Thursday, October 20, 2011

2012 Jewelry Clubs in Time for the Holidays!

I'm pleased to announce that Quite Clever Jewelry will be offering jewelry club gifts just in time for the holiday season. Currently, I have listings for rings, but be on the lookout for earring and assorted jewelry clubs coming soon. Each club will allow recipients to receive jewelry throughout 2012 at a discounted price. These packages are great gifts for jewelry-lovers!

How it works:

The recipient fills out a questionaire that will reflect her favorite stones, colors, metal patinas and design asthetic.

I will then design each piece of jewelry based on the criteria within the questionaire.

Check out my etsy store at to see the details of each of each jewelry club.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Another Installment of What I Do When I'm Not Making Jewelry

At the beginning of the summer, I decided it would be a good idea to finish some of the long-overdue home projects that I had been planning for my house ever since I moved in five years ago. Menards offered zero-interest financing for those who applied for a store credit card so I figured now was my chance.

I wanted to put in a privacy fence and a patio so I spent quite a bit of time sketching out plans and measuring the backyard. I also made a couple trips to Menards, pricing out materials and scouring the flyers to spot any upcoming sales. Luckily, I was able to get some great deals and I had all of my supplies delivered to my house, which is really the only way to do it.

All of my supplies after they were delivered.

We immediately started on the fence and it was a doozy of a project. Digging post holes, mixing cement making sure the posts are level . . . it's enough to drive anyone insane. That said, we finished the project and it looks beautiful. My dad and boyfriend did the majority of the post-hole digging and cement pouring. I mixed my fair share though and did a lot of drilling, hammering and cutting pickets to size. We still haven't made the fence gates yet but the fence itself looks gorgeous! I'm so happy with it.

My boyfriend working on the fence.

After we finished the fence, the only supplies left in our supply area were the four tons of patio pavers and about ten bags of sand. After the grueling work on the fence, we didn't get started right away on the patio. We needed a break. After a while though, I felt like digging out the dirt and getting ready for the patio.
The patio area staked out and after digging down one level.

I staked the patio area and dug the entire space out in one day, I didn't realize there had been a heat advisory issued. Luckily, the next day was signifigantly cooler. I had to dig the entire area out again to get down to the six inch depth I needed for the rock and sand. After digging, I laid weed fabric and back filled the hole with gravel. I raked out the gravel until it was flat and then rolled a lead pipe over the gravel to compact it down. Finally, I filled one end of the hole with sand and used a board to level or screet the sand over 3/4 inch electrical conduit.

Luckily, I had help for the rest of the process. My dad and I carefully laid in the pavers one by one. We started at one end and then moved across the patio. By the third row, my dad had discovered a method for laying in the pavers evenly which made the process move a lot faster. That said, it was still back-breaking work and both of us ended up carrying about 4 tons of pavers that day from one end of the yard to the other. Yikes!

The completed patio, still in need of landscaping, but beautiful nonetheless.
When we finally laid in the last paver, my mom helped out by sweeping some paver-locking sand into the spaces between each paver. The sand really finished off the look of the patio and I was floored by how well it turned out. It still needs quite a bit of landscaping around it, but the patio itself is great! I plan to spend many mornings doing yoga on it and many afternoons and evenings grilling out on it. It was tough, but so worth it.

Close-up you can see the circle pattern I created on my patio.
Now, I'm hopefully done for a while with my home diy projects. I need to turn my focus largely back to jewelry as I have many shows coming up and I am working on finishing my new line. It's a good thing I like projects, because I tend to have about five in the works at any given time. It keeps life interesting though and I'm excited to work on creating things, whether they are for my business or for my home.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

What I Do When I'm Not Making Jewelry

Despite always loving a creative project, I have never been the best cook. I think it is because I find it difficult to stick to a recipe. Once I saw panda bread though, I knew I had to make it at some point. Well, I finally took some time this Saturday to make this fun bread and it actually turned out amazingly well! I must admit that I'm a little shocked, but very pleased. I even flubbed the recipe a bit. I subsituted honey for sugar and almond milk for cow's milk. Even with the substitutions though, the bread both looked and tasted great. Check out the results below.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

If you are upset about the economy, think about this . . .

Most of us look at our government and shake our heads at their inabilty to accomplish anything, but could we be just as much to blame for our economic situation?

When we go to buy groceries, clothing, or luxuries, how often do we look for the "Made in America" stamp? If you shop at Walmart, whose items are overwhelmingly made in China, only 6 cents of every dollar you spend stays in the local economy. Conversely, shopping at local stores, or buying American-made goods, keeps ten times that amount in the local economy. That's 60 cents for every dollar spent going back into your local economy.

Buy Locally-Made Gifts on Etsy.
As we shop at big box stores and buy foreign goods, money is drained from our economy. With less money in our economy, local businesses don't have the consumer spending or capital to encourage them to hire more workers. As less people are working, less money in the form of taxes goes into our local and federal government.

Yes, our government has proven to be a mess at the moment, but we can take some action into our own hands. If you can, please at least look for American made goods every time you shop. If you can't find any brands of a certain product that are made in America, try to at least find one made in a country that also promotes good working conditions. The next time you have to buy a gift, you could even search through the local artists on Etsy. You can also shop at your local farmer's market to get fresh and local groceries.

Shopping locally is one proactive action you can take to directly help the U.S. economy. As an American artisan, I know that I would not be able to earn a living without my customers. As I try to purchase only American made goods as well, I hope that the money I make can continue to help the local economy. If we all shop in this way, perhaps we can all pull ourselves out of the economic mess long before our political leaders are able to.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Work in Progress

 Lately, I've been able to spend some quality time in the studio and I am loving some of the pieces I'm creating for my Fall/Winter line. I thought I would share a sneak peek at one of the pieces that is currently a work-in-progress. It will eventually be a necklace. Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Some Inspiration Photos for my Fall/Winter Line

I'm currently working on my Fall and Winter line of jewelry and I'm creating an inspiration board to help me to keep my focus as I create new designs. The following are just some of the photos that are on my board and they were so amazing, I just had to share.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Project Accessory Call-Outs in Chicago

Anyone familiar with the Lifetime (once Bravo) show Project Runway can quickly envision what the new spinoff Project Accessory might entail. This new show pits shoe, handbag and jewelry designers against one another to find the best overall accessory designers. Recently they held auditions in Miami, New York, Chicago and L.A. I was so excited to be able to go to the Chicago call out this past Thursday.

It was a VERY early morning for me. I planned on waking at 4:30am, but pushed the snooze until around 5:15. I left home around 6am, but with the time change, I was able to get to Chicago around 7am. The auditions were supposed to start at 9am at the Hard Rock Hotel. I figured the line would be around the block, but only around 30 people were there that early. We all headed into a room on the second floor and took seats to get ready for the first round of screening. It wasn't long before the room filled up and an overflow room also started swarming with hopefuls.

The crowd was such an interesting assortment of people, people dressed to the nines, or just completely quirky and bizarre, or more casual like me. Some people carried luggage filled with bags or shoes. There were a ton of jewelry designers and the screeners told us off the bat that we should feel lucky if we made it through the first round because they had seen so many jewelers at the other two auditions.

They called us up one by one to a screening table. One extremely nice and patient woman was doing all of the screening but she also had an assistant who handled all the applications and took photos of the people who got through the first round. The woman screening my jewelry was incredibly complementary and she even gave me some tips of what to say in front of the judges. On a side note, when I told her I was also a personal trainer, she told me that her last job was producing the Biggest Loser and she made a point of saying she had absolutely nothing to do with choosing Anna Kournikova as their next trainer. I knew this lady had great taste when she dissed Kournikova. Anyway, she passed me through and I shuffled over to the side to get my photo taken by the assistant. My photo was attached to my application and I was given a bright pink wristband.

After the first round, the waiting really started. We moved rooms and people kept shuffling in and out as they went through the first screening. Finally, around 3pm we were called to do an on-camera interview with the judges. They took us back to a hallway and a member of the crew hooked me up with a microphone. We were given very detailed instructions on how to proceed once we entered the room. We were supposed to drop off our jewelry and portfolios to the judges and then step back to a mark where we would answer some of their questions. I had made some hand-bound small portfolios of my work and I brought some necklaces and rings.

When I entered the room, the lights were so bright and the judges looked fantastic, as if they were being filmed for the actual show. There were two men and two women and they were all extremely nice. They asked me how I would take the concept of certain jewelry pieces and apply them to shoe and handbag design. They said they were really impressed by my answers. They also said that I should look into selling through the Sundance catalog because they thought I would do very well. They said that they may be contacting me for further information, so I didn't get a definite no or a definite yes. I will be shocked ten ways to Tuesday if I hear from them, but it would be amazing if I did!

All in all, it was an amazing experience and I will probably audition next year as well. It helped me to think more about how I present my work and it helped me to think from a fashion perspective rather than an art perspective. Now I'm focusing more on lines of jewelry and releasing new designs for seasons much like fashion designers. I may also take some time to do some side projects designing handbags and shoes to help my chances for next year. Ultimately, it gave me some validation and more creative impetus to take my jewelry to a new level and I can't wait to get started in the studio with the new energy I have.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

INDIEana Handicraft Exchange

It will be a beautiful weekend with temps in the mid 80s and lots of sun. It's the perfect time to come to downtown Indy and check out some great crafts. Luckily, two free art shows are taking place this weekend. I am happy to announce that I will be showing my work in the INDIEana Handicraft Exchange, taking place at the Harrison Center for the Arts. The nearby Talbot Street Art Fair is also free and covers four blocks with art and food vendors.

Come visit me at the show. It starts at noon on Saturday and runs until 8pm. It is a family-friendly event with lots for both parents and kids to do and see. I look forward to seeing you all there!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Bloomington Handmade Market

Mark your calendars now! I am so pleased to announce that I will be a vendor at the Bloomington Handmade Market on April 2nd! The Bloomington Handmade Market is a wonderful event and showcases a number of excellent artisans. You can find so many great treasures such as hand-bound books, fashionable bags, natural soaps, original watercolors, stained glass and, of course, jewelry.

I am excited to be showing my work at the show. I am also planning on doing some shopping for myself because I can always find such great items at this show!  If you live anywhere near the Bloomington area, try to make it in for the show. You definitely won't be disappointed! Find out more on the Bloomington Handmade Market Facebook page.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Adapt and Believe in Yourself

Okay, I know that title is a bit "after-school special" but I really do believe it.

After I was laid off from my teaching job, I didn't know what I was going to do. I decided to start my Etsy shop to make some money while I was applying to other jobs. I worked hard on my designs and ended up getting into the first Etsy Artist Pavillion at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago only four months into my business. That was a huge boon to me and I went on to do many other shows in my first year.

That said, I didn't make quite enough money from jewelry to pay all of my bills. I also had to find supplemental jobs on the side. No place was hiring, so I decided to write a curriculum for a beginning jewelry-making class. I went to my local art museum and presented my class idea. They hired me on the spot and now I teach both beginning and advanced jewelry-making.

Even with my jewelry classes though, things are a bit tight. I also wanted to work out more, but couldn't afford to go to a gym. I noticed that a Facebook friend had posted about Zumba and it got me thinking. I had done Zumba two years ago regularly and I loved it, but I never thought I could be an instructor. For some reason though, I just decided to believe in myself and sign up for the instructor training, which is scheduled for February.

Well, today I went to a Zumba class to prepare for the instructor training and, at the break, the instructor started chatting with me. She said that she was really impressed by how quickly I picked up the steps and how well I did the routines. When I told her that I was getting certified to teach in February, she insisted that I talk to the gym owners because they needed new instructors for earlier class times. She was so sweet and she really talked me up to the owners. They said they would love to have me shadow the instructors and start subbing and teaching my own classes in March!

I just want to say that when I started all of these endeavors, I felt nervous and doubted myself beforehand. In the past, I would have allowed those doubts to stop me from putting mysefl out there. For some reason, I now just push those doubts aside and go after what I want. If I make a fool of myself, at least I tried. If I never try, my life will only stay the same. I just am so happy that I decided to go for it for a change.

If you want to jump into a new activity and are dogged with doubts or other people's negative opinions, I encourage you to believe in yourself. Sure, you have to put in the work, and you might fail at first, but persistence WILL pay off in the end. Believe in yourself, take the first steps, work hard and the rest will follow!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Rings for Ohio

I'm currently busy making rings for the Salty Not Sweet store in Cleveland, Ohio. They are moving their boutique to a new location in the city and they will feature a selection of Quite Clever Jewelry when they reopen. The new store location is in the trendy Ohio City neighborhood, filled with independent restaurants and boutiques. I'm excited to go check out the store and I'm so honored to be one of their new vendors.

Monday, January 17, 2011

My New Favorite Etsy Find

The last thing I should be doing right now is shopping, but I couldn't help ordering some adorable decorative tape. I think I am going to use this tape to decorate my new Kraft jewelry boxes. They are striking, fun and also so simple to use. Check out more awesome tapes at Little Happy Things on Etsy.

One of a Kind Chicago was Fabulous!

It's been a while since I last posted, and it has been a whirlwind of activity since then. With the One of a Kind Show in Chicago and the holiday festivities, I feel like I've been all over the place.

As for One of a Kind, it was great. I had a wonderful booth location and I met so many great people. I also saw some old friends from last year. All in all, it was a fun time and very satisfying, even though it was a little exhausting.

I made quite a few booth changes, both in surface and substance, and it made all the difference. My booth was so much more visually appealing and I felt like my displays filled up the white wall space and made my area more appealing. You can view the final result below.

I also made made some changes that helped me get through the long hours of the show. First, I focused on drinking lots of water. The air in the Merchandise Mart is so dry and it is very easy to get dehydrated and develop a sore throat. A drank hot water with lemon and honey and that really helped me get by. I also invested in some inexpensive floor pads that I layed in back of my table. Those floor pads, along with some comfortable boots with rubber soles, kept my feet from aching.

All in all, it was a great show and I am signed up to go back again next year. I think it may be my last year to participate though because of the booth fee along with hotel costs and parking. It's just a lot of expenses, even though it is such a nice event. We'll see how this year goes and maybe I'll change my mind. For the time being though, I'm planning on being at the 2011 show at booth 3069. Mark your calendars now, ha ha.