Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Bit of {Dazzle}

Hey readers!

Aha! Another post from moi! This looks promising, no? :D I even have a picture in this post from a real live camera and not an iPhone, for once. :) 

I had the very great privilege of designing and creating customized earrings for the wedding I'm in that takes place in September, and I was SO THRILLED with the results. 
By the way, the bride, my dear darling friend McKenzie, is the girl who inspired me to start blogging in the first place after I read her blog, Pecan Pastures, back in 2008. Zounds. It's been forever and an age. :D

The other earrings are a secret surprise for the other bridesmaids, but since I have already seen mine... so can you! :D

I. am. in. LOOOOOVE with them. Oh joy and jubilation. I can't wait to post a picture of them on me, they flatter my oval face and make my green eyes glitter. EEK! I liked the "ombre" wave effect of light-to-dark on the crystal dangles so much that I knew I wanted to do it for mine. I'm a little proud of the fact that this pair is "very" handmade... I created the loopy link hanging horizontally in the middle out of an extra-long headpin.

*happy sigh*

Friday, June 13, 2014

Still Alive! {GHEA Convention 2014}

My lovely readers! Wish I could give you all a big hug and tell you how sorry I am for abandoning you (without notice, shame on me!) for the past few months!

{I would have blogged this post sooner, but we've had intermittent internet outages in the past week - very irksome, indeed! :P}

But I had an awfully good reason for my lack of blogging. I was swimming in beads, making hundreds of jewelry pieces to sell in my 10-foot-by-10-foot booth in the exhibit hall at the 2014 GHEA (Georgia Home Educators Association) in Atlanta.

So, because I've got lots of pictures, here's a blog post full of them! :)

We all arrived midafternoon in Atlanta and set up our booths in the vendor hall, working like a well-oiled machine. Practice makes perfect! I think this is the 5th year I've done it. :)

We checked into our hotel and crashed for about an hour - I took a catnap, knowing I would appreciate the extra rest, as I never sleep very well in hotel beds. I'm too used to my own. :)

Then we hit the mall! The boys went to the LEGO store - stunning the employees when they picked up the LEGO club magazine lying there and showed them their interview, having competed in the prestigious by-invitation-only Iron Builder contest. Pretty cool. I's extremely proud of 'em. :)

I went to Bath and Body works......... and they had just released some delectable summery scents, so I grabbed a few in travel-size bottles, which were on a special sale, and some Europe-inspired fragrances that were 50% off. :) I love that place too much. :D

Then all five of our family went to Bass Pro shop, and I ended up finding a pair of running shoes on sale in a brand that I know fits my feet best. (Yay! Motivation to exercise! I've already run nearly 4 miles in them and they're great!) :) I also had a crazy desire to get some of this pirate-themed hot sauce, but resisted. Confession: I love spicy food, and these were too hilarious. Look...

While we were there, I noticed that a scuba diver was cleaning the fish tank! They are in the center of the picture, that shiny tube is their air tank.

Back at the hotel, laden with our goods from the mall, we crashed again and ate dinner - tacos with all the fixin's that we packed in the cooler. We always bring a cooler on trips, and it saves so much time and money, plus we get to eat our favorite fresh foods, which are better for you anyway! :)

These are the lamps in the hotel lobby. It was a pretty place, which made up for the fact that they didn't serve breakfast. *sigh* If they'd had free breakfast, that would have been one of the best hotel stays EVER. :)
 (The next evening we were there, we'd packed venison burgers and had them with all their fixin's. Mine was so good I did that silly thing where you take a picture of your food that nobody wants to see anyway... so here it is)

So! Bright and early the next morning, we started selling stuff. Many of my customers from years before came by early, saying they'd come to me first to make sure they didn't miss out! It was very gratifying. :) And I was glad they did that, because it's true, pieces start moving and by the end of the 2nd day my selection is much more limited as the amount of jewelry decreases. Even though I bring a TON. :)

Hello! :) I really loved the outfit I put together for the first day. Aqua summery-print top with mint shrug, white flowy skirt, and white jewelry. :)

My booth! I was thrilled with how it looked this year. The addition of a chevron tablecloth (and finding my favorite tie-dye knit hot pink tablecloths) really made it POP. :) 

This is the necklace table, holding mostly pendants on chains and some pretty necklace and earring sets, as well as the floral cuff bracelets and the flower rings. I had to keep refilling the busts as they emptied when necklaces sold! 

GAHHHH I love these. MMM! I delight in making each one unique and perfect with tiny, special detail. 
The headbands were popular again this year! And I actually met a few girls who were wearing headbands they had bought from me LAST year! Too awesome. I get such a kick out of seeing people wearing my creations and loving them. :)

Half of the necklace racks... It's funny to look at these now and think "Oh, yep, that one sold, and that one, and that one....etc." :) 

The other half. All so pretty, all so different! :) I try to come up with something for every lady's style. NOT an easy task.

The beaded wire bracelets. A whole bunch of these sold too! 
 I tried to keep my prices ridiculously low this year to just get the jewelry to move... and it went! Things flew off the displays at a wild pace and I had many people telling me I should be charging more... I simply smiled, knowing that the more pieces I sold at a lower price, the better profit I was making. :)

My strategy worked, by the way. I topped last year's total by about a hundred dollars. YAY! Thank you, Lord!!! :)
I had some super-cute gift bags this year to give people when they purchased jewelry from me, which many of the women found absolutely charming. :D Hey, I'm all about shoppers having a delightful experience. :) I found them here on etsy. :)

Meeting fantastic people is seriously the best thing about these conventions. I made sure to get a photo with the amazing Mirriam, who is a fellow writer! Mirriam snagged some Celtic Knot-style chandelier earrings while she was at my booth. :) I also got to meet Katelyn S, one of my most faithful blog commenters!! It was so much fun socializing with her and her two sisters, who all bought lots of jewelry from me. Katelyn, if you're reading this, drop me a comment with your email address! We should get together sometime! :D

My poor feets. They got so sore and tired by the end of the convention! I don't know why, but standing in one small space all day long is torture on the soles of my feet. 
This is the chandelier earring rack. (On day 2, see the missing gaps?) There were 96 pairs of these, alone. I think I had around 500 pairs of earrings, total. 
 It was so cozy to get home and remember that I'd cleaned my room before I left, and hung twinkle-lights just because... which I quickly plugged in and smiled at.

 Yup. Definitely adds much-needed glimmer and sparkle. :) All the better to play chess (my brothers, not me) and to crochet, while gazing at.
I love my room. :)

Ohhh! Before I forget, here's a shout-out to the Virginia Soaps and Scents company, whose home-crafted soap I buy annually in great quantities so as to last all year long. It smells AMAZING, and is gently cleansing. And I've heard it's great for skin issues like acne and eczema! 
 The last great effort once I got home was to ship off a few custom-altered pieces of jewelry, and to put the remaining fresh stock into my stand in the shop on the square, the Rescue Me Marketplace. It looks smashing now! :D

I looooove it. Praying for great sales there this month and all summer.

Honestly, I thought that necklace was surely going to be snapped up by some book-loving homeschooler. I may end up just keeping it myself yet... Let me know if you want to buy it for $23.00 plus shipping. :D

And how fun is this "Chile-Pepper" necklace in bold, zesty shades of cherry, cayenne, olive, lime, and pink? 
I'm gearing up to sell my jewelry online (Don't all faint at once, now) so stay tuned for updates on that and more blog posts throughout this summer!