Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Location! Location! Location!

Yup... we had a new spot last week - next to Jim from Rosehill Plantery. SO... we bought a BEAUTIFUL plant (or two).

Next week they're moving us again - - - - next to the barbeque guy. I'm sure that next week we'll be telling you about the great pulled pork - or something "barbeque". I mean really... we have to support our fellow vendors. Community and all that. Riiiiiight?

When they put us next to Mona's Munchies or Yummy Tummy... we're in trouble!!!!

Oh! Life is good!

Monday, July 27, 2009

They Moved Us at the Market

We have been setting up our wares at the Italian Farm Market now for four weeks. We had a great spot in the shade in the corner and it was great. But then vendors around us didn't show up and two weeks in a row we were stuck in that corner 50 feet from the other vendors.

So this week they moved us down by the Amish Farmer and by Jim, from Rosehill Plantery. Well put us next to a guy that has beautiful hanging baskets and of course we had to consider buying something. It is mid-season for him so prices were as unbelievable as was the quality of the baskets. We had to have something to hang, so we got a couple.

You can see how they look in the picture above. I was sure that I would remember what each basket was, so I didn't write down the names of the plants. Of course, now I can't remember and have no idea what they are, but they are pretty.

Regardless of what they are, they're very pretty and Jane and I like them very much. She says that the plastic hangers will drive her crazy so we stopped and got some twine so that she can make some hangers for them.

Either way, the colors are great and they add a nice touch to the front of the house.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thank you very mulch!

It's not everyone who can get excited enough about dirt to write about it, but I can! It looks soooooooooooo good!!!

We have a ranch, one-story house, so it seems like the beds in front (and on the sides) of the house are endless. Getting the beds to look the way we want them to look is a never-ending process and we're certainly not there yet, but it gets better every time.

My youngest son, Scott, has a friend (Ryan) who has always loved all things green - and so he started a landscaping business a couple of years ago. He's knowledgeable, reliable and a really nice guy, so we called Ryan and he's been slowly but surely getting us into shape.

One of our Azaleas died this year and so he took that out. The one next to it isn't much better, but Ryan suggested that we keep it for this year and replace it next spring. Sounds like a plan to me.

The Rhododendrum in front of the window is gorgeous! It's gotten a little high, but it's getting buds for next year, so we'll trim it next spring after it blooms.

Two years ago, Ryan planted a Dogwood tree on the corner and it's doing well. It's soooooo pretty in the spring when it blooms!!!

We look great in the spring with the Rhodie, the Dogwood, the Azalea, some Coreopsis and some really pretty Spirarea BUT this time of year, it's borrrrrrrrrring! We need some summer color. The side yard has more color than the front. We could always do some annuals, but I'd love to find some flowering bushes maybe that would give us color all summer. Any ideas, anyone?????

The photo below of the Daylily is a typical "Michael picture" - beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! I could spend all day looking at the pictures he takes.

So! If you have any ideas or suggestions about how we can add some color, please let us know!

Have a fantastic Friday!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Public Enemies

It's Tuesday - $1 popcorn day - so Michael and I HAD to go to the movies this afternoon. We've been thinking about seeing "Public Enemies" for a couple of weeks, but the running time of 2 hrs. and 23 minutes was a bit of a put-off.

In the end, we decided that we couldn't let a Johnny Depp movie disappear from the theater without seeing it, so we went. (I already said that, didn't I?)

Johnny Depp was terrific, as usual. (I'm a fan.) He certainly made Dillinger human, which for me was a mixed blessing. I was kind of hoping that the makers of this film would take some liberties and make it a happy ending. That didn't happen. Not even close. In the end, history won out (was there ever a contest???). This was definitely not a "feel good" movie! (And not all of the bad guys were gangsters!)

I seriously considered leaving 5 minutes early to avoid the end. Instead I opted for the "cover your eyes" style of movie watching. It was only semi-successful - didn't change the end at all, but I avoided watching it, which worked for me.

My one regret is that I didn't get to see the blonde guy with the scrunched up mouth who "took care" of Billie, "get it"! Now, I'm a gentle soul, by nature, but with all of the bullets flying, it's a shame one didn't get that guy! (She said, sweetly)

Loved the "Pirates" movies, "Finding Neverland", "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"; the whole list - and my favorite, "Chocolat". If it has Johnny Depp in it, I'm there. So, it's not surprising that I'm recommending "Public Enemies", too.

Go see it.

But don't watch the end.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Storage - moving forward...

Okay.. so we've talked about all kinds of storage solutions. We decided to buy some tubes from SKS for gemstones and glass. WELL! I LOVE them!!!!!

The small ones are 4" tall and the large ones are 6" tall. The ones in the picture are the 6" tubes. We intend to use the hanging tabs at the top to... well... hang them. The plan is to get a piece (or 2 or 3 or... ) of pegboard and hang them on the pegboard.

Michael says we should probably paint the pegboard white so that the colors of the beads are clear. The picture below is of some 10mm Czech crystals. Michael's first picture was on a white background, but you couldn't see the tabs, so this one is on a pale blue background.

I got out my new tubes and my trusty label maker and had a great time! When I get new beads, I'm going to label each tube with the name of the gemstone, glass, or crystal- the size - where we got it - and how much they cost.

I can't tell you how many times I come home from a bead show and I know what the beads are when I get home and how much I paid, but 3 months later? Good luck! I have an idea, but I'm sure that sometimes I'm WAY off!

Using beads BT (before tubes) led to beads EVERYWHERE. I'd take what beads I thought I needed and go "play". I'd have 3 or 4 beads left when I was finished and I'd put those beads in a small plastic box or in a small bag. Before I knew it, I had bags and boxes of small amounts of beads EVERYWHERE. They never seemed to get back into the original storage container (that often held 24 different types of beads - each container containing a different color group.

Now, I can take the whole tube, use what I want and hopefully put the tube back on the pegboard, but even if the tube doesn't make it back to the pegboard right way, at least all of the beads of that type are together.

Talk to me in 3 months (make that 2 months) and I'll let you know how it's working. I know that there is no such thing as perfection when it comes to beads, but this one seems to make sense to me.

Any comments or suggestions????

How many farmers does it take to have a Farmer's Market?

Well, at the little Italian Farmer's Market in Wilmington, Delaware - just one.

It was a beautiful morning; almost chilly sitting under our tree at the Italian Farmer's Market in Wilmington yesterday. This has been a cool and comfortable summer; low humidity, not much heat (at least so far).

There was lots of foot traffic at The Market yesterday. Some came walking their dogs; some couples were holding hands, out for a walk around the neighborhood; some came for their weekly produce purchase from the Amish Farmer, some came to visit the vendors to see what's new, or to purchase what they WISH they had purchased last week (and hoping it's still there).

The "tink tink tink" of Michael's chasing hammer on the bench block brought people to our table to see what we were up to. (NOT a bad thing!)

We got an order of silver last week, so as we sat in the shade of an old, graceful tree, we tag-teamed some silver clasps and findings (pictures coming later). I formed the pieces (with some occasional help from Michael) and Michael hardened them on the bench block.

It's amazing that such a little sound could carry through the Farmer's Market, but apparently it did!

We are finding that Little Italy is a wonderful neighborhood with a beautiful mix of people from every ethnicity, race and ecomonic group, represented every week. Regulars visitors, like Grace Marie, stop by to chat. Others wave and smile a friendly "hello" as they walk past to get their produce.

We look forward to seeing our vendor friends - to check on where they've been the previous week - to compare notes on sales and ideas - to check up on families and pets. This has quickly become another family for us.

What a glorious way to spend a Saturday morning!

Life is good!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The strange codes of Technorati

So! Did you see the "Etsy Success" email about blogging? This is what I found in that email:

Now as much as I bristle when I hear "you should" or "you HAVE to", I thought... gee... I'm only messing with 2 shops on Etsy, 2 Twitter accounts, a Facebook account - AND a "work outside the house" job - I mean why NOT log into something else?!?!? (Sarcastic? Me???? *gasp*)
SO... I did it. Part of the process is that they give you this code - a series of numbers and letters and you're supposed to put it in a blog post. Then I guess their code-seeking robots find the code in your blog and you become a real boy. No.. wait... that's Pinocchio. You become a registered blogger on Technorati. If you were here earlier and saw the code and decided that I'd lost my mind... there's your explanation.

Have you registered yet???? When (or if) you do, please let me know and I'll go find you there and mark you as a favorite (of course).

You can find Michael and I on Technorati as ThunderMoon. OR you can click the button on this blog and off you go, or as an OLD friend used to say... "Bob's your uncle." Now really! What does that mean????? Bob's your uncle. Looks like another research project - what's the history of that one? Where did it come from?

ANYWAY... Let me know what you think about this Technorati stuff. What do you know about Technorati???

(I'm off to go tell Michael he's on Technorati. Won't he be delighted???)

The Copper Takes a Tumble

While we were at the Italian Farmer's Market last weekend, Jane was making all kind of fun things out of 16 and 18 gauge copper wire. She made swan clasps, S clasps and different kinds of connectors.

One of our newest tool purchases has been a tumbler. We got it basically to harden and shine up silver pieces that we have made. But some of the copper wire that Jane was using was a bit oxidized and she wondered if it would benefit from some time in the tumbler.

As you can see above, it certainly did. It picked up great shine and the tumbling did a great job of hardening the soft copper.

We've been working on making both copper and silver earwires and should have some info on that soon.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sun, Silver and Socializing on Saturday

Our third Saturday at the Italian Farmer's Market and we did okay. We have a beautiful spot under a tree where we can sit and make jewelry and talk to the people going by. Oh... and sell jewelry, too. Riiiiiiiight! I almost forgot about that. (We even have a couple of custom orders for next week.)

One of the things I love about the Market is that so many of the people walking around are "regulars" and we see them week after week. It's a fun, relazed atmosphere. I don't think we'll get rich there, but it's a great way to spend a morning - AND sell a few things, too!

We were missing some vendors this week, but Michael took a couple of pictures while we were there. He's not happy with them, though, and promises to take some better ones next week.

The first two pictures are of some of the things on the table.

This one is the Market from our perspective under the tree. (complete with missing vendors)

This is a great neighborhood - wonderful, interesting people! We're SO glad we did this!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Does Packaging Matter?????

It seems that with 170,000 vendors on Etsy, it is important to do things to stand out and to differentiate you from others.

We have talked to many people that say that when they buy something, they don't care how it is packaged. Although, that may be true for some, we believe that a pretty package and a handwritten note will be remembered by buyers.

Below are pictures our packages. The box on the left is a bracelet box from Thunder Moon Creations and the box on the right is an earring box from The Earring Lady.

We think that opening a package should be fun and exciting.

Let us know your thoughts.

Here a bead - there a bead...

...EVERYWHERE a bead!

It seems like storage is a subject close to the hearts of many of us!

Thanks so much to Sharon and Love2BInspired for their comments yesterday. Sharon has SO many great ideas for storage. She's right! It IS about being able to see what you have - to visualize what you want to put together. Hard to do that going from the cardboard box on the dining room chair to the piles of clear boxes in the basement.

SO... I went on a search for MORE ideas. It seems some people have turned this into an art! I found a blog all about storage. Check this one out: Cut The Clutter. The post on April 23rd is about beads.

Truly, I could make storage a full-time job. In fact, some days - I seem to do just that!

In an Etsy forum about storage I found these plastic tubes.

And, of course an article on eHow about bead storage.

If you haven't read Sharon's comments on my last post, please do. There are MANY great ideas!

People are sooooo creative!

More ideas? Keep 'em coming!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Pick a color - ANY color!

Michael was 'hanging out' in one of the forums last week where they were talking about their favorite colors of Swarovski crystals. He mentioned that I LOVE crystals and have quite a few colors.

He's right. I do!

We found these great boxes at Nile to house our crystals (and some other things). Each large box holds 72 of the little plastic boxes.

I'd like to tell you that this is our entire crystal stock, but it's not - not even close, but this is MOST of our 4mm bicones. Cool box, eh? It has a lid that flips over and closes with snaps for security.

I use my trusty label maker to label the bottom of each of the little boxes with the name of the color. When I'm out of a color, I turn the box upside down, so that I know at a glance what colors I'm out of when I order crystals again.

I'm glad Michael took this picture! Looks like I'm running low on a few things. It must be time to call Rahul with another crystal order.

When it comes to ordering supplies by mail (the things we don't get at bead shows), I'm like a kid - waiting for the package to come - and then when it finally arrives, I love spreading all of the new, pretty things all over the dining room table. Now... getting all of the goodies from the dining room table to some kind of storage - that's where I fall down. I think we need a shop! Or I need to hang pegs on my dining room walls. Hmmmmmm A new kind of artwork. Could work!

Does anyone have any great storage ideas???

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Grateful to be Featured Again

Two wonderful Etsians have again featured our jewelry in their treasuries.

On July 3, Designs by MarieJulie put up her Grannies Young at Heart Treasury. Beautiful items in pink from the Wild, Wise and Witty Grandmothers Team on Etsy. She featured our rhodochrosite "In the Pink Bracelet". One of our personal favorites.

Grannies Young at Heart

And just tonight we got a convo by Macho Machismo letting us know that he featured our bamboo coral "Simply Red Bracelet" in his "Scarlet Fever" treasury.

Thanks to both our Etsy friends for this honor.

Friday, July 3, 2009

1 - 2 - 3 Marlenas

Great concert last night at the Keswick! Augustana opened for The Wallflowers.

We weren't familiar with Augustana before last night, but when I sent my son a text message asking if he had heard of them, of course - Richard said that he has 2 of their CDs. (He also said "Oh crap!" because a meeting in New York kept him from being with us.) ;)

ANYWAY... they were fantastic! We were late (my fault) and I felt awful that we missed part of their set. They were soooo good! I'd LOVE to see them again! They're touring this summer with The Wallflowers and with the Counting Crows.

Taking pictures of Jakob Dylan is like trying to catch thunder. What an interesting man. There were no rules about pictures. We were all welcome to take them, BUT... there were almost no lights on the stage - no spotlight. The stage was VERY dark. (Michael did a great job with the pictures, considering the darkness of the stage.)

When Stuart (lead guitar) took solos, Jakob moved to the back of the stage, where he was almost invisible. He started every song facing the drummer, his back to the audience. Not a lot of ego there.

The musicianship was terrific, as always. Our seats were in the front row, on the left-hand side - directly in front of Stuart Mathis (perfect seats for Michael, who, being a guitar player himself, is always interested in technique). Stuart Mathis, with his long, thin fingers - (reminiscent of Pete Droge and just made for playing guitar) was mesmerizing as was Fred Eltringham on the drums. I could hardly take my eyes off of him. He drums with every part of his body. He truly becomes the music. Fascinating!

Below is the set list (yup... we were given a set list from the stage) for what it's worth. They did quite a few things that weren't on the set list. Jakob commented on the amazing sound at the Keswick and seemed to indulge himself (and us) with some things they hadn't planned.

Jakob Dylan reminds me more and more of his father. He doesn't look so much like him in profile, but he certainly does straight on. Michael thinks he acts very much like his dad, also.

It was our 2nd Wallflowers concert and I would certainly go again (and again - and again!)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Hide and Seek

Well! I looked at TheEarringLady shop this morning and decided that maybe I could rearrange the sections a little, delete a section and add a new one.

SO! Some things just aren't where they used to be. I mean "red" is still "red", it's just with "pink" and "purple" now, instead of being with "orange" (which is now with "yellow" and "gold"). Sounds confusing. Hmmmmm Now I wonder if this was such a good idea after all.

ANYWAY... that made room for a new section titled "NEW This Week". When I look at other jewelry shops that I follow, I like knowing what's new so that I don't have to go through the whole shop to find out. Again, I'm not so sure that's a good idea. Will that prevent people from discovering a "gem" that they overlooked before? *sigh* I guess we'll try it and see.

I created the same section for ThunderMoonCreations. Michael and I talked about it this morning and we thought it might be helpful for shoppers. Any opinions?

Oh! Michael posted this new necklace this morning...

I just LOVE these blown glass pieces! And the red in this piece is such a beautiful, deep red.

I'm working on a couple of "practice pieces" for Amy and Julie (two of my daughter-in-laws) to practice some of the things I learned in my class last week. So, I think I'll head out and work on those a little. I'll ask Michael to take some pictures when I finish them and we'll put them here so that you can check on my progress. I'm still not completely happy with the finished products, but I'll get there. :)

Peace... out!

Have a super fantastic day!
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