008 Lamadrid Malbec.  It's a bit berry, light to medium bodied, and is an easily drinkable wine by itself.  I love to enjoy this wine as I'm making dinner, or just looking to relax at the end of the day.  It runs about $10, which means I don't mind opening it in the middle of the week when it's just me to enjoy it.  Does anyone else have any malbecs to recommend?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How to flatten rolled artwork

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*I know I'm not a painter, but I found this great little article on how to flatten posters or prints that come rolled in a tube. Thought my readers might find this article helpful!*

Shipping artwork is a tricky business. While shipping artwork in a flat container is ideal, it makes shipping the item more expensive. Rolling the artwork and shipping in a tube is more economical, but it requires the recipient or framer to flatten the piece before displaying. Today's art article of interest from Wiki How shows to how to flatten a piece of art in order to frame or display it.

How to Flatten a Rolled Map or Poster

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Rolled wall maps or posters are hard to put on the wall if they're trying to roll back up. Here's how to get them to straighten up.


  • Roll your poster opposite from the way that it curls. Start loose and tighten it up as you go, to avoid creasing it. Sometimes this is enough to flatten it, depending on the paper and how long it has been rolled.
  • Wrap rubber bands around your opposite-rolled poster.
  • Let your poster sit like this for a few hours.
  • Remove the rubber bands and place your poster flat on a clean surface. Put it so that the side towards which it's curling.
  • Smooth out the poster and place weights on the corners and in the center of your poster for 2 to 4 hours. Books are a good choice.
  • Remove the weights.
  • Hang the poster.


  • If your poster continues to curl after completing step 5, keep the weights on for longer.
  • Good substitutes for paperweights include smooth rocks, glass jars, bean bags, and heavy books. Don't put heavy weights on the poster on a soft surface. The poster could crinkle.
  • Work gently to avoid crinkling the poster.
  • If you place the poster on the floor to flatten it, make sure it is out of the way so that nobody steps on it.


  • Ironing does not work for flattening posters.
  • If you want to flatten a vintage poster, please take it to a professional.
  • If you want to laminate a poster, flatten it first.
  • Do not use rubber bands that have ink stamps on them, as they may stain your paper.

Related wikiHows

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Flatten a Rolled Map or Poster. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Gainesville's best pizza

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My sister was in town for a few days, and I thought it would be fun to take her to our favorite pizza eatery, Satchel's Pizza.  It is an eclectic mix of pizza, "junk" and entertainment.  As a business person, I am intrigued with the success of this business considering they do a few things "wrong" as considered by most business folk.  They only take cash, they're in a not so easy to get to location, and they don't mind telling you your pizza can take a long time to be ready.  So why are they so successful?  The pizza is really that good.

Even though it was 6 PM on a Thursday night, we still had to wait for a table.  We strolled around the Lightning Salvage store on the behind the restaurant while we waited.  It is advertised as a "junk" shop, but I would call them trinkets.

There was a room in the back with live music going on and libations available.

We were seated within about 10 minutes at a large table in the center of the restaurant.  As you can see there is a lot of art decorating the ceiling and walls.

I can't ever go and not get the house salad.  It is a mix of greens, veggies, nuts and a tangy vinaigrette dressing.  I also get it with feta cheese.

Finally the pizza!  There are a few standard choices o the menu, but we usually make our own.  Tonight's pizza had pepperoni, italian sausage, tomatoes and fresh basil.  It's a very thin crust and a bit crispy.

In front of the store is a Volkswagen bus.  It has seating inside for a party of four or so.  (That night, there were a few in there with a heater -- it was a bit chilly!)  There is also bench seating in a garden link atmosphere out front as well.

If you go and forget to take cash, don't worry, there is an ATM inside the restaurant.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Donating food for holiday gift baskets

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I feel very strongly about supporting charities that help children.  Earlier this fall, I donated a piece of jewelry to the Noche de Gala silent auction to benefit the Sebastian Ferrero Foundation.  The foundation's goal is to build a pediatric hospital in Gainesville.  It was yesterday that I was reminded by an article in the Gainesville Sun about a food drive to send kids home with food baskets during their holiday break.

After dropping off the oldest two at preschool this morning, little peep and I went to Publix to shop.  The article listed items of need and I was excited to see that many of the items on the want list were on sale buy one get one free.  We filled up the cart. 

It ended up being three boxes of food items.  There was a lot of soup, baking mixes, canned vegetables and easy to make boxed and canned dinners.  I hate the idea of kids being hungry.  My children are fortunate enough not to have to worry about where their next meal comes from, so I wanted to help a few other families feel that way for the next few weeks.

What charities do you make a point to help throughout the year?

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Glam indie craft show

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I received an invitation by Kim Taylor to attend the Glam indie craft show.  I met Kim online through pictures I posted on Flickr of my booth the Thornebrook Art Festival.  When she stopped by to introduce herself to me at the Downtown Festival and Art Show, she handed me a personal invitation to the show.  In case Kim looks familiar to you, it is because she has been recently featured in the Gainesville Sun as an Etsy power seller.  You can find her on etsy as the Sassy Crafter.  I grabbed this picture of Kim as she was going around making sure the crafters doing the show were doing okay.

I love attending craft festivals.  I think I was giddy about attending this one because I needed a few more Christmas gifts and I was attending as a buyer, not a seller.  So much more relaxing that way!  You might think I'm crazy, but I bought some jewelry for gifts.  Uh, let me get this straight, you make jewelry, but you bought someone else's to give?  Are you crazy lady??  I bought a couple of piece of things I don't make.  They're both for my mom (don't worry, she doesn't read my blog, so she won't find out.)

I bought a beaded pin from Christie Dickens.  She has an etsy store called Evon's Muse.  It turns out I knew Christie from when I first started taking metalsmithing lessons from Susan Chastain almost 10 years ago.  Serious time warp!

I decided to go with this cute little typewriter key and beaded pin.  I have 3 boys and thought it was a cute way for their grandmother to wear that fact.

I also most Lindsey McLeod at the show.  She does enameling (surprised I'm drawn to color?) and also has an etsy shop.

I was really drawn to the red pendant in the center.  I loved the bold color but wasn't quite sure if it was something my mother would wear.

I also like the winter themed necklaces.  My mother lives where snow happens, so wearing a snowflake actually makes a little sense.

So I decided on the turquoise blue enameled pendant with the delicate white snowflake.  Hope she loves her pieces!

Monday, December 06, 2010

Grapefruits are ready

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There are a few things I like about living in Florida.  My most favorite thing is being able to wear flip-flops (almost) all year round.  One of the next things that rank right up there is being able to have my own citrus trees.  It is with glee that I discovered this past weekend that my grapefruits are ready!

My tree is only about 4 1/2 feet tall.  I don't remember quite when I planted it, but I think it was about 5 to 6 years ago.  I was afraid it died the first year I planted it as we had a cold snap come through the first winter it was planted.  It looked really wilted for almost a year.  It has come out of it's shell pretty nicely and this year produced 15 grapefruits.

Believe it or not, my kids like eating them too.  The fruit off the tree from 2 years ago was their first time trying them.  I thought for sure they would find them too tart, but to my surprise, they gobbled them up.

Since I've only got a few this year, I'll be eating them as fruit.  In a few years when they're "coming out of my ears, I'm sure I'll be making grapefruit marmalade or something similar.

Friday, December 03, 2010

The butterfly garden at the Florida Museum of Natural History

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The gift shop at the Florida Museum of Natural History recently started carrying my resin scrabble tile pendants with the butterfly designs.  It's a very family friendly place here in Gainesville and I took some pictures when I was there delivering pendants last week.

When you first walk in, there's a large mammoth skeleton to greet visitors.

While the admission to the museum is free, the butterfly garden requires paid admission.  This is a full display of encased butterflies that grace the wall on the museum side of the exhibit.

The butterfly exhibit is a large enclosure.  Visitors actually get the chance to walk amongst the butterflies.  During the visits my kids and I have taken, we have had a few of the blue morpho butterflies land on us!  During the winter, warm air is pumped into the (normally) tropical exhibit.  In my opinion, the best time to go to see the butterflies at their most active is during the extreme heat and humidity of the summer.  It's like the butterflies are crazy!

There is an area on the outside of the exhibit where you can watch butterflies hatch from their cocoons.

For those who want to try to attract butterflies at home, there are almost always some "butterfly plants" for purchase.

In case you go and want to buy some of my resin scrabble tile pendants, they are in a basket by the cash register.  If you don't see them, I'm sure one of the friendly staff will be happy to help.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Special order resin pendants

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My aunt is a big fan of my jewelry. She is also a big Virginia Tech fan (as I am as well). She has written me a few times about how much she likes my new resin scrabble tile pendants and asked if I could use some of her scrapbooking paper to make a Virginia Tech pendant.  Unfortunately the size wasn't right, but I did have another option.

I cut out the Virginia Tech logo into one inch squares.  I sealed the papers like I have done in previous resin bracelet projects.

I had been playing around with using some of my papers in sterling silver plated bezel cups.  The Virginia Tech logo was a perfect fit.

She liked the idea so much that she asked me to make eight of them to give for friends and family as Christmas gifts.  (Hope I'm not spoiling a surprise by blogging about them.)  They look great and I hope everyone loves a new way to share their Hokie pride.

Monday, November 29, 2010

#Cybermonday and December holiday special

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For any of my resin or silver jewelry you purchase between now and December 24, I will gladly gift wrap or gift box at no additional charge.  I can even send it directly to the recipient!  Just let me know in the "special instructions to seller" box when you checkout on Paypal, or let me know when you call to place an order.

Items under $25 are packaged on a card and included in a cellophane bag.  It is then wrapped with tissue paper and finished with a holiday ribbon.  A gift card with your personal message is included as well.

Silver jewelry or Resin jewelry pieces priced at $25 or more will be included in a purple, cardboard gift box.  It is finished with a raffia bow.  A gift card is included with these as well.

I ship all jewelry in a padded envelope (for those placed on cards) or a recycled cardboard box.  All my jewelry pieces ship via U.S. postal service with a package tracking number.  I am happy to ship UPS or FedEx for an additional charge.

Need your package shipped internationally?  No problem!  Please contact me with the destination address and will let you know of the additional postal charges.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Dinner and a pinot noir wine review

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Since my boys are into cooking, I decided to cook Thanksgiving dinner this year.  Normally, I just get a ready made meal and reheat it in the oven.  I must say, I even impressed myself.

I roasted a turkey with a fresh sage butter and made a traditional stuffing with fresh herbs and cranberries.  I also went with a couple of standbys:  garlic mashed potatoes and the ever traditional green bean casserole.  The meal was finished with a fresh herb gravy and homemade wheat rolls.  I really enjoyed the meal and everything was good, except for the rolls.  Yesterday was one of those days that I wished I had two ovens.  Things were taking longer to cook and the rolls got completely overdone. 

Now, onto the wine review.  First, I have to say I'm a red wine kind of girl.  It was just my husband and kids, so I picked a wine that I wanted.  (Hubby is indifferent on the whole wine scene.)  While I'm sure many of you enjoy a white wine with your turkey dinner, I prefer a pinot noir.  At least for me, it's a great companion to the heaver sauces and side dishes that typically accompany a Thanksgiving dinner. 

One of my little indulgences is wine.  I belong to a monthly wine club of Oregon pinot noir wines and had been saving the 2008 Acrobat pinot noir for this occasion.  Pinot noirs are not for the faint of heart.  There can be a wide range of flavors in this variety, but that's part of the fun for me.  This one has to go down as one of my favorites.  There is a lot of "berry" taste to this wine.  Blueberry, blackberry, and a touch of strawberry immediately hit you.  Maybe a hint of vanilla??  It is a medium bodied wine and had a quick, smooth finish on the palate.  I know part of why I really liked this one is that it paired very well with the cranberries in the dressing.  It also went well with the gouda cheese we had as an appetizer.  Overall, a thumbs up and I would be happy to enjoy this red wine again.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Giving #foodthanks

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Food doesn’t just happen. It takes an incredible number of caring, thoughtful, hard-working individuals to provide the three square meals we enjoy every day. From farmer to processor to truck driver to chef to retailer, millions work hard to provide our food.

Those people deserve our thanks, especially during the Thanksgiving holiday.

I want to personally thank each and every person for helping to provide the food myself and my family will consume tomorrow for our Thanksgiving meal.  I know there are a lot of hands involved and my thanks go to every one of you.  Thank you for providing a safe, affordable, nutritious product.

Regardless of who produced your food or how it got to you, I hope we can agree that they all deserve our thanks.  As you sit down for your Thanksgiving meal tomorrow, please remember to give #foodthanks.

P.S.  For those of you on twitter, #foodthanks is the hashtag to express your gratitude there as well.
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