Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 A Year in Review for Sj Designs

When I was growing up, my mom would always tell me that time went faster the older you got.  I'm sure that I'm not the only one who heard words like this from the adults in their lives when they were young.  As a kid, this statement made absolutely no sense whatsoever.  I mean, time passes as a set measurement so how can a it be faster or slower?  As I got older (and hopefully a little wiser!) I discovered that my mom was totally correct; the older you get the faster it seems to go.

Now another year has sped by and we are starting afresh with a brand new, shiny year... 2014 here we come!  But before we get there I want to take a little moment to look back and reflect on the year that is coming to a close.

I started the year determined to make Sj Designs Jewelry a "real" business and not just the little side project/hobby that it had been for a couple of years.  While I never got to the point to really go gangbusters promoting my business this year, I've definitely put myself out there and made a ton of progress.  Here are a few highlights:

  • Launched my blog, Etsy shop, and business Facebook page in February
  • Had my first public sale in March 
  • Tried outdoor sales for the first time at the Waconia Farmers Market (and learned a lot in the process!)
  • Invited to participate in the Edge of the Big Woods Art Wander in September
  • Participated in a ton of design challenges and blog hops which helped spark my creativity and stretch myself to try new things
  • Got involved with Andrew Thornton's Inspired by Reading Book Club and have enjoyed combining my two worlds:  books and jewelry!
  • Planned and offered two sets of jewelry making classes for teens at the library system where I work.
  • Made my first wholesale order to a Twin Cities shop

In addition to all my jewelry adventures, 2013 has been a year rich in many other ways.  Eric and I did quite a bit of travel going to Kansas City, Oregon, and Tennessee for weddings; Illinois and Alabama to see family and friends; and Duluth for a beer festival.  Eric spent the first half of the year studying hard for his Pediatric Boards which he took (and passed!) in June.  In late summer we were lucky to have visits from our friends Michael and Amy as well as my niece Anna. (While it's great fun to travel we also enjoy showing visitors around our home turf...come visit us!)

Visiting with my family on my niece's birthday.
We have shared many fun adventures, great food, and delicious drink with friends and family this year.  We've made new friends and had the opportunity to reconnect with some of our oldest and dearest as well.

All in all 2013 has been a great year!  I feel so very lucky and blessed.  I'm thankful to all of our friends and family for the support and fellowship that they have shared with me in this year of change and growth.  I'm especially grateful to Eric for all the encouragement, love, and assistance I get from my sweet husband... I couldn't do what I do without him!     

Eric and I at Minnehaha Falls
I'm very excited for what's on the horizon for 2014 and I can't wait to share with you!  Until then, have a wonderful New Year!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

AJE Earring Challenge - Final Reveal

It's time for more earrings!  We're at the end of this year long challenge from Art Jewelry Elements to make one pair of earrings a week that feature artisan components.  I came to the challenge a little later in the year but have immensely enjoyed participating in this ongoing creative challenge.  I think that it has helped me to stretch my creativity and to dig into my hoard of art beads that I've been obsessively "saving."

Of course another side effect has been me buying lots more art beads from talented individuals that I have discovered through the various jewelry related blogs and Facebook groups that I interact with... so I'm guessing that the net effect on my bead stash has probably left me with more beads and charms than I started with.  I suppose that worse things have happened!

This time of year is understandably busy for folks and I'm no exception.  Holiday shopping, wrapping and shipping presents, parties, and connecting with friends have all taken precedence over jewelry making the last few weeks.  This leaves me one short for this last earring reveal but, all things considered, I'm pretty proud of myself for keeping up otherwise.

So I'll leave you with one last pair of earrings that continues my run of holiday themed resin charms from the last reveal.  I had made a pair of subtle spider earrings earlier in the fall (you can seem them in my Etsy shop HERE) and then shared them in the Design Gallery over at Lima Beads (a great online beading supply store with a fabulous community of beaders). From that I got an Etsy conversation that turned into my very first custom order for these earrings!

Christmas Tree Earrings
The customer who bought them from me was just thrilled with them... so much so that she is tempted to keep them for herself instead of giving them to her friend as originally planned.  I call that high praise!

This will be my last post until after the holidays.  I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!  See you all in 2014!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

AJE Earring Challenge - Weeks 47 & 48

I can't believe that this year (and the Art Jewelry Elements Earring Challenge) is almost over!  It's time for another earring reveal and another two pairs of earrings made with artisan made components.

I was going to save these two holiday/seasonal themed pairs until the next reveal (and closer to Christmas) but I've been too busy prepping for my Holiday Open House that's going on this afternoon to get two more pairs done.

I've been playing with resin and holiday scrapbook papers again.  I've really been having a blast (and perhaps making up for lost time) ever since I got the correct sized small circle paper punch!

First up is a little set of snowflakes in silver plated bezels from Nunn Design.  I added little mint alabaster Swarovski crystals dangling on sterling silver headpins and used sterling ear wires accented with more crystal for some winter sparkle.

Week 47: Snowflake Sparkle
My second pair just might be one of my favorite things I've made this season.  I love the combination of the swirling peppermint print paper (it's got a little bit of glitter in there too from the paper) with the swirled red and white lampwork beads from the Spacer Bead Shop.

Week 48: Peppermint Swirls
Well, I'm off to finish getting set up for my sale today.  Maybe these little lovelies will sell...if not I'll get them up in my Etsy shop ASAP!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Buzzing with Happy Bee Jewelry News

This summer when I was selling my jewelry at the Waconia Farmers Market I had the pleasure of meeting Kelley Flanders as he was selling honey next to me.  In chatting with him I learned that he and his wife Debbie were opening a shop in the Linden Hills neighborhood of Minneapolis and that they might be interested in selling some of my bee and honeycomb themed jewelry when they opened.

Things got a little crazy for me (that seems to be a theme in my life lately!) and I was delayed in getting things made for them, but now that fall has set in I've finally been able to follow through and get some new bee jewelry made and take it to the shop.

Look at all that honey!  And that's just one part of the store.

Here are a few of the exclusive designs from me that you will be able to find over at Minnesota Honey Company:

Twin Cities peeps should definitely take some time to buzz on over and check out their fun little shop!  I was just there today and there is a TON of stuff that would make great gifts this holiday season.

Minnesota Honey Company
4956 Xerxes Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55410

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Sj Designs Holiday Open House

In just one week I'll be hosting my second annual Holiday Open House for Sj Designs Jewelry!  I can't believe how fast this year has flown by or how much my business has grown and evolved.  It's thanks in part to many of you that I am where I am and I appreciate the support and encouragement!

If you are interested in shopping for some unique jewelry (for holiday gifts or yourself!) please consider stopping should be a good time and I have lots of great items at a variety of price points.

The sale will be at our home (on the basement/bar level) from 1-6 pm next Sunday, December 8.  We will have beverages (including Eric's homebrew to make it guy friendly) and some snacks too.

If you want to come but don't know our address, please shoot me an email at sjdesignsjewelry[at]gmail[dot]com or leave me a comment here with a way to message you back privately.

Hope to see you then... but for now, it's back to making jewelry for me!