Sunday, July 31, 2011

Random thoughts on resin jewelry making

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No, I haven't thought about gnomes, but maybe I should.
A few things have been hopping through my head in the last few days.  I won't share them all with you (thank goodness, right?), but a few of note:

I need to have a few days break in between sanding the resin and pewter jewelry pieces.  It's killing the thumb on my right hand.  Okay, maybe not killing, but I've sanded the end of it off ---- again.

It looks like I'm going to have to upgrade the shopping cart on KMS Designs myself.  I learned how to build websites a few years ago, but as online shopping has gotten more complicated, I thought it might be best to have someone else upgrade the shopping cart.  The local web geek guy that I hired to do it has failed to deliver on everything that I need in a timely fashion.  I've gotten a few suggestions on the software to do it and will be exploring that this week.  For those of you who have been so patiently waiting for the upgrade (and all the new jewelry that comes with it), hang in there a bit longer. 

I need a grown up artist studio.   Either that, or my family needs to quit eating so that I can use the entire kitchen to pour resin.

What's been going on in your week?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Who is doing 45 in the hammer lane?

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*This is a part of the Thursday rant series, a tongue in cheek look at my life.*

Not really my car, but something tells me I would like driving this one.
There's a section of 4 lane highway north of Gainesville that I drive regularly.  When I've got my kids with me, I am definitely the high school, driver's ed, my parents are watching me, state cop is behind my car, defensive driver.  Very careful.  Speed limit.  Signals.  Both hands at 10 and 2. 

When it's just me....

Watch out.  I'm a bat out of hell.  Running behind.  Mashing the accelerator.  Burning fossil fuel.

It seems that when I'm in 'bat out of hell' mode, AND on this section of road, I run into someone going 10 miles under the speed limit in the left lane.  EVERY time.  I don't run into this on other roads or even the interstate.  If I didn't know better, I would say I died and this is my eternity now.  I'm sure this is a sign to leave the house earlier or get back into old lady sitting on a phone book to see over the steering wheel mode, but I'm not listening. 

Good thing I watch NASCAR with my boys.  Picked up a few driving tips to deal with this.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My next jewelry design idea

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Thanks to all who have given and sent me their empty gift cards.  I can't wait to use them!!  This picture shows only a few in the pile so far. 

Wondering what I'm going to do with them?'ll just have to wait to see what kind of jewelry creation is on the sketch book.  Trust me, I can't wait to show you.  *wink*

Monday, July 25, 2011

What I'm working on now

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I have been working on a plan for what I will be doing with my jewelry making and jewelry business over the next 6 months.

1.  Jewelry for holiday sales

Uh, seriously?  Like it's 8 million degrees outside.  What's the rush?

I have two shows scheduled locally here this fall, the Thornebrook Art Festival, and the Downtown Gainesville Fall Festival and Art Show.  I want to make sure I've got enough inventory so that I don't feel rushed, something I hate as I get older. 

Having enough inventory is also important since I expect my wholesale customers will start placing orders to stock their store for holidays as early as September.

2.  New jewelry designs

Don't you already have new work?  Do you ever stop??

Whether it's the resin and sterling silver jewelry or the pewter and resin jewelry, I have to plan ahead to have multiples available.  Since both lines involve lost wax casting, I have to add 2 to 3 months time for production, as I rely on outside companies to make them for me.  If I want to have new designs for the ACRE Orlando, I need to, at a minimum, get designs in the sketch book now.

3.  Booth Design

You obsess about this don't you?

Why yes, I do.  I know I only have a few seconds to grab someone's attention enough to get them to stop.  I've been playing with a few booth designs and still haven't quite settled on anything, but I think I'm closer.  But maybe not. 

4.  Website upgrade

Haven't we heard about this before?  I've been waiting you know.

Yes, you have.  The overall look and feel of the KMS Designs website will be the same, but I desperately want a more user friendly shopping cart system (both for me and shoppers).  I swear to you I had hoped to have it up by now, but, happens.

5.  Package sale jewelry

Ooh sale?!  I love a good sale!

I have my one an only sale in conjunction with the Thornebrook Art Festival.  I have items nicely packaged, priced and placed in a nice basket.  Peel off the sticker and no one will ever know you got a deal.  *smile*

So what are you working on?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

New resin jewelry pictures

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I'm changing things up a bit.  While my new website is under construction (don't worry -- same look, but a better shopping cart), I'm playing around with some new pictures of the scrabble tile jewelry.

What do you think?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I got nothing

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*This is a part of the Thursday rant series, a tongue in cheek look at my life.*

For those of you who are regular to my blog on Thursdays, you know I find something crazy in my life to write about.

Not today.  Nothing to rant about.  No complaints.  Nada.

Things are going pretty good.  Really, I don't have any complaints.  My kids are good (not perfect, but good).  Hubby is a great help.  My business is doing well, especially considering the economy.

Yeah, nothing to complain about here.

Not this week anyway.  Check back next Thursday.  I'm sure there will be some sarcastic banter somewhere in me waiting to get out.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The part of the art business I hate

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I love making art jewelry, even the business part.  But.  There is one part I don't care for.

Not really my phone, but looks like one I would totally have
Making "unannounced" phone calls.

I've been following up with my new wholesale accounts that I've taken on since the beginning of the year.  I've stayed in touch by email, but, as I have been coached by others within the business, nothing beats a phone call.

If you know me, you know I could talk an African violet to death so what's the problem with the phone call?

I hate interrupting people when they're not necessarily expecting me to call.  It's just a respect thing.  So I try to keep it short, sweet, to the point.  All about what I can do to help them and their business.

What about you?  What don't you like within your job or business?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Fall art show - Gainesville, Florida

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I happy to announce my official acceptance to the Art Festival at Thornebrook.  The art festival is Saturday and Sunday, September 24 and and 25, with a show preview, Friday night, September 23. 

(and just a reminder for all my favorite blog readers, I have my one and only sale every year in conjunction with this show!)

See you there!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Sunburst pattern resin jewelry

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I am happy to announce that my scrabble tile resin jewelry will be available at the Akron Art Museum starting next week. As I was pulling their order, I was impressed with the selections the museum made. Most of my wholesale clients get an assortment of several different themes. They just ordered from the one theme: the sunburst pattern. They all looked so good together! I had to take a few pictures to share.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I don't want to speak with someone in middle India!

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*This is a part of the Thursday rant series, a tongue in cheek look at my life.*

When are businesses going to learn that a person with limited English skills from halfway around the world does not make good customer service?!?

I need to freight some materials up north.  I won't get into why, but I've been researching freight options since it's too big to go as a typical package.  A few of the online websites that I have tried to get quotes from require a customer service representative to call me back.

Ok, fine.

When the phone rang the other day, with one of the "customer service reps", this is what I got:

(From this point forward, it might make more sense if you read this aloud)

"Hell-o.  Katureen?  I am Mee-Linda from (x company).  I want help you sheep your package."

The 45 minute conservation of me trying to explain the three scenarios I wanted prices for eventually came to this response:

"Yes, Katureen.  I understand you want to ship package to Pin-sill-vane-e-ah.  I can help you with that."


My response?


When are these companies going to get it?  I have been around the block a time or two on these people.  They aren't listening at all.  (Kind of difficult when you're only reading from a script.)  Have you ever tried asking them something they don't have a written script for (like in this case)?

Rest assured that when I finally get my day on QVC selling my jewelry, I will never allow my beloved customers have their phone calls sent to some call center anywhere near India.  My promise to you.  *smile*

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Outdoor festival jewelry booth design

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In case you haven't noticed, I've missed a couple of blog posts in the last few days.  If having TWO batches of resin that didn't cure properly (mostly hard, but sticky like scotch tape when you touched them) wasn't bad enough, I've gotten the wild hair to redo my outdoor art festival jewelry booth.

This is my current booth.  It is composed of wooden boxes with collapsible glass boxes on top.  The boxes themselves don't collapse, but the legs do come off the bottom.  I get lots of great comments on it, so why change?

Couple of reasons:

  1. I don't think it fits the resin jewelry style.  I think this display is a good match for sterling silver and semi precious stone jewelry, but little too "snooty" for resin jewelry.
  2. It's a bit cumbersome to lug around.  For shows like the Downtown Festival and Art show, in Gainesville in November, where I can't set up until Saturday morning, there is no way I can set this up by myself in time for the show. 
  3. It's time for a change.
So here's what took me five days to come up with.  (Thanks to Google Sketch Up for the help.)

First, let me say, the wall and floor colors are a bit more "intense" than what I would say they will be, but you'll get the idea.

The floor is actually the brick road street downtown.  Unfortunately, it isn't as level as the picture shows.

The long table is 2 four foot tables put together.  It is draped with ivory tablecloths, with a table runner on top.  The table runner matches some jewelry display novelty items I got at Bed, Bath and Beyond a couple of months ago for my wholesale show.  The table runner is ivory with a few large flowers on it.

The walls are going to be a sheer drapes in the aqua color.  My hope is that they will give enough color without feeling heavy.

The three hanging wall items will be jewelry displayed in a frame at eye level.

So you might be asking, why not go over the top color like what I did with my wholesale art jewelry booth?  I did think about out.  Really, I did.  All I can say is now I understand why fashion designers put out the big over-the-top fashion pieces -- to grab attention.  I think the wholesale booth does a great job of drawing business and art gallery owners in and making it crystal clear that my jewelry is about fun and color.  I'm a bit concerned that the same "over the top" approach to retail customers may be too much.

What do you think? 

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Go the F**k to sleep

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*This is a part of the Thursday rant series, a tongue in cheek look at my life.*

Have you heard anything about this book?  The first I heard of it was about a month and a half ago when it was mentioned in the American Public Media Marketplace podcast I was listening to that day.  Host Kai Ryssdal ended that day's podcast by reading an excerpt of the book.

I SCREAMED laughing.  Out loud.  Hard.  Belly laugh.  Like the kind that anyone near you wonders if you're having a seizure and in need of medical attention or if you just blew a pop tart out through your nose.

Does that make me a bad parent?  Apparently, there is a subset of the parenting world that thinks so.

A little more background on the book here:  it's designed like a children's book -- illustrations, short, rhyming sentences, big print.  But of course, it's only meant to be read by the adults.  I bought a copy for hubby for Father's Day.  We both laughed so hard.  Really hard.  In fact, he thought it was a great gift.

Have I ever thought those exact words?  Does that mean that I would ever say that to them out loud?  No is the answer on both counts.  But that doesn't mean I haven't thought to myself on more than one occasion, "are you really sure you need to be awake right now???!!!???"

So for those of you parents that think this book is a production of the antichrist, may I congratulate you for being PERFECT.  As for me, I'll keep nurturing my warped sense of humor.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Your invitation to a jewelry open house in Gainesville, Florida

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Linda BlondheimJoin me at the loft studio of Florida landscape acrylic painter Linda Blondheim for a HEN PARTY.  Her studio is upstairs at Paddiwhack, 4128 NW 16th Blvd., Gainesville - next to Fresh Market.  (Just walk to the back of the store and look for the neon sign.)  The event is on Saturday, August 6, and runs from noon to 4 PM.  I will be there beginning at  1 PM and will have my scrabble tile jewelry, along with my new resin and pewter jewelry.  I'll be there to answer questions, demonstrate  some jewelry techniques, and maybe pick up paint brush -- only to look at.  I will have small resin jewelry gifts for attendees (until they run out), so get there early!  Other artisans will be there sharing their handmade soaps, washcloths and handbags. 

Did I mention there would be music by guitarist Bob Brounley from 1 to 3 PM along with light snacks? 

RSVP's appreciated, but not required.  (By the way, the guys can come too.)

Monday, July 04, 2011

Jewelry making on the 4th of July

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Even though today is a holiday, I've been making more resin jewelry.  Why?  Because I took a few days off last week, full well knowing that I was going to have to make up for it when I got back.  I have two new accounts in Texas that have placed orders for my scrabble tile jewelry pendants.  Here's a preview of the "bohemian hearts" pattern assortment that they chose:

This pattern is a little different from what I've done previously in that they will have a horizontal orientation.

What I really like about the pattern is that it's not the "cutesy" pink and purple hearts.  It's more artistic and easily wearable throughout the year.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Compaq laptop purchase

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If you remember from a few months ago, I was lamenting over whether or not I should get a new laptop computer or a tablet.  I was getting ready to travel and knew I not only needed internet access, but I needed to be able to capture credit card information for jewelry sales.  I thought my old Dell laptop (6 or 7 years old) would make it, but everything had gotten so grindingly S   L   O   W, that I knew I needed something pronto.  I had done a little research on the websites of the major office supply retailers, but decided I needed to work them in person.

I ended up getting an "el cheapo" (about $300) Compaq laptop.  I looked at the Blackberry Playbook and one of the new Samsung tablets, but decided the laptop was a better fit for me because:

  • Integrated keyboard.  While I love the touch screen, sometimes I just need to type REALLY fast (like this blog post).
  • I needed to print receipts.  There wasn't an easy way (that I could tell anyway) to print out documents or receipts.
  • The laptop is faster.  I didn't necessarily figure that out until the salesperson told me.
I think a tablet is still pretty neat additional to my arsenal, but it's going to have to wait until after a new camera.
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