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!


  1. I love your jewelry, Julia! And Your outfit was delightful. It is always such fun to read your posts. :)


    1. Thanks HP!! :) Aw, and it's always fun getting a comment from you. :)

  2. Always look forward to your posts, Julia!
    Glad you had a good time and good business at the convention! Your displays are beautiful...the chandelier is a really neat idea!

    1. Really? How delightful, Bethany! So glad you enjoy my blog! I did have a good time. :D Thank you - I put a lot of effort into my jewelry presentation, so it's great to know that it pays off. :)

  3. SQUEEEEEEEEEE I have been SO hoping you'd open an online shop! Your jewelry is soooo gorgeous... potential customer right over here. :D

    1. Amy! Hello! :D I was just reading (and laughing hysterically over) your blog today! Now I feel like a heel for not leaving a comment, when you did on mine... :( Lol!! ;) Oh wow, if I could get an endorsement from you, my online shop would be off to a great start! :D *insert clever quote about not wanting for connections* I will certainly keep you in the loop!

    2. Well, if you're thinking of using Etsy for your gorgeous creations, do please shoot me an email and I'd be happy to give some tips and whatnot! SO looking forward to seeing what you sell!

  4. It's official - I'm a stalker!!! : D It was great seeing you; yes, we do need to meet up. I've worn my pink flower chain several times and I love it. And the cuff bracelet..... GAH!!! So pretty. Thanks for letting us hang out and look.

    Katelyn S.

    1. Haha!! And a very nice stalker at that!
      Katelyn, thank you so, so much for purchasing my jewelry, it was such a pleasure seeing you and your sisters and it means so much that my creations are going to "good homes" where they'll be treasured! :)

  5. I saw you there too! I don't know if you remember me, (I was working at registration, hadn't paid for shopping :( ) but it was exciting to see you in person. Your jewelry is so pretty! Glad your hotel stay was satisfying, and that burger looks delicious. Eeek! I was just hoping the other day that you would sell your jewelry online! Excited for that...

    Have a great day!

    1. Abby! Yes, I remember you! Can't believe I forgot to include you in the blog post! It was great getting to meet you in person!! It's so amazing to meet someone who has found my little corner of the blogosphere and loved it. :D *Hugs* Yes. I will be selling my jewelry online! Woohoo! Now to just get it all set up... :)

  6. All of your jewelry is so pretty! I'm glad the convention went so well for you. That's always a great feeling when you accomplish a job well done. :)
    I had a slight moment of freaking out when you mentioned Virginia Soaps & Scents. They are friends of mine and they live down the road from me! Such a small world we live in, huh? ;)
    Can't wait to see your online store when you have it all set up!

    Many blessings,

  7. Lovely, jewelry Julia! :) And I must say, your room is prettily decorated. I like the touch of the lights. :D
    Sunday Best and All the Rest

  8. YAY! So glad you're back here now, other Julia! ;) I check all the time to see if you've posted. Your jewelry is AMAZING! {side note: I am seriously loving it all, especially the flower-cabochon bracelets and that gorgeous Happily Ever After necklace.} (could it be because I am an official book-loving homeschooler?) :) Will you be selling on your Etsy shop?
    Looking forward to future blog posts!
    ~Julia Lauren H.


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