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Monday, June 15, 2015

A New Solution To An Old Problem...

Welcome!

This past little while I have been trying to think of a new solution to an old problem plaguing one of my jewelry essentials: stacking stretch bracelets...

Here are some of the issues I have found with these popular little guys as I have been wearing them for years...everywhere... but especially to the salon where they are exposed to water frequently; the elastic inevitably stretched out farther leaving a not so pretty gap of elastic showing (left photo) and the accent bead I use to hide the glued surgeon's knot looks terrible as the plating wears off (right photo--those used to be a pretty gunmetal color...)
Old Style of Stacking Stretch Bracelets
 I understand I am rougher on my jewelry than the average customer, but things like this bother me and I want my pieces to stand the test of time; years later, it is just as beautiful as the day you purchased it.

So I did some thinking...and came up with a modified version of how I wire wrap my Freshwater Pearl pendants, I had seen a few ladies doing something similar on Instagram and Etsy, so I really took my time figuring out how to make mine in my own unique style. This is what I came up with:
New Style of Stacking Bracelets
 I'm in love!!! Not only are they more durable, the wire has a non-tarnish coating on it so it will never change and they are still flexible making it quite easy to squeeze together to catch the hook onto the loop for closure :)

Now....I have had these gemstone beads that I bought specifically for stretch bracelets for a while now, in three sizes: 8mm, 6mm and 4mm.  Little did I know just how much of a headache they were going to give me as I tried to figure out length measurements for different wrist sizes.... you see the larger beads take up more space on the wrist; meaning I need a much longer length than 6" to fit a 6" wrist comfortably.  

Of course the length adjustment is different for each size of bead...and I'm not a machine so sometimes my free-handed wire wrapping is not exactly perfect each time between each bead...changing the length again...BUT I don't necessarily want it to be perfect...there in lies the beauty of handmade; each piece is unique in its own way :)

So I figured out most of the measurements and found that keeping a group that I'm working on flat on my bead mat helped the process of sizing;
New Stacking Bracelets Laid Flat to Measure
As you can see I have two colors of wire that I am using: the dark gunmetal color (my FAVORITE) for the silver lovers, and the vintage brass for the warm toned metal lovers;
New Gemstone Stacking Bracelets
What about the gemstone chip stretch bracelets you ask??? Well I came up with an idea for those as well; similar technique but just a little bit different as to accommodate the chips;
New Gemstone Chip Stacking Bracelets
I'm currently still working with the round gemstone beads...there are A LOT of them waiting to become new wire wrapped stacking bracelets... when I have had my fill of wrapping those and using most of my inventory I will move onto the chips...if you only knew how many chips I have....

As for availability; I will start photographing the rounds as soon as I have a good amount of variety in stones and various wrist sizes.  I will keep you posted here or on Facebook and Instagram.

As always, I would love your feed back on the new and improved style of stacking bracelets!

Monday, June 1, 2015

It's Been A While...

Welcome!

Well it has definitely been quite a while since I was last on here... between taking new photos of my endless inventory, 3 computer crashes (that's right THREE) and my health not doing very well for a few months, the time has just flown by.

Lots of new things going on this year with my jewelry, but first I want to mention that the monthly giveaway on my Facebook page is going on this week! Just click on the button in the right side bar to pop over and enter...it's the perfect gift for Father's Day... (open to U.S. residents only)

So...those photos I mentioned... here is just an example of how far I've come in a short amount of time;
 
Progression of Listing Photos


  It just amazes me how dark the photos were, how off colored the background was and even how dull the color of the actual jewelry was!

 Here are the old listing photos of my Peyote Stitch Cuffs versus the new ones;
Old Listing Photos
New Listing Photos
 Did I mention I bought myself a frosted acrylic hand display? Best $15 I ever spent!  Well... the new camera and photo light tent are of course up there as well :)

What do you think? They are just so much clearer and crisp on the detail of these tiny little beads, and the whole photo looks "cleaner" to me, more professional.

It took quite some time to photograph my 600+ items (with several photos of each item) then of course the editing (cropping, resizing, color & exposure balancing) but still less time to edit as the photos were significantly better to begin with!  Of course then I had to go in and swap each of the photos of my listings.... having your own business is no small feat that's for sure! :)

I really noticed a difference as well in the Wire Wrapped Freshwater Pearl Necklaces
Old Listing Photos
 
New Listing Photos
 Though the Hand Stamped Cuff Bracelets may have the most noticeable difference....

 
Old Listing Photos

 
New Listings Photos

I'm just so happy with the results!  Of course I still have more to learn and improve on, and each time I retake photos or take photos of new items I think I will continue to improve each time :)

I would love if you would pop over to my Etsy shop (by clicking the button on the right side bar) and take a peek at my new look, come back and let me know what you think! :)

 


Sunday, January 4, 2015

Happy New Year! It's Going To Be A Great One...

Welcome!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year!  I can't believe it's been so long since I've written a blog post!  The time seemed to just fly by!

My first Holiday Season on Etsy was wonderful!  I so enjoyed stamping out personalized pieces for gifts and wrapping up ready to ship pieces such as hammered bangles, feather earrings, chandelier earrings, silk crocheted (necklace/ bracelet/ anklet) wear-alls, silk knotted gemstone chip necklaces and some of my new black chain necklaces with freshwater pearls and the gemstone tassel!!!

So what's in store for 2015?  Well....of course I have more ideas to add to the black chain necklace series...but the biggest thing I think will be my monthly giveaways on my Facebook page!

The first Monday of each month I will be posting a piece of jewelry on Facebook that you can enter to win!  The giveaway will be open to U.S. residents only, and all you will have to do to enter is comment and share the giveaway post!  The winner will be announced on the Friday (of the same week) I will provide my email address and once I hear from you, your item will be packaged up and shipped out ASAP!

I'm also hoping that I will be healthy enough this year to do at least one live craft show where I can bring my jewelry to a new audience!

Maybe the most exciting thing for me is that I got a new camera and a photo light tent/box to use for my photography!  I honestly think it will make a HUGE difference in the quality of my photos so that I can capture the true beauty in every piece.  Not that I know how to use them yet...but I'm looking forward to the adventure that lies ahead :)

Be sure to check in on Facebook this Monday Jan. 5th (tomorrow) for my first giveaway of the year!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Getting Ready For My First Holiday Season On Etsy!

Welcome!

I have been busy preparing for my first holiday season on Etsy the past little while... ordering LOTS of shipping supplies, photographing, editing and listing some more pieces...yes MORE pieces... 

I'm excited to share my long awaited Black Chain Necklaces collection!!!  There are 5 pieces to this collection.  They are beautifully delicate on their own, and perfect for layering together!
 
Black Chain Hand Stamped Initial Necklace 16" length

Black Chain Stamped Bar Necklace 18" length
Black Chain Crystal Bar Necklace 20" length
Black Chain Single Freshwater Pearl Necklace 24" length
Black Chain Gemstone with Tassel Necklace 32" length
Black Chain Layering Necklaces
 What do you think? I have been waiting SO long to make these beauties I am just so excited!!!  Each style of necklace is listed separately if you prefer just a single delicate necklace, but the layering combinations that are possible are just breathtaking to me!  I currently have about 10 of each available: the Crystal Bar, Freshwater Pearl and Gemstone Tassel necklaces are all different colors and stones.  I wanted to make more...but I ran out of chain!!!

Pop on over to my Etsy shop (click on the "Etsy" button in the right hand margin) and you can find them in their very own section "Black Chain Necklaces" and let me know what you think!

So I saved the best news for last....

Starting this Thursday November 20th will be my big HOLIDAY SALE!!!  No coupon code needed, everything will be marked down 20% off!  Sale will run until Monday December 1st (yes that means through Black Friday and Cyber Monday for all my U.S. readers)

I will be posting about the Holiday Sale to Instagram and on my Facebook page...if you happen to be on one of those venues I would so appreciate you sharing and helping me get the word out there!  I have over 600 items now listed and would be so happy, beyond words happy if I could find new homes for my pieces.

Think about gifts for family, friends, co-workers and anyone in your life who deserves a little something special for Christmas.  I have price points to fit all budgets and with the 20% off sale it would be a perfect time to stock up on gifts, even for birthdays coming up!

Of course I won't stop making and creating, but may hold off listing more pieces until some of what I have are off to their new owners :)

I'm so excited and looking forward to the next few weeks, I hope you find something as unique as you are! Or...as cool as the person you're shopping for!   :)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

By No Means Am I A Photographer....

Welcome!

What have I been up to the past few weeks you ask?  Trying my best to be a photographer...

So as I was checking my shop stats on my iPhone one day I noticed some photos of listings that had been viewed looked a bit strange...

I guess because each device displays colors differently it was really obvious to me all of a sudden... some photos were quite dark while others seemed to have a pinkish hue to the background...

I have no idea why, I take all my photos against white background, even added a spot light lamp to brighten things up a bit...let me show you what I'm talking about:

Bangles Photo Comparison
 HOW did I not see this before????? I use pic monkey for editing my photos to the proper size dimensions but I always worry about being true to the color of the pearls, gemstones, feathers etc. but I mean, come on!!! The photos on the left are completely pinkish in the background!!!  I went back and adjusted the "temperature" but then they look a bit blue so I added "brightness" and SO much better!  I think the color of the pearls is still very true to in person and look much better than what I had before!

There is so much to learn with running a shop on Etsy...

So I was curious... were my other photos this bad?....
Pendants Photo Comparison
 Yup, kinda pink and dark...oh but it gets worse...
Feather Earrings Photo Comparison
 EEEEEEEEEKKKKKK!!!!!!! So devastated when I saw how bad they were, I was in utter disbelief that I somehow thought they looked good.... thank you little iPhone...you really saved me!

So that is what I have been doing for the entire two weeks... going through all 600+ items in my shop, section by section, re-editing photos then re-editing each listing one at a time to upload the better photo...did I mention there are 4 photos per item???

On my wish list is a new camera (I'm still using my Kodak easy share that I bought 7 years ago) and also maybe a light box...I have seen lots of do-it-yourself instructions on how to make one...but with my luck it will make my pictures even more pink!  I just need to find one that is tall enough to fit my mannequin bust inside for my necklaces.  I think it's important to show the length and how they fall when worn, not everyone does it but I would like to continue to do so.  

Apparently photographing on a white background is the most difficult, unless you are a professional, but I will give it another shot once I get a proper light box, if all else fails I may go with a light grey fabric as my backdrop, trying to keep with my Litva's brand colors, I just don't want to distract from the beautiful little subjects I am trying to capture...If I've learned one thing through all this it is that I love to make jewelry, but by no means am I a photographer!  :)


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Preparing For My First Holiday Season On Etsy...

Welcome!

So...I did not get accepted for the Etsy wholesale... a little disappointed but I suppose it just wasn't meant to be for now.  I'm hoping that means something better will happen...like an amazing first holiday season on Etsy!

I have been working on photos of my wire wrapped freshwater pearl pendants, and with the big gold trend going on I made some in gold wire also.  I was saving them as draft listings to publish closer to the end of October (hoping to be seen by shoppers looking for Christmas gifts) but on one of the listings I accidentally hit publish!  So I decided to have a few of them go live and be available right away.
Wire Wrapped Freshwater Pearl Pendants
 I have to say I love these pendants! They are so simple, classic and elegant.  And my little joke about pendants is that "they make perfect gifts...no sizing needed" and it's true!  Most everyone has a silver or gold chain that they love to wear, and this is such a beautiful pendant that will never go out of style.

You know... let me touch on that for a minute... if you have been reading my blog for a while, seen my Instagram, Facebook page or my Etsy shop, you may have noticed I don't really follow the "trends".... I tend to just make what I receive inspiration for and what I find beautiful...if there is a big popular trend going on that I don't foresee going away anytime soon, I try to adapt it to my style of creating, to make it my own in some way.  There are a few ideas that I have that I still have to hold off on due to the cost of supplies, but I look forward to when I can make these ideas come to life, maybe after the holidays if all goes well!

Back to what I wanted to add to my shop...

I made these thick gold chain and leather double wrap bracelets a bit ago but I never listed them in my ArtFire shop and have been looking so forward to listing them on Etsy!  I just photographed them today and will be working on listings now, as well as I decided to make some rhinestone single leather wrap bracelets with my metallic white leather that I had tons of!  The white and what I have left of the black leather versions will also be listed in the next few weeks, but here is a sneak peak!
Preciosa Rhinestone Single Wrap Leather Bracelets and Thick Gold Chain With Leather Double Wrap Bracelets
 As I'm sure you have already figured out red is my favorite color so I used the red versions of the double wrap bracelets to show here, but they do also come in other fun colors as well as neutral tones!

My rhinestone single wraps are beautiful on their own as a delicate bracelet but also pair well with other bracelets for stacking, mixing and matching!  I had quite a bit of the smaller 2mm chain that I used with the black leather previously, so I went ahead and made white leather versions of them.  I loved these so much and knew I would make more so I had ordered more rhinestone cup chain a while ago...I didn't even realize that this was a larger 4mm size (they are the left stack in the photo)....quite a bit more bling!  But I have to say I love them both!

I hope you will visit my Etsy shop and take a browse though while checking off your Christmas lists (it's never too early to start) and don't forget about yourself!  If you haven't been over already, I would appreciate some feedback on what you think of my new space, you can leave me a comment here or on my Facebook page, whichever is easier! 

Now off to work on those listings...  :)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Wholesale Dreams....

Welcome!

As in my last post I continue to feel that Etsy is amazing! (including today I am now at order #26 - some have had multiple items so it comes to 28 sales!!!)  I have signed up for their success newsletters and there is a plethora of information that they want to share with you, I just think it's fabulous!  They are so helpful and the forums are amazing as well for asking questions, there are so many people (staff AND other Etsy sellers) ready and willing to help you out in any way they can! Of course I want to learn...I want my shop and business to succeed!

So in one of the spotlight stories they did about a certain shop there was this link that read "Etsy wholesale" and I was like hmmmm......so I clicked on it and the ideas just started bouncing around in my head....

It is a completely different way to have your items available to  boutique owners who are looking to carry handmade goods in their boutique...hammered bangle bracelets....hmmmm....
Copper Hammered Bangle Bracelets with Freshwater Pearls
 So I continued reading; policies, took a wholesale survey (I did really well) and read all the help sections available....then on Friday I decided to apply!

You have to be accepted to join as a seller and they look at everything from your photos to reviews to how cohesive your brand is.... I know my photos are not perfect but they are the best I can do right now with the tools I have available to me at the moment, I hope that doesn't work against me.  

I am a bit nervous because they do tell you they are accepting sellers with wholesale experience first, and I haven't had the opportunity to set anything like that up with my health preventing me the past few years.  Maybe they will like what they see, and have buyers that they think would be interested in my products...I will know within 5 business days....

This.....
Wire Wrapped Freshwater Pearls waiting to be Hammered Bangle Bracelets
 This is what I do in my spare time...not that I have any orders for bangles, but I have the supplies (since I buy everything in bulk) just waiting there, begging me to make something out of them....

I won't lie...I guess the excitement of the possibility of being accepted led my subconscious to create the worst possible scenario....I had an Etsy wholesale nightmare...I saw I had 4 purchase orders and was so excited, but when I opened the first order (to see what they had ordered) the quantity said 841...whoa...then I look at the item and it was this strange looking burgundy colored bottle opener shaped like a boxing glove with a high heeled purple shoe charm dangling from it....in the dream I asked my husband if he remembers me making something like this in the past because I didn't, then I was so worried how I would tell the buyer that there had been some sort of mistake and this wasn't an item I offered.....

So I guess I am a little anxious...but we'll just wait and see what happens.  If it is meant to be, then that will be a wonderfully exciting way to have my jewelry across the country available to so many more people, and hopefully build some recognition of my brand.  Also I will most likely not have to worry about doing live craft fairs, prepping, paying fees, hoping the weather cooperates etc. and would just continue to have my Etsy retail shop along with the Etsy wholesale availability.  The connecting with customers has been wonderful and I am enjoying it so much that I wouldn't want to stop!

 If God decides it isn't the right time, then I'm OK with that too, but I will keep making pieces in my spare time, building up inventory and I will apply again! 

I will let you know what happens in my next post regardless of the outcome :)