Thursday, February 24, 2011

Another potential income stream out of the blue: Jewelry making!

In what is quickly becoming a weekly trip to one of many craft stores here in my area, I stumbled across what could very easily turn into a new hobby/potential stream of income: Jewelry making!

This is a tried and true way of making a living for many of my friends, one of whom I have spotlighted here already, (Mary Mills Designs) and another I plan to spotlight in the coming week. Be on the lookout for a blog post on Gabriella Designs by Maryann Peper-Reynolds. These ladies have years of experience making beautiful, wearable artwork (and other items), and I've always been a fan of their work. Many times, in my journeyings through Michaels or Joann Fabrics I've come across the necessary means to make jewelry and always shrug it off as best left to the professionals.

Something changed that today. I found some really interesting pieces that I just knew would make for beautiful earrings and I was pulled to make them today. No more waiting, no more "oh that's for other people" just a pure pull of instinct that I must make these now!

Below are the pictures of my first pair of earrings I've made, and now that they have sold already: a very positive sign for a novice jewelry maker, I know they definitely won't be my last. It's not so much the ability to create and make money at it, as I could have easily kept these pretty earrings for myself, it's more about creating something YOU like, and then having other people like it enough to want to buy it. That is a feeling beyond words to have someone really enjoy something you made.  It's the way I feel whenever someone asks me to knit them something. Just pure love.

So I say to you, if something is calling your name to make it, create it, make it your own, why are you ignoring your instinct? Go with it and make it everything you want it to be! If you end up giving the wonderful gift out to the world to purchase, you'll be quite surprised at the responses you get.

If you love these as much as I do, and must have a pair please check out my Etsy Store. I can get these made again super quick and shipped within a day of purchase. <3

Enjoy, create and be happy!


Monday, February 21, 2011

Sometimes it's ok to quit. It's not failure, it's knowing when to regain your sanity

Tonight I did something that is entirely out my character, I allowed myself to quit a project after trying to get it right 3 times over the last 2 days. The project in question is the Barbara Scarf by Lion Brand Yarns. At first I thought my new yarn from The Knitting Room in San Jose, CA would be a beautiful compliment to the very different type of cabling found in this pattern. It's a hand-spun merino wool & acrylic yarn in a beautiful variegated blue, purple, pink, maroon, olive green, brown coloring. Soft and pretty. Well, it's also out of my character to admit when I'm wrong (who likes to be wrong?), but I was wrong in choosing this yarn for this project. Probably a beginners mistake. As much as I like to think I'm advanced, I truly am a beginner knitter. I just pick things up fairly easily.

After one of what would be many conferences with my grandmother about this project and where I was having issues, I decided to use a different yarn after 2 froggings with the former yarn. The new yarn worked well, but after my grandmother very patiently explained the workings of seed stitch to me; yes the pattern has instructions but it's slightly confusing in my opinion, I was off and running again.  Then came the final blow, my grandmother in an attempt to help me find where I was going wrong was knitting the pattern with me- at least through the first few cables- and she sent me a photo of her progress.

It was bloody perfect. Ok, that was to be expected, she has a good 20 years of knitting experience on me. Fine, but after doing the seed stitch the way she told me, which was different from the way I had done it yesterday I noticed my 3rd attempt was coming out quite wrong. HOW HARD IS IT to get this stitch right?! Probably not very hard and I can do a mean cable like no one else and even that was coming out wrong.

That was my final straw, and I realized maybe, I had found a pattern that was beyond my abilities at the moment. Maybe it would just require some sitdown time with my wonderful grandma to get her to show me in person where I was going wrong. Maybe the pattern is just mocking me and my previous pride in being a knitting savant. Hah!

So here I am- knowing that if I try this pattern again anytime soon I may scream- allowing myself to quit, take a breather and try something else. The pattern will always be there for me to tackle at a later date, and what is the point of making something if you're frustrated and pissed off while making it? Everything you create should come from love, not a defiant state to master a pattern/project/stitch. I'm moving on to something beautiful (lets be honest, the scarf really can't be called "pretty") and something that interests me. When I start it I'll breathe freely and deeply and my love will shine through in the creation of  this buttoned up cowl.

If you ever feel the need to push through a project that is driving you insane (and no one is paying you to do it) then maybe you should readjust your thinking, take a step back, and ask yourself  "What am I getting out of this, other than stress?". We create things out of love, sure there may be the motive to make money at it, but most everyone I know that has a passion for creation, it blossoms out of pure love and satisfaction of making something and having other people enjoy it. Or keeping it and enjoying it for yourself. The money is purely a side benefit. Allow yourself to quit from time to time, it will keep you motivated on the projects you really enjoy, and you won't feel like you're working at your hobby.

There, I feel better already. ;-)

Now..... time to read my new directions and get a small dent into this project before I head to bed.

Happy Creating! <3


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Spotlight on Mary Mills Designs

This blog is all about bringing a focus to people who are creative, and may or may not make a living at it. My first spotlight is on a friend of mine Mary Staples Mills, who owns MMillsDesigns She resides in Georgia, and from what I've seen over the last year makes some of the most beautiful and down to earth jewelry. By down to earth I mean the price points are VERY reasonable, and the jewelry is accessible to all types of women. There's nothing fussy or overly dramatic about it, and it's just plain pretty.

Some interesting info about Mary: After years of coveting her mother's beautiful jewelry as a child, and then coming to lean about fine jewelry as an adult, Mary took on the hobby of creating her own handmade artisan jewelry. What started with a handful of beads and bobbles in all sorts of colors and textures, and her background in art, and color palettes  and a few "how to" classes under her belt, her jewelry took off! 

As most of us know who've done any sort of business like Avon, Mary Kay and the like, you're best opening to new customers is what you have on you: what you wear; clothing, jewelry, perfume, makeup etc. When you sell yourself, you sell your products, of course Mary knew this to be true and would hand out her card for her newfound business everywhere she went and got compliments on her new pieces of art. 

What started as word of mouth from friends and interested strangers she came across, has now blossomed into 3 consignment shops carrying her jewelry across the country with more to come. Talk about a success story!

Below are a few photo representations of her work, and "here" is where you'll be transported to her Etsy store where you can see all she has to offer. She's also very happy to make you something custom, and would very much love wholesale orders. She uses some of the best ingredients when it comes to making jewelry, such as: Swarovski crystals, Millefiori glass, Sterling Silver, and semi precious stones. What more could you ask for?

Way to go Mary, I hope this brings you more exposure, and some new clients!  <3


Bringing Creativity Into Creation

This was supposed to be my first blog, and then I went ahead with The Dichotomy of Me. I figured, if I'm going to go for the whole "make my mark on the world" I might as well go big or go home.

The point of THIS blog is to bring all sorts of creativity into the spotlight. Could be my own handiworks, the items my husband makes, or any number of creative friends I have whom I would like to share their work with the world.

I follow a lot of creative people on Twitter, and you can follow me there as well RedHeadBetty. This is merely the beginning, but by no means is it mere chance that I named the blog after our Etsy Store. You'll be able to peruse our items for sale, and even request something if it moves you.

I'm looking forward to bringing both of my blogs out into the stratosphere of the world wide web, and showcase all the creative individuals I come across on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

Love, Light and Creativity!