Thursday, April 17, 2014

Easter Cards from KatyDids Cards of Etsy

Life has been a little crazy so I haven't been active in Blogland! Everything is going extremely well. My house is scheduled for closing on May 20 and I am now training my replacement for work! Huge transitions. Very soon I will be living with 2 men after living by myself for 13 years. That will be very interesting!!! I'm really, really looking forward to full time self employment. :)

KatyDids Cards
Did I get the cutest Easter cards this year or what? I have always loved vintage prints and KatyDids Cards on Etsy does an amazing job with vintage images.
Some vintage prints can make you smile and/or "say what"! This photograph of a boy with a cigar and a chicken is available as a print that can be framed and hung. How fun would this be on the wall? It is certainly a conversation piece.
boy with cigar and chicken
I absolutely love this card with a Parisienne chasing a Boston Terrier from the 1920s.
Parisienne chasing Boston Terrier
This gnome with the bee cracks me up. A bee putting on pants? There's a caterpillar sleeping in the cradle.
gnome and a bee
I guess fairies sometimes prefer to catch a ride rather than use their wings!
fairies riding a rabbit
This is a perfect for card for a sick friend.
get well card
A Victorian Christmas is always beautiful. Personified birds are so sweet.
Victorian Christmas
The prints can be put on cards, magnets, bookplates and prints. For the seamstress, these vintage prints can also be purchased on Fabric Blocks at KatyDids Fabrics. So visit KatyDids Cards for your next vintage print gift or a treat for yourself. 

Thank you for stopping by. I'm going to attempt to catch on my blog reading. I will probably still be working for the next 2 weeks, but after that I would be back to a somewhat normal schedule.  ~Val

Sunday, April 6, 2014

A Sunflower Necklace and Cornbread Pot Pie

Sunflower Necklace 
This sunflower is hand carved bone. When I started making jewelry I thought bone was a really creepy medium. Then I began to find it beautiful. Since we have no control over animals being killed for whatever reason I like to see everything to the bone utilized. 

With the dark tones on this piece, I think it can translate to being worn in any season. Available in my Bonanza shop.

I finally joined and am trying to get my bearings on Instagram. If you would like to link up, you can find me here.

Cornbread Pot Pie
While home on a snow day from work I caught some of the Chew on TV. Chefs were competing for the best comfort food dish that falls under a healthy Weight Watchers dish. One chef made a cornbread pot pie. I was intrigued when Mario Batali stated it was the best thing he tasted all year! 

The original recipe can be found here which includes chicken. I'll explain why it looks funny!

Jim and I adapted the recipe to my vegetarian sensitive stomach liking by cooking the following on the stove for the filling. By the way, this is also gluten free.

1.5 cups chopped leeks
2.5 cups of chopped carrots
2.5 cups chopped celery
2.5 cups chopped portabello mushrooms
2.5 tbsp of all purpose gluten free flour
1.25 cups of low fat milk
2 cups of vegetable broth
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 cup green peas
thyme, salt and pepper 
This was cooked to desired texture and taste.

The topping includes (this was my job):
1 cup corn flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg white
1.5 tbsp olive oil
3 ounces milk
The topping was rolled out on parchment paper. The recipe calls for using eight 5 inch dishes which I don't have. So I went with a 9 inch square pan. The filling gets put in the dish and the corn topping gets laid over that.
On the show, the corn topping was messily place on top of each dish to ooze down the sides. Mmmm! 

Well my topping was super messy. Thinking I could invert the parchment paper and drop the top onto the dish did not work so well. Some of it ended up on the floor! Combine wine with my clumsiness and this it what happens. I guess that was a good thing since it allowed for proper ventilation of the dish!

This was baked at 375 for approximately 30-35 minutes until golden brown. 
While the dish does not look pretty in any way, it was delicious comfort food! We agreed while eating it that potatoes would be perfect in here too. Pot pie was my favorite comfort food growing up and the only thing I missed after becoming a vegetarian. I don't miss the chicken, its just that combo of veggies, gravy and crust that feels so good to eat!

Thank you for stopping by! 

My life is a little nutty right now but hopefully I can keep up with blog visits which is one of my favorite thing to do during a break. 

I'm still working while trying to find my replacement and the house is officially on the market starting today with an open house. Over 25 families came to see the house! Wow! So I now have to wait and see if an offer comes out of this. Anticipation!

Have a great week! ~Val

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Bonanza and a Carnelian Necklace

Carnelian Necklace 
This beauty features carnelian accented with autumn jasper. I love pairing these 2 stones! This necklace is available in my Bonanza shop.

So it has been years since I've listed on Bonanza. I decided to go back after seeing this chart published in January 2014 on ecommercebytes.

sellers choice
Bonanza comes in at number 1 overall as sellers choice! Followed by Etsy then eBay. So now I am using the tops 3 sites for my business.  Here is the whole article here which is quite interesting if you are you looking into other ventures. 

After learning that my own website is not for me, this information caught my attention. eBay actually ranks highest in profitability. This is particularly interesting since users complain about the fees. Hmmm!

Etsy is the easiest to use followed by Bonanza. I have to agree. However Bonanza has great bulk editing features and you are allowed as many categories as you want!
The cost of listing on Bonanza is $0 up front. Who can beat that? Their commission is around 3%. Also a great deal.

One drawback is that you can't print shipping labels from Bonanza (which they are planning on changing). So I'm just accepting Paypal payments so I can easily print labels from there. So this site is only set up for domestic orders until that change happens.

They have actually started something new this year where you can opt to have your listings advertised on Google Shopping Feed, The Find, Nextag, eBay and Pricegrabber for free. The seller only pays if there is a sale from that direct traffic. 

I've read that with Bonzanza a seller really has to work to bring traffic to their booth. But with this option, that may start to change! I'm starting with a low economy option which sends my feed to Google Shopping and The Find. The venues vary in cost and the others are much more expensive when your items sells.

I will be curious to see how this shop (or booth as they call it) does through 2014.

Zibbet is still working on their site overhaul and will soon be experimenting with the new site with certain sellers. That is good news. As soon as the results start to show I plan on listing here too! 

Then there is 11 Main coming soon. Sellers can request a invitation. I'm not sure how this is going to work with the crafting community but it could be a big part of it. I have a sneaking feeling that it will be very user friendly and appealing to the eye. There is also no shortage of money to throw into the site. I have read in a couple of articles that it will pose a threat to Etsy and of course giants like ebay and Amazon.

Sorry for the sort of boring post but I wanted to share my findings in case any of you are looking to explore other avenues. 

As always, have a great week ahead! I'm still working my job but we are interviewing 5 final candidates this week so my fingers are crossed that we will have a good fit so I can move on!

My house is officially going on the market next Sunday starting with an open house. So anxious!!!!

Thank you for stopping by! ~Val

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Magee Street Designs and Crystal Quartz

Crystal Quartz Necklace
Crystal quartz is associated with spiritual development, healing and raising consciousness. This sweet necklace is available on Etsy.

Magee Street Designs
This is my new bible, a password book from Magee Street Designs on Etsy.
While making the transition to self employment I'm setting up new suppliers and more. I prefer to use a different password for everything for obvious reasons. Of course there is no way I can remember them all!!! 

I like the set up of the book. There are 3 letters for each section and plenty of spaces for all the sites. 
There are other cute books in this shop like this password reminder book which I almost bought.
password reminder book
This is fun. I forget if I have changed a password or not too!
password reminder book
This is a unique journal for keeping track of places visited and how much you enjoyed them for future reference! 
activity journal 
This is a way to keep track of your doctor visits!
medical journal 
This note to self book is a perfect substitute for the traditional journal. While I keep a journal in my nightstand, I'm not exactly diligent about writing in it. This is a perfect book to have handy in your bag whenever you need to jot something down.
note to self journal
If you are in need of a handy reminder journal please stop by Magee Street Designs. Many of these books would make for fantastic gifts!

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you have a beautiful spring week ahead! ~Val

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Gabby Cases of Etsy and New Earrings

Mountain Jade Earrings
I had a little geometric fun with my Wubbers! To keep them more afforable, I used sterling silver filled wire in the design and suspended them from solid sterling silver ear wires. Available at Etsy.

Gabby Cases
Here is my iPhone case from Gabby Cases on Etsy. This shop has cases for both iPhones and Galaxy phones.
I love the vintage style print. That is what drew me to this shop!

iphone case
I also love the art deco prints offered.
Art Deco iphone case
You can also find cases for your iPad, Tablet or Surface here!
Great Blue Heron iPad case
This fabulous vintage print fits an iPad Mini as well as other sizes.
Red Tulip iPad Mini case
Paris is always a good idea.
Paris phone case
Next time you are looking for a fabulous new cover for your Apple or Samsung device, check out Gabby Cases!

Thank you for stopping by! Enjoy your week. :)  ~Val

Friday, March 7, 2014

2014 Oscars Red Carpet and Gemstone Studs

Earrings Studs
My customer requested 9 pairs of gemstone studs. A beautiful variety here including blue howlite, green aventurine, sodalite, rhodonite, pink coral, unakite, blue lace agate, leopardskin jasper and lapis lazuli,
Since this style stud is what I wear most often, I love to come across a customer who enjoys them as much as I do!

Oscars 2014 Red Carpet
This Red Carpet is probably my all time favorite since I loved almost every dress. That is rare! Lots of classy gorgeousness!!!

Kristin Chenoweth is sporting her cute new 'do. She will be making an appearance on the final season of Glee. Gweneth Paltrow will be back too. So excited!
Kristin Chenoweth in Cavalli
Karen O's glamorous old Hollywood style gown is beautiful.
Karen O 
This gorgeous gown is a risk for the more conservative Oscar carpet. I love it!
Christine Teigen in Monique Lhuillier
We don't see mother and daughter walking the red carpet too often. Here is Kate and Goldie. 
Kate Hudson in Atelier Versace
Goldie Hawn
Charlize is class as always.
Charlize Theron in Dior Haute
Cate Blanchette is stunning. This is a gown I would love to wear (although I have no idea where to).
Cate Blanchette in Giorgio Armani
Amy Adams looked amazing in this perfect gown and just a pair of earrings. That was all she needed!
Amy Adams in Gucci
Lady Gaga in Versace
Lupita has been one of my favorite fashionistas lately. Her stylist is awesome!
Lupita Nyong'o in Prada
Jennifer has a perfect dress too.
Jennifer Lawrence in Christian Dior
If you are like me and have no idea who Karen O is I Googled her for us. She is a singer who sometimes does movie tracks. Well here is a cover she does of Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song along with Trent Reznor (Nine inch Nails) who I was so in love with in the early 90's. I started listening to Zeppelin in my teens so I'm loving this piece. It is totally industrial!

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed the marvelous fashionistas! Have a fantastic week. ~Val

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Self Employment

New Wires
I'm trying out Soft Flex Metallics wire in my shop!

I carry copper in Accu-Flex but some customers are brand loyal to Soft Flex. This antique brass finish is new for my shop. Perfect for those vintage inspired designs! It looks a bit like Accu-Flex's bronze. Available at Etsy

Self Employment
I'm not one to write a verbose post but that is what this is. Yes I am almost there! I have given my notice at work but have not yet set a date. I have been doing the same job for 11.5 long years now and want to make sure the office is all set when I leave (it's a unique job). 

I wanted to share a little of my story since many of us tend to go off track as we need to make a living! However I want to show that you can get back on track if that is you (I will be turning 40 in April...better late than never)!

My Bachelor's degree is in Fashion Merchandising and Marketing. I envisioned myself sitting at fashion shows in Paris and Milan while choosing fabulous pieces for my store. After interning at a local retailer in the buying department, I realized that glamour was not quite there! They did offer me a full time position but it was about 1 hour from home without rush hour traffic. Merchandising and marketing still intrigued me.

So out of college I got my first extremely boring full time job. About 6 months later I decided to start night classes working towards my Masters in Business Administration. I figured I could work my way up a corporate ladder. What was I thinking? That is so not me! However the blessing in disguise here was that I realized I really wanted a business. However I was in my 20s and still didn't really know what that meant. 

I continued working boring jobs and purchased a town house after earning my MBA all before age 30. I was super motivated! Then I got lazy for a while since my 20s were nuts. Laziness never lasts long for me. 
this was my first place - Brady Bunch style
After a trip to a craft store in my 30s coming home with beads, findings and tools I learned making jewelry felt perfect. Shortly thereafter I started selling my jewelry online and at parties to support the hobby.

Then I decided I wanted to prove to myself that I could purchase a house and manage it on my own...just me.  So crazy!!! During the transition between homes I started adding supplies to my inventory (November 2008). Since then, this venture turned from a hobby into a business!
my cute little house
A couple of years ago I realized I actually had the business I always wanted and that I could make a living with it. So I got serious. Having a mortgage, bills and knowing I would need to pay for overpriced healthcare, it was time to figure out the numbers and where I needed to be in order to take the leap of faith. 

So it may be a little time until I am full time on my own, but I am 100% ready....especially after doing the equivalent of 2 full time jobs over the past couple of years.

After that I will be putting my house on the market, crossing my fingers to hopefully sell it and then move in with my beloved Jim! Oh a crazy 2014 this will be!!!! 

We are also seriously discussing the possibility of relocating to the Gulf Coast of Florida this year where Jim's family is. After this winter, I so want to be among palm trees and to never touch a shovel again!
Emmett and Alice
With the Polar Vortex this year my kitties have realized the power of each other's body heat. They have their own bed in the guest room. Spoiled little felines!

If you stayed with me through the post, thank you for reading. :)  Have an awesome week! ~Val

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Pearls and Wine

I wanted to check out these new textured glass pearls as possible beads for my eyeglass chains and lanyards. So I bought the large ones for myself.
My concern was would they be rough and catch on soft materials. That is a no. However they annoy my skin a little since the necklace is heavy but I am like the Princess and the Pea! If they were a smaller size they would be ok.

I will still wear them though since I love them!
I don't like taking selfies. It feels too unnatural!

I love Wilma Flintstone style necklaces!

Valentine's Day weekend was a treat for Jim and I. The Wine Connextion had a Michael David Winery tasting. 

One of the co-owners of the winery was actually there all the way from Lodi, CA! I would have liked to have bowed down before him but there were a lot of people present. The company is run by 2 brothers, Michael and David. 
Well they were running special sale prices off the store's already low prices. So a stock up happened! 

I've mentioned the ultra delicious Freakshow in the past but we had not yet tried Petite Petit until the tasting. 
It was amazing as expected! This has an adorable label. See the mice carrying playing cards and juggling the grapes at the bottom? This is the green room at the circus. Yes those are glasses of wine the elephants are holding! Let me just follow this with stating that I do not agree with the use of animals in the circus. It makes me sad to see. Anyway this is 85% petite sirah and 15% petit verdot, hence the name! Very full bodied.

The quotes crack me up. Robert Parker (the man behind The Wine Advocate) wrote that this one has "lots of blueberry fruit intermixed with graphite, licorice and a hint of tar." Graphite and tar? Well that's appetizing!
The Ink Blot wines are a little higher in price and were a first for us too. This is the petit verdot. It's just delicious. I'm not sure what I see in this inkblot except a turkey in the center ready to be cooked with it's wings out to its sides.
I see a butterfly in this one. Jim sees 2 seahorses. This is the tannat. This grape is from the southwest region of France that is now growing in Lodi, CA. More deliciousness! 
They also had sexy wine available, but not part of the tasting including lust, gluttony, sloth and rage. They are red zinfandels like 7 Deadly Zins. We can't justify spending $40+ on a bottle of wine (although I'm sure they are worth every penny) so we stuck with the others! 

The Earthquakes are our special occasion wines so we picked up both the cabernet and zinfandel. 

Besides being so tasty, I love that this winery has fun with its labels and names! Not pretentious in any way.

Thank you for stopping by! Enjoy your week ahead! ~Val