Sunday, December 2, 2007

My Helping Bear

Bear, known affectionately in our house as Bubba-because he is one, was helping me yesterday as I sorted jewelry and packed it away for our upcoming show.
Hiding in small places is one of his few cat like behaviors.
This is my jewelry case and is supposed to be full of 14 of those trays you see stacked next to it, not full of cat. He thinks he is being stealthy, while he looks for treasure.
You see Bubba is a cat "burglar". He loves sparkly things, especially if they jingle. He steals jewelry, keys, and assorted small toys. Shiny paper and cellophane are not safe from him. The sound of a bead dropping to the hard wood floor will bring him running from 3 rooms away. Don't even think of leaving a twist tie on the counter.
He is currently lying under the Christmas tree trying to figure out how to take an ornament without our noticing. This is not likely. The tree is fastened to the living room wall because one of his previous escapades resulted in a Christmas tree crashing to the floor in the wee, small hours of the morning. Grace is not one of his attributes.
I told you he was a Bubba.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Special Orders

I have discovered that one of the most delightful processes in the jewelry business is working with a client to create a piece that is not only one of a kind, but specifically designed for the individual.

The two pieces that I finished this week were both collaborations of this kind. The first was a for a wonderful woman who wanted to have something to honor her beloved Golden Retriever. She requested a dark blue stone to represent the night sky, a silver charm of a golden retriever, a shooting star and a green heart.

I found a dark blue crescent shaped agate slice, and wrapped it in sterling silver wire and beads, attaching the golden retriever charm to the bottom of the moon. The shooting star was hand cut out of silver sheet and the green heart dangle is a beautiful green with AB finish for extra shine. The whole piece was antiqued for more of a night time look and then tumble polished for a few hours to bring back some shine. It is presented on a bar pin as she already has a chain for the piece.

The second special order is for a friend of my daughters who wanted a pendant on a chain for his wife, a woman that loves purple and prefers gold wire. I searched through my treasure boxes of beads and found these rainbow fluorite leaves, amethyst rounds, moonstone rounds and peridot chips. It has been left shiny gold and placed on a necklace of gold chain and amethyst beads for additional drama. I am pleased with the way it turned out and hope that the recipient will be too. Earrings to match the pendant were necessary of course!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Holy Cow! You won't believe it, if our friends could see us now.

The FamiLee Jewels were proud to spend today, Black Friday, in our remodeled and totally terrific storefront At The Warehouse in Albany New York.
We have made the most of our 10 foot by 6 foot space. It even has a fireplace mantel!
Fred has used his carpentry and electrical skills to make us a beautiful warehouse home. We have a counter top showcase, re purposed shelves a jewelry armoire and even a Christmas tree. Our tree has the shiniest ornaments ever.
We are featuring our newest artisan jeweler KT Rose. Her earrings are as unique as her personality and we are proud to show her work.
We invite you all to come and see The FamiLee Jewels At The Warehouse 20 Learned Street Albany New York, Saturdays 9-3 and Sundays 10-3.
Remember during the month of November
The FamiLee Jewels will donate 20% of
the purchase price of any jewelry
containing the color pink
to The American Cancer Society's Relay For Life.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Halloween At The Warehouse

It's a month late but I just remembered these great pictures that we took At The Warehouse in Albany New York the weekend before Halloween.
We were visited by pirates and princesses, The Blues Brothers and Little Red Riding Hood and The Big Bad Wolf.

We saw witches, a motorcycle racer, and busy bees selling Albany Honey.

There was even a flirtatious Catholic School girl. Our visitors enjoyed arts and crafts, got their faces painted and collected treats from all of the vendors.

Mark Davenport was entertaining us with his wonderful tunes and even sang Hey There Little Red Riding Hood for Cydne.

It was another great day At The Warehouse.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

More work on the storefront

Fred and I spent the afternoon working on The FamiLee Jewels storefront At The Warehouse today. We wanted to get a few things completed before everyone comes in to see us for the Holidays. You will be amazed at what we have done to our little 10 foot by 6 foot space. Today's project was hanging shelves so that we could give back the furniture pieces that we appropriated from Fred and Camille's Warehouse supply. We made the shelves from an old dining room table that had been in our basement for 20 years. I folded clothes on it until Becky took it for a craft table. She just found something better (At The Warehouse) so the old table was headed for the trash. We cut the tabletop to make the shelves and used the legs for the shelf brackets. I love the fact that we re purposed and recycled all at the same time.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and we have a lot to be Thankful for this year.
We are Thankful that Fred had his 5 year checkup in June and is now considered cancer free. We will continue to work with the American Cancer Society through Relay and Advocacy to find a cure.
We are Thankful for our beautiful Freddy J who was born in July. He has become a reason to wake up with a smile every day.
We are Thankful for old friends, new friends, close family and times spent together.
We are Thankful for Fred and Camille who's vision and hard work are making At The Warehouse a success, giving us a place to pursue our dream of an Artisan Jewelry Business.
Everyone have a great holiday. Enjoy your Turkey. Watch the parade. Marvel at some holiday lights. Travel Safe and remember to be greatful for the blessings in your life

Sunday, November 11, 2007

An Unexpected Journey

Who knew what a journey would begin with one class. In January of 2006 I took a basic beading class to help me get through the winter blues. Depression had been a struggle for me and winter was making me want to hibernate. The class seemed like a really good idea--- a nice craft, a hobby to keep me busy, and a way to beat Seasonal Affective Disorder.
The class was very basic, and a lot of fun so I called my mom Ella, daughter Becky, and sister in law Nancy and invited them to join me for the next class.
We were hooked! We visited the local big box craft stores. We found a few local bead shops. We made a road trip to Springfield Massachusetts to attend a gem and mineral show. We checked out every bead and jewelry book that the local libraries possessed, subscribed to all the bead magazines we could find, and scoured the Internet for sources and patterns and instructions. I ordered from instructional DVDs and we all watched them and practiced new techniques.
Bead night started every Monday night around the dining room table. What did you make this week? Will you teach me that? That would go great with these beads. Try this! We were obsessed, and our volume of jewelry was growing, and growing and growing.
We decided to try our luck at an artisan street show called Art on Lark in June of 2006, and at the Jazz Festival in July, and in Saratoga in August. We were a hit. Sales were profitable but better yet we received the affirmation that what we had produced was good.
The FamiLee Jewels was born. We booked more shows, started a website, and opened an ETSY store. We booked home parties, did fundraisers, took orders for custom work, and started to teach our own classes.
Wait a minute......this is supposed to be a nice little hobby to get me through the winter! I am a nurse for crying out loud, not a salesperson! I don't know a thing about marketing!
But I am learning. Thank goodness for those that have gone before and are willing to share their knowledge.
Our latest and greatest venture is to open a weekend store front At The Warehouse in Albany, New York. Stay tuned as the saga continues with news of our Grand Opening.