September 04, 2012

The winners have been chosen!

EIGHT gift certificates winners chosen only from our email list are being notified today! (I love the nerdy Excel spreadsheet / selection process it involves.) Be sure to carefully check your email to see if you have won!

Not on the email list? Why not?! Click here to add yourself to our email list and be entered to win one of the twelve $30 gift certificates we give away throughout the year! We only send emails a few times a year so you only get the good stuff - fun new product news, craft show happenings, and great deals we offer from time to time on our website.

September 02, 2012

Chicago here we come!

We're baaa-aaack!!! It's that time of the year for our favorite show, the Renegade Craft Fair - the original Chicago indie craft fair! It's this weekend, September 8 + 9 on Saturday and Sunday in Wicker Park. We're in booth #92, right next to our friends from Rinse Bath & Body. It will be our 6th year participating, and we just thank our lucky stars that they let us come back year after year. We're rolling out some new displays that we can't wait to share! There will be dark wood. There will be neon. There will be some cute stickers as part of our new craft show packaging...

these have been ordered - I can't wait to see them!
We can't wait! Greg & I will coming up a day early thanks to the help from both of our mothers who will each be taking a child for the long weekend. Any Chicagoans out there who have any must-sees or must-dos in Chicago on a Friday? We don't often get an entire day together where we aren't working or child free, so even sitting on a bench all day sounds like a party!

For more info about Renegade, click here.

August 28, 2012


Works in progress.
Recently I've been trying to get a custom finding made for my jewelry. It's really a simple piece, but I'm having a very hard time finding someone who will make it for me. Cue the frustration.

In my many google searches for a manufacturer, I stumbled upon a company that will hand make your jewelry designs for you. They specialize in helping you keep your designs handmade in the U.S. when you are overwhelmed and can't keep up with orders.

And I thought to myself "How cool! They get to make jewelry for people - that is awesome!"....

Um, wait.  That's what I do. 

How ridiculous is it that I had gotten so bogged down in all of the little details of my business like paperwork, ordering supplies, answering emails, etc etc etc, that I had forgotten such a simple idea about what I do - that it's fun and I think it's pretty cool (even subconsciously!).  I get paid to make jewelry. I employ two lovely ladies to help me make jewelry. What I do is pretty cool and fun. I'm providing work for cool people, too.  Why do I forget that so easily?

Hammering away in my kitchen before I moved to a studio out of the house.
I guess the answer is just as simple - I do a lot of hard things, too.  I make Excel spreadsheets to figure out cost and pricing. I have to calculate how long it takes me to make jewelry so that I can properly schedule weeks of production in advance.  I have to budget properly to pay for my supplies (especially difficult as I get into bigger and bigger orders), and make sure I have the supplies on hand needed to make each order when it's time. I have to write paychecks and pay payroll taxes, business taxes, and sales taxes in multiple states. I have to answer emails daily asking me to make business decisions - big and small.

"Hire our PR Agency to market you!" $1400 a month!?!? is it worth it??
"Do our fabulous show!" will I make a profit??
"Let us redesign your website!" I'd love to, but it's expensive!
"Donate to our auction!" this one is hard because I get asked so often, I try to limit it to only Tennessee auctions but there are so many worthwhile causes...
"Participate in our Flash Sale Site!" not sure that is a beneficial business model for me.
"Do you drop ship?" no but should I?

That's just a small sampling of daily decision making. It makes my brain hurt. When I get home from my studio, I'm totally exhausted. And then I have to give a two year old a bath and coerce her into bed. I'm tired just thinking about it.

But I did get paid to make some jewelry that day, dammit.  I need to start focusing on the fun a little bit more, and take deep breaths and walk away when I am getting overwhelmed with the paperwork stuff. I need to remind myself that hey, I'm going to Renegade Chicago for the 6th year in a row! Kick ass!  I'm in the Uncommon Goods catalog - rock on! I have an awesome employee who helps me - thank God! I sold to Anthropologie last year - nice! I have a studio I can decorate any way I want - sweet! I sell to lots and lots of customers and fabulous boutiques who like my jewelry and reorder it, too - how amazing is that?

How lucky am I that I get to make pretty things all day?

Yep, that's gotta be my new mantra. Starting now.

August 24, 2012

Three Months Later

Well, I did it. I have a baby boy who is three months old now, and I've been back at work for over two of those months.

This is me, right before heading to the hospital. I was ready to lighten my load!
Am I the crying, miserable mess I predicted I would be? Am I taking care of my baby out of obligation rather than love like I felt with my first?

The answer is a resounding NO! How wrong I was! (thank goodness!)

My little munchkin is sweet and adorable and so easy and I am in love with him! Is it his personality? Is it the fact that this isn't my first time around the newborn block? Maybe a little bit of both... this boy never cries unless he's hungry or tired - easy enough. He smiles all the time. Even my daughter hasn't been too annoyed with him, which is amazing because I hear that two year olds and newborn siblings don't usually get along.

3am feeding and I'm cool with that.
My insane timetable of getting back to work in 3 weeks actually wasn't too bad.  It was only hard because oddly enough, I wanted to be home with my little family of four instead of work work work like crazy which is my usual preference. Another drawback was that my body was a little beat up from delivering a 9 pound 3 ounce baby. You read that right. Ouch. In the delivery room when he came out, the nurse proclaimed "You had a 6 month old!"

What a difference between these two children of mine! Even though my first was such a bumpy ride, I'm so glad I had the experience of both types of babies. Now I can commiserate with those who have the difficult baby and high five the parents with the easy baby. I understand cry it out and I understand some babies just go to sleep without crying and without fuss. Every baby is different. I get it.

In the middle of all this becoming-a-mother-of-two business, Uncommon Goods sent out a catalog featuring my very own Love necklace - designed when I was pregnant with my first! How apropos. :) I also designed an exclusive bracelet and earrings for them - perfect to give to that tired new mommy in your life. Go check it out!

May 04, 2012


In preparation for my upcoming time off (baby arrives any day now!), I've been making jewelry like there is no tomorrow! We have shipped a whopping 72 wholesale packages since the beginning of March - I have no data to back this up, but I'm pretty sure that's a Freshie & Zero record. I am so excited that we were able to fill all the orders I had promised, so that now I can take a couple of days off and rest up, since I'm going to be short on quality sleep very soon!

Another reason I'm glad we got our orders out when we did: in the last few days my hands have been getting swollen and stiff from being 39 weeks pregnant and that makes jewelry making a bit difficult!  I've been asked what my timeline is for shipping right now and basically, I am going to be able to ship small orders or partial orders after June 1st to my retailers.  I will open my website again probably after June 10th or so for retail orders.  I will have my lovely assistant in the studio taking care of day to day operations, so we won't be shut down completely, but even a workaholic like myself has to take a break when there's an infant to take care of. :)

We will also be returning to the American Artisan Festival in Nashville on Father's Day Weekend; June 15-17 so if you're in town and have any requests for jewelry you hope I have at the show, please let me know. After the festival is over, we'll be 100% up and running again, and getting ready for our next show - the Atlanta Gift Market in July! Whew! I'm exhausted just thinking about the next few months!

And now I must get back to resting my puffy feet and drinking ice water. It's unseasonably hot in Nashville right now!!

March 09, 2012

9 weeks to go...

I have nine weeks to go until my life changes forever. My second child is going to be here very soon...

Here I am about 29 weeks pregnant.
Some mothers will tell you they have "baby amnesia" where they forgot all about the hard parts of caring for a newborn and how much they fell in love with their baby instantly. They barely remember the lack of sleep and the total upheaval of their day to day routine. These mothers embrace the new normal of caring for a human being that can pretty much do nothing but depend on you for every single need and give you nothing in return but a poopy diaper and some spit up on your clothing. They just loved being a mother, right from the start.

I am not that mother.

I remember everything - all the terribly, terribly hard parts of being a new mother.  I have not forgotten how miserable I was, how I had no idea how to care for a baby, how horrible breastfeeding was going, how little sleep I had, how emotional I was, how much I just cried, all the time.  How my baby didn't smile at me for 2 months and how all I wanted was to just give her back to whoever deemed me fit to be a mother.  I did not fall in love at the sight of her. In fact, I didn't even like her very much.  I kept waiting for that moment to happen where I would feel like "a mother" and I would fall in love with my baby like all the parenting magazines told me I would.  I would tell her I loved her but the words sounded empty and meaningless to me. I was waiting for that magical starry eyed moment that never came.

I honestly don't know when I actually felt honest to goodness love towards my daughter, but it took much longer than I anticipated.

Luckily, it did happen. I do love her and I really like her, too. At 22 months, she's cute, friendly, and charming and she says "hi" to everyone we pass in the grocery store. She likes to push our laundry basket around the house and fill it up with magazines, toys, and whatever she can swipe from our recycling.  She has lengthy conversations with herself and of course, she loves jewelry.  She even calls Zero's collar a "neckwace".  She's cute, I tell you.

Baby girl loves a good skirt, a good bag, a phone, and some sparkly shoes.
Reflecting back on those first 6 (?) months, and even now how our lives are so totally different and more challenging with the ongoing task of the complete and utter care of a small child, I am questioning my sanity a bit for starting all over again.  My husband and I decided we really wanted her to have a sibling, and neither of us ever thought we would have just one (although two is the damn limit).  We tell ourselves "They'll play together!" and "It will be easier in the long run!" We know it will be tough for a while but we know it will end and instead of a needy baby we'll have an opinionated toddler, which is more challenging in so many ways but at least she can giggle and play and say "gooood mooourning mommy".

For 9 more weeks I can remain somewhat optimistic. When the baby actually enters our world, I'll reach for the tissues and remind myself that things will calm down... eventually.... like when they're married. But at least I won't be pregnant anymore and can pour myself all the liquid therapy I need...

February 26, 2012

I'm in a TV commercial!

Okay, not really, but one of my necklaces is! Observe:

That's the Antique Stone Necklace!

I just happened to be watching t.v. at my parent's house on Saturday, who just happen to have HD cable and a DVR. They were watching Kentucky play Vanderbilt, during which there happened to be an Applebee's commercial, and I just happened to look up at the right time and see one of the actresses had on my necklace! Did I mention I also just happened to be playing with my toddler at the time, and the necklace has all of about 3 seconds of air time? Through all that distraction and happenstance (there is no HD or DVR awesomeness happening at my house, and I doubt I could have confirmed it without the hd clarity), I saw it, started emitting excitable utterances, my parents rewound it and I confirmed it - yes! That is my necklace! SO COOL.

Later during halftime, we spent copious amounts of time rewinding, pausing, photographing the screen, rewinding, pausing, photographing the screen, etc.

Even if Applebee's may not be my favorite restaurant (okay I'll admit it, I haven't eaten there in probably 10 years - I tend to stay away from restaurants whose most exotic beer is Samuel Adams), but hey - someone chose to put that necklace on camera to a national tv audience. Applebee's now has a special place in my heart, even if I still probably won't be visiting anytime soon. Here is the commercial:

I wonder if it was the actresses or the stylists? I wonder where they purchased it? Will there be a Freshie & Zero/Applebee's collaboration in the future? French fries in organic geometric shapes? Better beer? Hmm.... probably not.

February 22, 2012

Trunk Show at Bella Vita

I recently participated in a trunk show in Collierville, TN (it's right next to Memphis) at one of my favorite retailers, Bella Vita! The owner, Stephanie, is so creative and crafty, plus she really has an eye for interesting products and then works wonders displaying them all together! She and her lovely sales associates were so sweet and fun to spend a Saturday with. You can also tell their customers really enjoy their time there - many loyal customers were greeted with smiles and hugs!

Stephanie also has an adorable baby store next door, Itty Bitty Bella ... let's just say my little ones scored some super cute new duds!

Here are some photos I took of her shop & my trunk show setup. First of all, look at this lovely postcard they designed and sent out to their customers:

So cute, right?
Since it was right before Valentine's Day, I brought lots of heart necklaces and they were a big hit!
My jewelry was displayed on vintage crates and suitcases, frames and benches. Look at the mason jar lighting over the table! Stephanie's mom made those! And they're hanging from an old baby crib spring mattress. So. Clever.
Another fabulous DIY light fixture Stephanie and her crafty family made - it's a chicken coop! They wired the top shut and added a light bulb. Her store was full of them and it looked extremely rustic chic.
I don't do trunk shows often (maybe once every two years?), but after this fun adventure I may be open to more... after my second baby is born and things settle down of course. Wait, do things ever settle down when you have two very small children?

February 08, 2012


I got an iPhone for Christmas, so I can now officially call myself an iHole. But luckily, I don't say things like "You're just kidding yourself that Android is better than iPhone" (I'm looking at you, Beth Howard!) because really, they're just different. I loved my Android but there just wasn't a great new Android phone on Sprint that suited what I was looking for.  So my hubs got me one for Christmas using his "new to you" program discount.

That's love, people.

There are definitely things that I miss about Android, but there is one program that makes up for it. It's Instagram, of course! I knew I would love it from all of the cool pictures my friends had been posting, and I was right. It's so fun to use and I love checking into my friend's feeds and seeing what they're up to.  For some reason, you can't look at these things online through Instagram's website (what's up with that?), but there is this other cool website called Statigram were you can view all the lovely photos on your computer like so:

Then throw in more fun apps like Diptic and PhotoStudio to edit your photos, and voila! I have found a new time suck.  Just what I needed...

This is inside the Nashville airport

Zero, with his standard "read my mind" face

Eddie's Attic in Decatur, GA 

 My daughter & Zero look out the window. Cute, right?

SO fun. Do any of you peeps out there know of any other awesome Instagram related programs or websites I should know about?

January 31, 2012


Are you hooked on Pinterest yet? I go in and out of phases, mostly when I have a project I'm working on to distract me from actual work.  Last spring when I was looking for a studio, I was pinning anything and everything to help me decorate this imaginary amazing place:

Of course, then I moved into a boring office space with grey carpet, fluorescent lighting, and a drop ceiling.  I moved in quickly, and I didn't even paint the boring white walls. It doesn't have beautiful hardwood floors or cool brick exposed walls, but it's very safe and I call it home.  I started a paper plane garland across the ceiling, and after months of them sitting in a box, I finally finished hanging one of them (there will be three, dammit).  I am also planning on painting a chalkboard wall in the next few weeks, though. It will be Pinterest worthy, people.  I hope...

About the same time as all the studio dreaming, I was obsessing over stylish baby girl clothing that I mostly couldn't afford. That was fun as it only involved making purchases and not actually following through with making actual clothing which is good since I can't sew...

Then I got very, very busy. I didn't go on Pinterest for months. I didn't waste hours scrolling through fun and inspiring pin boards. Don't tell the cool kids, but I kind of forgot about it. But for some reason, I got back on the wagon this year (or is it off the wagon? I always get confused which is which) and started pinning again. And it's So. Fun.

It makes me want to create things again. Things that I am not planning on selling. Things to decorate my house and my children's rooms with.  Art projects to do and paint chips to recycle for alternative uses!  Pinterest has no shortage of adorable DIY inspirations, and just to add a little performance pressure, they are very well photographed:

Such cute stuff.  I hope I have time to do at least one of these little craft projects...

In addition to all the fun, Pinterest is also being touted as a great way to promote products and drive traffic to your website. Even Real Simple magazine thinks so. If I had time to look at my Google analytics, I could see if this is true for me, too.

Then there's the nagging question, How does Pinterest make any money? Here's an interesting article about the founder that basically says it doesn't... yet. It's been valued at $200 million, but it doesn't actually generate revenue. Wow.

So what about you? Are you staying up late on Pinterest, too?

January 24, 2012

Winter Trade Shows - Accomplished!

We just did two wholesale shows back to back and it has been a whirlwind to say the least. We did Atlanta Gift, which was awesome, amazing, couldn't have been better! Lots of orders, loads of new accounts, good times! We stayed with wonderful friends, which equaled a more comfortable stay and we saved money to boot. We ate dinner with many of our favorite people who we don't see enough and we also got to feel a bit like our pre-parent-selves - going out every night without paying a sitter or waking in the middle of the night to soothe a toddler having a bad dream. Ahhh... 
Snapshots of Atlanta Gift

And then we did ACRE Orlando which was... disappointing. It wasn't dismal, but I heard from many talented artists who didn't even write a single order. That makes me sad. We did have some yummy dinners (Cafe Tu Tu Tango, anyone?) and got to visit with Greg's parents who were en route from Miami to Norfolk so that was nice. And hey, it was 70-80 degrees there. I got to wear tank tops and eat ice cream outside at night. Who am I to complain, really?

Scenes from Orlando, Florida

Anyhoo, I'm excited to have opened many new accounts and there are some exciting things on the horizon that hopefully will come to fruition as a result of all this hard work. Do I sound vague? Sorry - I don't want to jinx anything!

In the meantime, I'm on the hunt for a new assistant. It will be hard to replace my last one - she was FABulous but alas, she was so fabulous that someone else snagged her for a full time position. I cried when she told me (not in front of her - I am a professional!), but then I had to get through the Christmas rush with very limited help. And THEN I had wholesale shows to prepare for, and THEN I was out of town for 10 days! Seriously, I don't know how I haven't ended up rocking in the corner in a padded room somewhere. Running your own business is NOT for the faint of heart!

But when I walked outside in sunny, warm, Orlando and drove around with the windows down, it made everything seem okay...