Business Series: Some Rules to Success

    Disclaimer: Please note that I am not an expert in owning a Business. This series is meant to solely provide information to the reader.
    We all want to be a success in our business. After all, that’s why we spend so many hours building and promoting our business. To energize you, here are some rules of success that I’ve found in business books I have read.
    1)You define success: Pick a profession that you are comfortable with and know something about.
    2)Listen to your instincts, whether you like the answer or not: Listen to that ‘bad feeling’ in the pit of your stomach, it’s there for a reason.
    3)Do research, research and more research: You are going to make some very big decisions during the course of owning your business. Before jumping in and making decisions that could have negative consequences, do your research.
    4)Love to learn: Learn new things everyday, even the smallest of things means you are making progress.
    5)Know what you are getting into: Before going into business, know the rules, regulations, and understand what you are about to get yourself into. If you prepare yourself for the commitment of a business (successes and failures), it will make the time that you devote to it that much more enjoyable.
    6)Have the support of your friends and family. Times will get tough and you will need your friends and family to lean on. Share successes and failures with them too, good advice from them never hurt.

Business Series: A Business Plan

    Disclaimer: Please note that I am not an expert in owning a Business. This series is meant to solely provide information to the reader.

    Statistically between 55 to 60 percent of all new businesses fail within the first five years and about 95 percent of these failures are due to poor management of the business. If you think about it, you wouldn’t want to purchase a home from a contractor who didn’t have a blueprint and skill as a builder. And yet thousands of people with little or no business sense try to build a business without any kind of plan. Typically, home-based businesses will start out as a dream, a way to make quick extra cash, believing that the home-based business is a good idea and with hard work it will become a big profiting business. Don’t let the statistics scare you, but the statistics stand as a reminder that there is a certain amount of business and management skill, knowledge and experience and hard work needed to be successful enough to profit and grow into a business.

    That is where a business plan comes in for the new business owner. This is like a road map of knowing what you need to do, how much it’s all going to cost, and where you can go wrong. It forces the business owner to think specifically about their goals and the path they would like to take to reach those goals. But don’t just write your business plan and walk away from it; review it regularly to make sure you are on the right track, answer questions you may have, and to spark new ideas that you never thought of or forgot about. And by no means does your business plan have to be written in stone, it is recommend that you change it as your business grows and develops. This helps planning for the future of your business a little easier as you can see how past experiences have affected your business.

    There is no set type of business plan; it can be as short as one page or as long as several hundred pages. Ultimately, it is up to you to determine how long your road map needs to be to grow your business.

    Here are a few elements of a typical business plan to get you started……

    1)Business History: How, why, and when the business was started.
    2)Business Summary/Mission Statement: A definition of your business. Include a description of your business goals, products, and services and include unique features or customer benefits.
    3)Management Information: List who is behind the business; their experience, education, background, qualifications and discuss the legal form of the business.
    4)Manufacturing Plan: Here you will describe the required equipment and facilities needed for your business. Make a list of raw materials needed to start the business; how and where to obtain them, their estimated costs, how/where to store/inventory the materials, and include labor and overhead costs involved in the manufacturing process.
    5)Production Plan: Define and list how the work will get done; by whom and at what labor cost, if you are using labor other than your own.
    6)Financial Plan: List your expected sales projections and expense figures, cash flow figures, and a balance sheet showing the business assets and any owner investments all for one year; with projections for the next two to five years. This section of your business plan should be visited on a regular basis, as it will change quickly and is often dependant upon all these figures within the balance sheet to begin showing your road map of successful or failure within your business.
    7)Market Research: Make a list of your target market, your customers, and your competition. When listing your competition, include their pricing structure (if known) and method of distribution as these will also affect how you market to your customers.
    8)Marketing Plan: List how you are going to reach your customers, the distribution method, and the anticipated costs of your marketing efforts. You will also include any advertising campaigns, such as web sites, online selling venues, business cards, brochures, and any craft shows or festivals you will participate in.

    It is not hard to get started with a business plan, just remember to visit it often to see your business evolve and grown into something big. Use your business plan to mark your successes and learn from your failures. Start with a small business plan and let it grow with your business; this is one way to watch and see how your business and goals are achieved.

Dramatic Saradonyx Agate & Links Necklace – New!

    This is my newest design hot off the design board and making a bold and mystic debut at 24.5” long! I really love how this one came out; I might even say it is my ‘newest’ favorite for a while. This one took some time, about 4 hours to complete.
    Each spiral link is handcrafted using non-tarnish brass and black wires and then ‘charmed’ together. I was going for a dramatic look by adding Saradonyx Agate gemstones in beautiful tones of black, brown and white in a suspended dangle from each link, adding three as a center pendant. Full of fall colors for an elegant evening out or just casual wear.

Festival & Craft Show Check List

    You made it into the local Craft Show or Festival and now you’re wondering “What do I take?” You’re first show will always be the ‘testing ground’ for the next and where you learn ‘what works and what doesn’t’. No matter how many shows I do, I always learn something new or how to do it differently. I’m always ‘testing the waters’ for new ideas, displays and setups. But first, getting to the show is the most important part of the whole experience. Below I’ve put together a Basic Show List of what I take (and I’m always adding to it).

    Show Check List
    1.Dolly – I found that this makes moving from car to booth much easier and quicker.
    2.Cash Box & Cash; suggest getting to the bank a day or two before the show for your cash. Make sure to have a good mix of bills and plenty of coins.
    3.Invoice/Receipt Book (suggest double copy and carbonless)
    4.Credit Card machine, slips, clipboard & CC Signage
    5.Business Signage (If you have one), Business Cards & card holder
    6.Camera – I always try to take several pictures of my booth, from different angles, showing the different displays and then a couple of the over-all booth. This gives me pictures of what it looks like, what worked and what didn’t. I also use them to send in for juried shows.
    7.Extra writing tablets (Taking notes, ideas from customers or for taking custom orders)
    8.5-6 pens (no matter how many you have, you’ll always come home with less)
    9.Show Kit:
    oCalculator (try to have 2 on hand if more than one person is working the booth)
    oColored dot stickers (for mark-downs or special pricing)
    10.Sales Tax sheet & copy of State Sales Tax Certificate
    11.Bags (small, medium, large),
    12.Tissues (cut several squares so you have plenty on hand to wrap your items)
    13.Boxes (Jewelry boxes because that is what I sell)
    14.4-6 mini customer browsing baskets (I give these to customers for them to ‘hold’ their selections)
    15.1-2 Mirrors (If you are selling jewelry)
    16.Tables & Chairs (If you are not renting from the show promoter)
    oFloor & table display racks
    oWire racks & risers
    oJewelry busts & Earring holders
    oBaskets, or anything else you use as a prop
    18.Table cloths, scarves & drapes
    19.Lighting or lamps you use for lighting
    20.Several heavy duty 200’ extension cord, tri plugs, & electrical tape
    21.Kleenex, alcohol wipes, extra paper towels
    22.Jewelry Tool Kit
    oPliers: round & flat nose
    oCutters & snipers
    oCrimp bead pliers
    oExtra findings in both gold & silver: ear posts & wires, crimp beads, hoops, jumprings, headpins, & clasps
    oBeading wire
    oArtistic & Sterling wire
    23.Your Product
    24. Several hammers, drills, screwdrivers, & pliers
    25.Water, snacks and lunch if you’re not going to leave your booth
    26. Your cell phone

    And always pack your car/truck the night before and go through everything to make sure you have it all. Murphy’s Law applies…no matter how much you anticipate and plan, you’re always going to forget something!

Published in Handbook to Handmade Vol. 7

    Handbook to Handmade Vol. 7 is a coffee table book featuring 35 Etsy artists from around the world. Each artist chosen has a different flair for the arts; jewelry, paintings, clothing, yarns, totes and much more.
    My 2 page layout includes 3 designs and details about Timeless Designs and a spot on the front cover. Only 12 artists are chosen for the front cover and I was honored to have my Turquoise & Silver Links necklace grace the left bottom corner. The book is produced several times a year with each new edition featuring the best 35 Etsy artists.
    Come on by our booth at some of the shows this Fall to see the book and 3 featured jewelry designs!

Coils, Spirals, & Links Oh MY!

    I took a wire class last March and found that my jewelry making passion was in wire. It has become almost as addicting as my passion for silver jewelry! My instructor told the class that if you can push a string into any type of a position, then you can ‘push and pull’ wire into any design as well. There are the more traditional forms of wire work done by wire wrapping a cabochon gemstone pendant…several can be seen in my Etsy shop. I do enjoy wire wrapping, however I’ve found that wire sculpture is more my style and passion.
    I call it wire sculpture because you are literally sculpting the wire into any design. Working with the wire to create any design in any direction is much more ‘free form’ for me. It lets me mold the wire into anything my imagination can create. Whenever possible, I try to incorporate wire into my designs, whether via a simple link or a more in-depth spiral design. And I don’t limit it to just necklaces; I also use the wire sculpture in earrings and pendants.

    You can learn to work with wire by taking a class at your local craft/hobby store, buying a book or by visiting one of these sites: Wire WigJig or Wire Sculpture. As for me, I’ll be back in class as soon as I can learning much more advanced techniques from my favorite instructor!

    For jewelry designs in wire, visit my Etsy shop!
    Note: Etsy prices are shown in USD.

Tourmaline & Garnet

    Tourmaline is a great gemstone because the colors are that of the rainbow; pink, black, yellow, and green just to name a few. Tourmaline’s traditional properties are for energizing, soul-searching, and release.
    In this new piece available in my Etsy shop, I’ve matched Tourmaline gemstone chips with red Garnet and pewter spacer beads. The traditional properties of Garnet are for health, removing negativity, awareness, commitment, regeneration, order and insight.
    So that leads to the question, what do they mean when mixed together? Maybe a lot of good luck in one’s life……

Safety First, Have Some Rules

    It occurred to me that in all the blog and forum postings I have yet to see anything on Safety. Then it hit me…..I’ll do a short note on safety. Here are a few simple steps and tips that I learned in jewelry classes and from reading many books.

    ·Wear Safety Glasses – It is less expensive to replace a pair of safety glasses than it is your own eyes. Safety glasses will protect your eyes from flying objects and wondering wires. Safety glasses come in a variety of styles, colors and prices. Check your local hardwood store for a pair.
    ·Wear a Mask – If you are working with chemicals or paints of any type, make sure to wear a protective mask. Also, work in a well ventilated area and take breaks to get out of the smell and into fresh air. Check your local hardware store for different kinds.
    ·Prevent Eye Strain – For those artists working with wire, thread, and small objects, wear or work under a magnifying device to prevent eyestrain. Remember to look away often and rest your eyes, take a break every half hour or so.
    ·Good Posture – To avoid an aching neck and/or back, use good posture at your workspace. Sit straight, hands resting in an “L” or 90 degrees and feet flat on the floor. This should help with strain to your neck, shoulder and wrists. Also, remember to get up and walk around about every hour to relieve any back and neck tension.
    ·Stretch – Take time to stretch your hands, fingers, wrists, neck, shoulders, legs, and back every chance you get. Do this every couple of hours to keep circulation flowing and to help from getting cramps or numbness.
    ·Use Common Sense - Safety is common sense in your workspace. Keep track of what you are doing and don’t work with sharp objects when you are distracted or overly tired.

    Stick around for a while, we like you! So make a point to have some safety rules for your workspace.

Customer Service in a Fast Paced World

    In just a few short weeks many cities will be inundated with Fall Craft Shows and Fall/Holiday Festivals. Patrons will scurry from place to place, looking for just the right gifts and packages; checking their lists and marking thru names. Halls and shops will be filled with floral designs, jewelry, food vendors, wood workers, potpourri and candles, embroidery and crocheted items ….all these artists and craftsmen have worked hard over the summer building a Fall/Holiday inventory for the buying public. It occurred to me yesterday at the first show of the season, that Custom Service is the ‘Brake or Make’ of a business. So, here are a few tips for great customer service.

    ·Always have a smile and pleasant attitude, Grumpy never sold anything. Greet customers with a “Hello and Welcome to ‘X’ and a warm smile. Don’t rush or push the customer or make them feel ‘boxed in’, allow them to move among your tables and through your booth. Be enthusiastic and Love what you do, it will show through to your customers!
    ·Let them know of any discounts or specials you might be offering for that show. Customers like to know where to get the best deals, especially in today’s economy.
    ·Be knowledgeable about your products. Tell a story of how you came to have a particular item, (especially if it is humorous). I have gemstones, so if a customer is looking at a particular piece I’ll let them know what stone it is, where it’s mined (if I know) or how I got it, and how the piece was designed. The last thing a customer wants to hear is ‘I don’t know, just something I thought was cute and picked up.’
    ·If I don’t carry a particular item, but I know of a fellow artist that does, I’ll refer the customer to that person. I want my customers to be happy and my fellow artists to be successful too!
    ·Chat with your customers, get to know them, give them the personal touch....find out what they like, what they don’t like, what they prefer and what they look for in gifts. Know them and the people they buy for. I’ll often ask a repeat customer “how did so-and-so like the gift you bought last time?” This also gives me feedback on how I’m doing as a business, how my jewelry is accepted and what I need to do differently or better.
    ·Lastly, always, always include your business card. I always add and mention my business card to every customer. I let them know about my websites and not just a ‘buying site’ either. I tell them on my blog there is useful information such as industry news, calendar dates and show discounts, and a spotlight on a new gem or jewelry design.

    Find your ‘Nitch’, go with it and enjoy what you do and it will show to everyone!

Opals, Not Just in Australia

    Deep in the Andes Mountains of Peru there is a great mine find….Pink and Blue Peruvian Opal. Pure Peruvian Opal is rare and accounts for less than 10% of the opals produced in the Andes. The Blue Peruvian Opal gets its color from rich copper, just like that of Turquoise and Chrysocolla gemstones. The Peruvian Opal colors range from milky or pure light pinks to pale greens and intense blues. Some beads or pendants cuts may have a filigree pattern of manganese dendrites. The rarest and most sought after of course is the most intense and translucent of blue or pink.
    I fell in love with this gemstone when I found it at the Tucson International Gem Show this past February. It is the most beautiful of all gemstones that I have come across. Ancient Romans associated opal with hope and good luck.
    Pink Opal healing properties are said to of peace and tranquility, especially noted for its energies in healing emotions. It is also known as the gemstone of hope, great achievement and is said to be the stone of love, but only to faithful lovers.

From Studio Creative Desk to Finished Jewelry Designs

    Many ask ‘How do you create these designs?’ Well, many designs come from the inspiration of the stones themselves. Here is a picture from my studio design desk, where I design all the jewelry. You can see that it is a mass of ribbon cord, wire, tools, a design board, stones, and much more. This particular set of stones I’m working with was hand-picked and purchased at the Tucson International Gem Show this past February. They are an array of gemstone pendants from Green Seraphine, Pink Peruvian Opal, Blue Peruvian Opal, Icy Opalite, Agates, and Jaspers.
    I create and design whatever comes to mind as I shape and mold the wire with the gemstone pendants. Sometimes the designs are just wire and sometimes I add accents in other stones, crystals, or metal beads. These particular gemstone pendants are then hung from coordinating ribbon cords, ranging from 16” (41cm) to 22” (56cm). Each pendant bail is made large enough to remove and wear on another style necklace or put one your own pendants on the ribbon cord. You are actually getting a multi-functional necklace with these designs.

    Once completed, I then photograph with different backgrounds and props; download to the computer and crop; list into my inventory and then put in my Etsy shop, available for purchase!

Another Pulse Check on Fall Color Trends 2008

    I let my fingers do the research through the Net and magazines for more Fall 2008 color trends in jewelry.
    So far, the colors are still staying in Earthy tones, with a splash of red, orange, yellow and gray, for spice. Other hot colors that I saw emerging are tropical shades of blue, turquoise, purple, chocolate, and pinks. Interesting choices, as these are usually traditional spring to summer trends. Though turquoise is always a good standby and goes with just about any season. Of course, the basic black is always ever still present, so better dry-clean that ‘little black dress’!
    Jewelry fashions ran the range from bold and chunky to simple and classic; so pretty much anything goes this season. Though what I did see was more of the natural gemstones verses the almighty precious gems; more inline with those earthy color tones.
    Natural stones that I saw the most….onyx, agates, jaspers, corals, turquoise, smoky quartz, and rose quartz, and lots of crystals and glass; all accented in silver, gold, copper, or brass metals.
    So whatever that occasion you’re looking to highlight your wardrobe, remember you can’t go wrong from big, bold and chunky or simple, classy, and stylish – you’ll always be in style this year!
    For more jewelry designs, visit my Etsy store.

Box of Jewels

    I love creating with dichroic pendants and here I’ve designed a box full of precious jewels! Each bracelet has a custom one-of-a-kind fused dichroic glass pendant. The pendants have been designed with varying colors and sizes of Swarvoski crystals, which are capped in pewter, among sterling silver spacers and toggles. The bracelets average in size from 7” to 7.5” and are available for purchase, just contact us!

Business Series

    Disclaimer: Please note that I am not an expert in owning a Business. This series is meant to solely provide information to the reader.

    Your hobby has been turning a profit lately and you’re wondering, “Could I really make a living at this??” I wouldn’t go out and quit your day job just yet, however keeping records and looking at the future could prove interesting. Depending on what business you have chosen, some people beat the odds and become thriving, growing companies; while others remain that time to time interesting hobby.

    One of the first things I did when I made the decision to start my own company, was to determine what industry I wanted go into. My passion of customer service and working with my hands has always led me to some type of ‘craft’. I love jewelry and decided that maybe, just maybe I could really make a living at this craft. First, I looked at the industry; what did it have to offer, who is the competition, what are the trends, could I compete with those who’d been here for 10 – 20 years. How would I market my company and where to sell my wears? Could I learn to ‘master the art’ well enough to sell my goods to the public?

    I spend about 6-8 months searching these and many other questions. After much research, I started writing things down, and begun my Business Plan, which was about another 2-3 months. This is an ongoing document that provides an ‘outline’ of my business, where I want to go, what I want to achieve and spans the first 1-5 years of my business. Next, I got my licenses; both sales tax and city business license. Then I breathed and thought “What am I doing?”!

    Here are some sites that I highly recommend you start with to research the beginning of your business.

    State Government Website – Find out what licenses you will need and how to register your business.
    State Comptrollers Office – This is where you will get your state sales tax license.
    SCORE – This organization offers free and confidential business advice from the experts in business.
    SBA – Small Business Administration has a wealth of information on their website. Find services, tools, small business planners, and how to find local services for your business.
    IRS – Get information on your business tax questions

    This is just the beginning! In future posts of the Business Series I’ll go into more details about some of these and many other subjects. If there is a particular subject you would like to read about, please email me!

Featured Artist from Etsy

    Wondering through Etsy I came across a great artist, Craftsbycarer, or Carrie from WI. She started crafting after an accident left her with little use of her hands and in a lot of pain. It helped with her rehab and she doesn’t think about the pain when she is busy crafting. She uses her 5 senses because it helps her to compensate for some nerve damage and loss; Carrie really relies on all her 5 senses on a daily basis.
    Her need to create things is because it makes people happy when they see her finished items and it makes them smile. She loves working with cotton and the color dark blue, but her favorite word is hunny, because it drives her husband crazy!
    Her most ambitious project at the moment is to complete more hooded scarves for her etsy shop. However, when not crafting she can be found reading; a big passion, she reads every chance she gets.
    Visit her Etsy shop for a great selection of Fall Aprons, totes and toys!

Starting & Managing a Business

    “How do you manage your business?” “What do I need to start my business?” “Where do you get all the show information?” “Do I really need to be licensed?” “Should I be doing inventory control and how do I do it?” “Where do I find vendors, wholesale or retail?”

    These are just a few of the questions that people ask me about my jewelry business. This prompted me to open many of my college books, dig through business information and websites, and rummage around in boxes for vendors, shows, and inventory, marketing and business strategies. I’m no expert by any means, but I’ve always been one to share information with whoever asked. This gave me the idea to share my experiences and knowledge with those of you out there that have been asking these and many other questions. So watch, book mark, or subscribe to posts, because over the course of the next several months I’m going to do posting about my business knowledge and experiences. These articles will be based on the experiences I gained from my first business, which I owned almost 10 years, my current jewelry business, knowledge learned while getting my BS in Business Management and research to find out answers to questions I encountered. If you have certain topics you would like to see, please email me and I’ll do my best research!

Cleaning & Caring Gemstone Jewelry

    Caring for your gemstone jewelry is an essential necessity for any jewelry owner, as gemstones are a durable material, and they do require care, so that when handed down as heirlooms in the years to come, they are just as brilliantly remarkable as they are to you now, to be cherished forever.

    Most transparent and hard gemstones can endure being cared for by simply cleaning the jewelry with mild nonabrasive hand detergent and a soft bristled toothbrush; then dried with a soft clean cloth. It is wise to place a soft washcloth in the sink covering the drain, as doing so will aid in preventing any gemstones from becoming chipped or falling down the drain while you are cleaning your jewelry.

    Some would suggest using ultrasonic cleaners, while this may be the fastest method for cleaning your jewelry; it is also the quickest way to damage your gemstones. Be very careful when using an ultrasonic cleaner, make sure that your gemstones can withstand such cleaning before using this type of method.

    Here are some suggestions for cleaning and caring for your gemstone jewelry.

    ·Use 2 cleaning bowls. One that has warm water plus the cleaning liquid and one that has only warm water to rinse. Note: If you are using sinks, place a soft washcloth over the drains, this will help to keep stones from going down the drains and also help to prevent possible chipping.
    ·Use lukewarm water, never use hot water.
    ·Use a mild dishwashing liquid or mild jewelry cleaning solution. One that is safe for your specific jewelry gemstones and metals.
    ·Several soft, clean, dry cloths (1-for cleaning and 1-drying)
    ·Small, unused soft bristled toothbrush

    Fill your sink with warm water, add a little drop of mild dishwashing liquid and swish around to make bubbles. Carefully, place a few pieces at a time in the sink allowing them to soak a few minutes (don’t overload the sink as this may cause jewelry to hit against each other causing chips, cracks and/or damage). Then take each piece out and carefully clean with the soft bristled toothbrush. Caution, you only need to use a toothbrush if you have a piece of jewelry that has tiny cracks, holes, and small places where dust and dirt can get in; otherwise, there is really no need to use a toothbrush. Rinse in a separate sink that only contains warm water. Place the jewelry on a soft cloth and carefully dry your jewelry pieces.

    Cleaning your jewelry doesn’t have to be done often, but several times a year to protect your gemstones. It is also wise to have a jeweler check any gemstones that have been put in settings at least once a year. This is to make sure that the prongs are secure and your gems are safe. When in doubt, ask a professional jeweler about the care and cleaning of your new gemstone jewelry.

Balance to Mind, Body, & Soul

    Bring balance to ones life through the use of gems and crystals has been both legend and history. People from all cultures and continents have practiced harnessing the balancing of the spiritual and healing powers of gems and crystals; dating back as far as the legendary lost city of Atlantis, through the ancient Mayan and Indian civilizations, and reaching into Far Eastern and Native American. For centuries these cultures have used gems and crystals for religious, physical, and spiritual healing purposes. Today, meditation and fitness mixed with the use of the energy points is said to promote health, happiness, and well being within a person’s life. Is it legend or truth…..try it and you decide.

    Here is a small listing of the properties within the gemstones I use in my jewelry:

    ·Agates: Balancing physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual energies; perceptiveness, strength, inspiration, awakening talents.
    ·Aventurine: Healing, money, mental agility, visual acuity, peace, opening heart, motivation, leadership.
    ·Carnelian: Precision, analytical capabilities, physical energy, verbal skill, peace, spirituality.
    ·Coral: Diplomacy, quieting emotions, visualization.
    ·Crystal Quartz: Intensifying energy, spiritual development, healing, raising consciousness
    ·Dumortierite: Self-reliance, stamina, patience, recognition of potential, understanding, communication of ideas.
    ·Fossil Stone: Accomplishments, improvement of one’s environment, communication, innovation. ·Hematite: Mental attunement, memory, calming, balance, focusing energy and emotions, peace, inner happiness, transforming negativity.
    ·Howlite: Awareness, calm, emotional expression, observation, patience, eliminating negativity.
    ·Jaspers: Protection, nurturing, joy, awareness; balancing of physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual energies.
    ·Labradorite: Alignment, spiritual connection, transformation, clarity, peace, progression, discernment.
    ·Lapis Lazuli: Wisdom, intuition, awareness, objectivity, clarity, creativity, expanded consciousness, dreams, purity, courage, serenity.
    ·Mother of Pearl: Mental clarity, intuition, sensitivity, imagination, adaptability, cooperation.
    ·Onyx: Self-control, decision making, intuition, recognition of personal strengths.
    ·Opal: Creativity, spontaneity, relationships, memory, happy dreams and changes.
    ·Pearl: Purity, faith, charity, innocence, integrity, focus, wisdom, spirituality, sincerity, fertility.
    ·Rhodonite: Peace, generosity, attention to details.
    ·Smoky Quartz: Dissolving emotional blockage, clearing the mind, cooperation, personal pride, joy in living, attentiveness to the moment, protection.
    ·Sodalite: Wisdom, logic, calmness, healing, stress reduction, companionship, self-esteem.
    ·Sunstone: Alleviating fears, energizing, cleansing.
    ·Tiger Eye: Practicality, peacefulness, clarity, intelligence, intuition, new experiences, financial stability, calmness, releasing inhibitions.
    ·Tiger Iron: Artistic endeavors, beauty, vitality.
    ·Turquoise: Spiritual attunement, cleansing, healing, protection, valor, soothing, peace of mind, guidance through the unknown, romantic spontaneity.

Featured Artist from BNR on Etsy

    Looking for awesome pottery? Look no further than the great shop of PotteryPeddler from our etsy BNR.
    PotteryPeedler, a/k/a Norine, hails from the beaches of Pembroke Pines, Florida which lies between Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, on the east coast of south Florida.
    Nornie got started when she first admired the pottery work of the local potters. She signed up for an adult education class and was drawn to the feel of the clay, the process and the results. She enjoys starting with a ball of clay, molding, forming and manipulating it until it becomes a functional piece of art. Favorite materials to work with are clay and stoneware clay.
    So, why the need to make things, we asked her….”At my day job I do not produce a tangible product; the sense of accomplishment is difficult to share and fleeting; even a job well done, needs to be done again tomorrow. With pottery, the results are tangible, and permanent; sometimes more permanent than I would like. A finish a bowl, pot or cup can be used again and again.”
    She doesn’t really have a favorite word, but while thinking about our interview question, she remembered something from the great (in TD’s opinion) George Carlin about the versatility of a “4 letter word” …I’ll let y’all use your imagination with that! However, her favorite colors are earth tones, with a huge love for the combination of blues and browns.
    How are the five senses good to her; Touch – obviously important to FEEL the clay; Sight – to admire your finished project; Taste – this one gets me in trouble – too many favorite foods! Smell – helps me control the previous sense – taste! Hearing lets me know when someone appreciates my work.
    At the moment her most ambition project is a special order of Cali Lilly Plant spikes for a wedding favor. The Bride is not sure how many are needed yet, but between 75 and 120! Good thing she has until February to get them all done, but that’s a tall order! And then there’s her most non-creative pet addiction Starbucks; “I know it can be an expensive addiction, but I found a way to justify my daily fix. I limit myself to one regular coffee or an ice tea a day – no frills, no extras and no sweet treats. I justify it by sitting outside in the sun while– absorbing my daily dose of vitamin D.” And I’ll agree to that…passing her the Sunscreen!

    When not at Starbucks you can find at….
    PotteryPeddler Etsy shop
    BNR to see her latest promotional sale

The Labor Day Holiday

    Labor Day…..Its ‘official’, school has started, and football games are underway…..this is usually the last day for families and friends to gather together and enjoy the outdoors. The right of passage, many say, as the transition from Summer to Fall happens over this holiday. Soon the colors of pink, blue, yellow, and green will be replaced with the wonderful colors of brown, yellow, red and burgundy. Labor Day leads to Halloween, leading to Thanksgiving, and then Christmas…and then New Year’s….where we start all over again welcoming the many seasons of Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter.