Monday, January 30, 2012

Tangible Tidbits 2012 #4: Beaders and Birthstones...

Hello, readers! Well, I've had two interviews for the IT position since I last posted. The first one was with HR last week, which was pretty informational and only lasted about 20 minutes. The second one was this morning with the Manager to whom I would report if I took the position. She and I had never really crossed paths before, so I was curious to see whether or not we would be able to work together. I've had difficult bosses in the past, but I really don't think I have the emotional and/or physical energy to go down that road right now unless it's absolutely necessary. At this time, it isn't. ;) She's very nice, and seemed genuinely interested in my jewelry-making...she even asked me for a brochure! LOL I'm glad I don't have to keep that part of my life "quiet" anymore. For a long time, I didn't talk much about it at the office because I didn't want The Powers That Be to think I wasn't focusing on my job. That hasn't been a problem since I got back, and I'm glad it doesn't seem like it will be one if I make the transition. :) In any case, I hear there's one other person applying for the job, although I have no idea who it is or how we compare. I'm not really worried about it...if I don't get offered the position, I know my current superiors will be relieved! :)

Do you believe it's already February?! :o I don't know what the weather is like where you are, but it's pretty mild here for this time of year. I can't complain, although I think it's supposed to dip over the next few days and we might even see some flurries. As long as they don't stick to the ground, I'm okay with that! LOL

At the upcoming Bead Society of NJ (BSNJ) meeting, members will have the opportunity to bring in items to sell to other members...not a lot, just what will fit on the table in front of each person. Since the membership consists largely of beaders, I was thinking of bringing some wire-wrapped pendants, handcrafted link and wire knit chains, and handmade wire beads and coils. There are a few people who work with wire in the group, but the majority of them are into working with seed beads. They probably don't want to buy pieces made by other people that they can make themselves (I know I don't!), so I want to offer items that are more likely to be of interest to them. Jewelry-makers are always looking for different and interesting items like beads, chains, and pendants, so I think I can probably stand out in that area. I'll let you know how I make out after February 16. Wish me luck!

I'm still working hard to get my unfinished projects cleaned up. The February BSNJ meeting is also a UFO (unfinished object) night, so people can work on unfinished projects at the meeting. February can be difficult because potential snowstorms could interfere with a lecture, so we opted to have a "low key" meeting instead. Ideally, I'll find something that I can transport easily, and hopefully I can finish it in the one night! ;)

The new Focal Piece of the Month should be going up this week. For the February birthstone, I created an Amethyst pendant on purple silk. I happened to find a sale on selected birthstones at Beaded Impressions last week, so I stocked up the rest of the year's stones that I could find. I may still be missing one or two, but I'm pretty sure I have the ones I need for the next few months, at least. :)

As always, thanks for reading and have a great week! :D

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Tangible Tidbits 2012 #3: Expanding My Horizons

Hey, everyone! My work life got pretty hectic toward the end of last week, when a colleague moved up her departure date by a couple of weeks! She took over my old job when I left in mid-2010, and I've gotten my old duties back as of today. In theory this change will allow me to leave on time more frequently, since my workload and schedule are no longer tied directly to anyone else. However, I left today a half-hour later that "normal," and I left one project unfinished. I kind of dumped it in the lap of my supervisor, but I suspect it will still be waiting for me tomorrow morning. :\

I'm still investigating the opportunity I mentioned last week, and I'll know more by the end of this week. Essentially, it's a transfer to the IT department and a promotion, but the concession is that it is a full-time position. I think I'm ready for a change -- particularly at the office -- so this may work out well. The upside is that I'll be able to afford to finish my Metalwork & Jewelry courses at MSU. In making that part of my incentive to take the position, it reinforces for me that I'm not giving up this business entirely...just putting it on the back-burner for a bit. ;) The downside is that I will miss my "family" in the Transfer Department. Many of us have weathered quite a few storms together. Hopefully, the space between my [possible] cubicle and them wouldn't be too far to travel. ;)

Last week, I started an experiment to see if is a viable avenue for me to showcase my pieces. It's kind of like a cross between Etsy and eBay, with merchandise broken down into "blocks" by interest or material. My thinking was that it would be easier to reach people who are interested in wire-wrapped items, for example, by including my pieces in that block. The site automatically places the items in various blocks based on the title and description of the piece, so they are more likely to be seen by people looking for similar items. Unfortunately, I can't dictate where they should go, which means I am sort of at their mercy in that regard. I have received quite a few compliments on the Bird's Nest bracelet I posted, which has been placed in blocks for jewelry, Swarovski, sterling silver, and bracelets. It has received 138 views in a week, so that's not bad. :) Yardsellr is also connected to Facebook & Twitter, as well as Pinterest, which I also joined this week. I'm hoping to reach a wider audience through these sites than I have so far via my website and social media. What I like about Yardsellr is that the blocks are basically defining target markets. I've never investigated Etsy and Artfire thoroughly, although I did sign up for both shortly after starting this business. My impression is that Yardsellr took the concept of the former two sites a step further. My one concern is spreading myself too thin. I've had trouble finding the time to post pictures of my latest creations to my website and Facebook, let alone adding a third venue. However, I want to primarily use Yardsellr to help promote older in-stock pieces. I will be more selective in what I post there, based on what blocks I've seen available and the items I have come across in visiting them...I purchased some large-hole square glass, Amethyst, and Amber beads there recently. Custom work can be gratifying -- especially when a client is thrilled with the one-of-a-kind piece -- but it would help a lot for me to sell off my current inventory. Plus, if I ever decide to downsize or close up shop, I can probably sell my materials and tools more easily on Yardsellr than eBay. I tried selling some of my older or rarely used tools on eBay last year, and it was not very encouraging. :\

Gotta's time for Hawaii Five-0! Have a great week! :)

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tangible Tidbits 2012 #2: Better Late Than Never?

Hi, everyone! Sorry I never made it here last week, but I had a persistent headache that started mid-afternoon Thursday and continued off-and-on throughout the weekend. I'd taken Friday off from work and stayed in bed all day. I'm planning to get my eyes checked, since I haven't done it in something like three years. I can't say for sure that caused the headaches, but it could have made them worse. :\

I was on a wire-wrapped ring kick last Wednesday...I made six rings in one night, and I've already sold two of them! Whoo hoo! :) I also made a new bracelet with wire-wrapped Crazy Lace Agate and Blue Ribbon Jasper beads today. I've taken photos of everything I've made to date, but I am really behind in uploading them to my computer, editing them, and posting them to Facebook and the website. I think my "new" New Year's Resolution is not to start any new projects until I finish my UFOs (unfinished objects) and clean up around here. In finishing the pieces I've started, I am slowly cleaning up my work area. I have/had a bunch of materials piled up for those projects -- so I wouldn't have to look for them in my huge stash of materials -- and I can finally put them away as I finish each one. :p

Earlier today, I finished the large aluminum earrings I mentioned in my last post. They were probably 75 percent completed before today, so I decided to finish them up. After all, they will generate revenue! ;) I go through phases of incredible productivity, and then phases of incredible inactivity. I think I'm feeling productive because the office is closed tomorrow for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, so I have an extra day this weekend. :)

As you may recall, I was going to pick up pieces in Jersey City last weekend. Mom came with me, since she used to spend a lot of time in Jersey City with Dad. She also went to school at Jersey City Medical Center and Jersey City State College, now known as New Jersey City University. Not surprisingly, we got lost both ways. :p Dad was undoubtedly looking down on us and shaking his head at me. I have a decent sense of direction, but that doesn't help me with all of the ramps, circular roads, and multiple highway intersections near Newark Liberty International Airport. Even with good directions, the signage is terrible. Anyway, I didn't sell anything, but the owner of the gallery said that it was due to the economy. The highest individual selling piece was $90, which is apparently low.

I'm exploring an opportunity that may help me get out of debt quicker and also allow me to go back to school in the fall. Don't's nothing illegal! ;) However, it will mean restructuring my schedule and my priorities. I'll keep you posted as things become more concrete. Right now, a lot is still up in the air. :\

With the doctor's blessing, I'm heading back to the gym this coming Friday for "light workouts" on my knee twice a week. We would have started on Tuesday, but I had already made appointments for medical scans I need -- strictly routine. ;) I hope I remember to take my gym clothes with me on Friday! :p

I hope those readers in the U.S. enjoy the rest of the three-day weekend, and all of you have a great week! :)

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Monday, January 2, 2012

Tangible Tidbits 2012 #1: A New Year And A Clean Slate

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you all enjoyed your respective New Year's celebrations. I went to a family-friendly party, complete with children's activities. My nieces were there and they got a kick out of saying "see you later" after midnight, since I had dinner at their house on New Year's Day. :)

First order of business: the new Focal Piece of the Month is up, highlighting a Garnet necklace. I've already ordered and received some Amethyst beads for next month, so I will have to decide what to do with them in the next week or two. I think the majority of the pieces featured in this birthstone series will have to be new ones. Although I have created numerous gemstone pieces in the past 2+ years -- believe it or not, I started this business two years ago this past October (October 26, 2009) and I totally forgot about the anniversary! :o -- I don't think many of them incorporate birthstone gems. :\

I received word this morning that I can pick up my remaining items and a check -- although the email was a general one to all participants, I am being optimistic that there will be a check for me ;) -- from Woolpunk Studios in Jersey City next weekend. The owner of the gallery said the STOCK'N STUFFrz event was a big success, so that's good news. :) In addition, I was invited to participate in a display of pieces by members of the Montclair State University Metalsmith Guild this week. It will be at the The Allwood Branch of the Clifton Public Library, 44 Lyall Road, Clifton, NJ. My participation has not yet been confirmed, as I cannot make it to drop off my pieces tomorrow morning because I'm working. I am hoping they will let me drop them off in the afternoon, between work and the first Bead Society of New Jersey Board meeting of the new year. Wish me luck! ;)

As I mentioned last week, my younger niece made me a woven scarf for Christmas. I wore it to the office on Friday and received A LOT of compliments on it! Unfortunately, though, my bracelet got caught on it and I am afraid it will easily unravel. So, I've decided to add a Picot edge of seed beads all around the edges of the scarf. I'm hoping that will minimize the opportunities for it to unravel, although the center of the scarf may still get caught on something. :\ I started working on it on Saturday, and showed my niece my progress on Sunday. Thankfully, she approved. ;) Luckily, I have seed beads here that almost perfectly match the two colors of the scarf, and I'm also using black ones because that is the base color she used in the scarf. I'll post a picture when it's finished. :)

A number of people at the office want me to make them very large aluminum earrings with dangling chain and accent beads on them. I made one pair for a coworker a while ago, but they were not big enough for her. Another coworker purchased them, and she wore them to the office one day last week. Thanks to that "walking advertisement," I now have orders for three more pairs! LOL Luckily, I have plenty of leftover scrap aluminum from my Chinese take-out box set. In addition, I found a vendor who sells pre-cut aluminum circles in multiple sizes, and I ordered a dozen each in three-inch, four-inch, and five-inch diameters. If the five-inch diameter discs aren't big enough for some people, then I can't help them! LOL One coworker suggested I use squares instead of circles, since cutting the circles is so time-consuming for me. I ended up cutting, filing, and sanding two rectangles, which do look pretty kewl dangling from the ear wires. ;) In any case, I will be working on those requests this week.

I've finished about ninety percent of the projects we started at the Chinese knotting workshop last month. I still have to work on my Double Connection knot, which needs a lot of work! :p I also have to finish the Star Gazer Bracelet from Laura McCabe's November workshop. I stopped working on it because I can't find the crystals used in the center of each flower, and also because it was uncomfortable to work on my bed with my bad knee. I had been working on it while watching television in the evenings, so now that my knee is better (more on that in a minute), I can probably start doing that again. I'll just have to order more crystals in the required size and color. :\

About my knee, the doctor wants me to use a heating pad on it rather than an ice pack, and he also suggested I start some light exercises on my own. I ordered the heating pad from a catalog that people who have been working at Registrar and Transfer Company for five years received. I achieved that milestone in July, but it was announced at a company-wide meeting about a month or so ago, and I was presented with the catalog at that time. Am I practical or what? LOL

Back to the "real world" again tomorrow. Have a great week, one and all! :)

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