Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Exercising Sound Judgment


"Passion"
My jewelry business has been my passion for 14 1/2 years.  Now it will have to share some of my passion as strive to be a better child of God.

Hello my dear friends...this little tidbit of valuable information at the bottom of this blog post, came to me today via an email from a dear friend, Laura.  How appropriate and perfect it is for me to share on my blog.  As I've been mentioning in the last few posts, that turning 50 has been a positive and exciting age to celebrate.  However, I had no idea that it would bring about all of these other positive things along the way.  I tell you, I am certainly growing and changing.  Not sure if my family is aware yet, but I sure am.  Things that didn't make sense pre-50 suddenly are clicking.  How strange that is.

One area of my life I have always struggled with is the learning to say "no".  I mentioned this in passing earlier in a post, but when I received an email a few moments ago with the below information, it really hit home to me.  I have had a lot of emails and contacts lately requesting certain things of me with regards to my jewelry design business and I struggle with responding.  So if you are reading this now and are one of those people that have heard back from me, please bare with me, as I figure out and attempt to "exercise sound judgment when making choices".  My tendency has always been to be a "yes" person, and bottom line I get worn out.  My goal in my jewelry design business is to glorify God, and because of this "yes" habit I get myself overwhelmed and than no one is glorified.  I need to say "yes" only to those opportunities that the Lord prompts me to answer in this way.

It has always been an honor and compliment when shops wish to carry my jewelry and when one is asked to consign in new places, as well as being asked to participate in juried shows that are great shows.  The opportunities are wonderful, all of them.  It's just that I'm not sure which opportunity I can do and do well.

What people don't understand is that "jewelry design" is more than just creating and designing in demand jewelry.  I still have to do the shopping for the product to create with, come up with the new and/or creative design concepts and/or lines of jewelry, than create focal point creations for the items and finally after the design is in my head, create it and translate it into a product.  Then there is all the bookwork for the IRS, the paying sales tax payments, the invoicing, packaging, shipping and such for online orders.  Along with that is the task of trying to keep 1,000's of items somewhat organized which I fail miserably at in my business.  Then there is promotion, like ordering business items online like my event postcards, my mini moos, my business cards, and writing and maintaining my blog.  Along with that is the season I am upon right now which is tax time and I have many, many hours ahead of me of preparation time to get all of my expenditures and sales information for 2010 together to take to my tax guy next week.  You get my drift...lots goes into running a small business when you are actually creating the product from start to finish. :)  

I do love what I do!
But, there is only one Gretchen doing it all...

So my goal is to continue to keep plugging away trying to keep up with life, but to also learn to "take time and ponder" as I go about life each day.

The below portion is the excerpt from the email Laura sent me.  Enjoy and be challenged...

SMALL STRAWS IN A SOFT WIND by Marsha Burns -- 3/29/11:
Resist the temptation to take on more than you can effectively handle. Any over-extension could deplete your resources physically, emotionally, financially or spiritually. Exercise sound judgment when making choices, and you would do well to be conservative. The enemy would love to stretch you beyond your abilities. If you need wisdom ask Me and I will give you the guidance you need, says the Lord.


James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Learning and Growing..



‎"You build on failure.
You use it as a stepping stone.Close the door on the past.
You don't try to forget the mistakes,
but you don't dwell on it.
You don't let it have any of your energy,
or any of your time."

 — Johnny Cash 


Good afternoon my friends.  This post isn't about failure per se, but more about "Learning and Growing".  However, the rest of the above quote by Johnny Cash seemed to mesh with what I want to write about, thus I've chosen to use it here in spite of the word failure in it.

Many of you know I turned 50 this month, and with that has come some reflecting time of my previous 50 years I've been blessed to spend on this earth, as well as looking forward to the future years the Lord chooses to provide me with.


I've recently realized many things, or shall I say the Lord is showing me many things I'd like to change.  One of those things is that I tend to be like that lone tree up above in the photo I took while recently in Mexico.  The one that chooses to "stand alone".  Why do I do that?  I believe that as a child my tribe taught us to be stand alone people and that it was the correct, strong, and tough person way to do things.  Maybe this works for some people and in essence worked for me for my first 50 years.  But I feel because of this attitude in the past, it is time now to change some of that self sufficiency.  I have begun to  ask for help, something I have struggled to do all of my life.  I try to do things that I should be asking my husband to help me with, but instead struggle to do it myself and often ended up injuring myself.  You see the tribe I was raised in, tended to be expect us to work hard, and be self sufficient and may of even been thought to be a weakness to seek help.  At least this is how I felt others would view asking for help, that is a "weakness".  Multi-tasking is all I've ever known in my life, but sometimes it's best to do just one thing at a time and truly focus on that one accomplishment.


Have any of you struggled with these vary things?  I'd love to hear how you've learned and grown in your own lives and what has successfully made a difference for you.






So to you my friend, this may seem strange to hear, but I'm learning and growing in the simple area of asking for help.  Tough to do, as I say, but I did it twice since the week-end.  I asked my dh to carry a cumbersome and somewhat heavy table that I use in my studio most of the year, but when it's showtime I have three of these that I take to shows and use in my booth for display.  My extra tables have been in the garage since the last two large events which ended in early March and my studio has been a mess as well.  Jon gladly carried it down for me when I asked him to and it saved me the potential of re-injuirng a back issue that I did at Junk Bonanza 2009 trying to be a tough farm girl and lifting things alone that I had no business lifting.  "Live and Learn"!



My Dad, currently age 87, was an extremely hard working Dad.  He fathered seven of us kids, farmed 160 acres of farmland, raised beef cattle, pigs and chickens, as well as provided us with horses, dogs and cats as pets on our farm.  We were raised at the farmstead his parents came to as young newlyweds.  His Father, died at an early age of 42 years, and left behind five children.  My Dad, at age 12 1/2 was asked on his Fathers deathbed to always take care of his siblings and his Mother, thus at this young tender age he became the Father figure of that household.  He grew up overnight and was handed a huge burden.  Thus, the background of our families strong work ethic, do it yourself attitudes.  Our tribe taught us to be that way.  I am thankful for all that my parents did for me personally, so don't get the wrong idea here.  It's just that at 50 now, I choose to live a more joyful, lighter, healthier, less stress filled life going forward, and am making positive changes for myself, my family and my health.






To take one step at a time...seems the only way to be able to change 50 years of trained behavior.  God isn't finished with me yet, and I'm excited to be on this journey with Him.

To question things my tribe taught me is scary.  Something I wouldn't of thought of doing even a few short months back I wouldn't of dreamed I'd be doing this very thing.  I'm realizing it's ok to not always be productive...  One's body and brain needs little R & R breaks, which my Father never did until retirement time.  To rest and relax and rejuvenate is a good thing!  To not always be pre-occupied with what needs to be done is foreign to me.  And the "to do" lists will know sometimes have to wait.

Wow, is this me really typing these thoughts?  A slow and steady journey will be my goal.  I am learning to enjoy things and to take the time for my family and myself, when my tendency is to be too busy.  I've recently discovered maybe the reason I haven't followed this advice to "Take Time to Stop and Smell the Roses" is because I don't have a sense of smell, thus this phrase never really hit home for me nor did it have an impact on me.  I do have my eye sight though, and my goal is through photography and walks in nature to "Take Time to Stop and Ponder" all those things I've spent 50 years passing by and not appreciating.  Will you join me on my journey?
My new analogy:  "Take Time to Stop and Ponder".  


Beautiful flowers... however, a quick walk past, a quick photo snapped and no time take to really use my new goal of "take time to stop and ponder".  What gift was waiting for me to discover?

This was the gift...

“Blessed are they who see beautiful things
 in humble places 
where other people see nothing.”
- Camille Pissarro


Are any of my readers with me on looking for the beauty from now on, and really seeing and enjoying all that God has provided in His nature for us to really see?  Let me know how He prompts you and shows you His beauty in the days to come.  Being aware is a start...


Friday, March 25, 2011

Turning 50 and Looking Ahead

It's not the load

that breaks you down.
It's the way you carry it.

Lena Horne
It's been a while since I wrote a blog post.  I've missed blogging and spending time with you my friends.  It seems 2011 has been a blurrrrr of activity for my jewelry business and now finally I have time to spend some much needed administrative time for my business.  Earlier this year, it seems I could barely keep up with creating enough product for the events I was a part of.

Many of you know that I was on a family vacation over our schools Spring Break last week, and having turned 50 while spending a week in the beautiful Playacar, Mexico resort community, I have been pondering my previous 50 years of life and am choosing to look forward to the next 50.  Along with the looking forward I am analyzing, and planning on what I want to do better and differently for the next 50.  Have you thought to do this at an age milestone in your life?  If so, I'd love to hear how you approached it and what you destined to change and/or enhance for your personal life journey.
Quality time with my daughter is to be a bigger priority.  I spent many years so consumed with my jewelry design business, that I know the words "just a minute" were uttered quickly from my mouth, when my only child, Emily beckoned me.  I've really worked hard the last several years to change that bad habit and to make the time when she wanted my attention.  Believe me, for those of us that have teenagers in our household, we all know that often they aren't asking of our time, and many teenagers don't even hardly talk to their parents during these trying years.  Thankfully, I saw the light before it was too late, and I truly consider my daughter a great kid and friend, and hope that we can continue to nuture and build our Mother and Daughter relationship in the years we have ahead of us.  Emily will start her Senior year next year and than it's off to college and an empty nest.  It's never too late to nurture and take time for our children.
The mega watt smile on my childs face alone makes time spent with her well worth my time.  Even if it is costly things like shopping, lunch dates, and such activities that draws you together, it is well worth it.  These are the days to be building upon and the moments and memories to cherish.  I remember only fond memories of similiar times spent with my now deceased Mom and cherish those memories that are etched in my mind and heart.  
Spending fun and relaxing time with my husband is another priority I am hoping to obtain.  Times such as this long walk we took together on the Riviera Mayan beaches while on vacation.  The shadows appeared one day while walking together and I thought they'd be fun to photograph.  We had a great time strolling to this rock formation and out cropping about a mile south of our resort area.
Jon at the destination of our journey, and obliging my love of capturing memories of our family trips via photos.  I was tempted to post the one of him posing like a girl would, but thought I best not. :)
Several years ago, I had taken photographs of Emily at this very place (the same rock formation south of Playacar, Mexico) and have them in a window project I created for our cabin.  Fond memories of another family vacation to this area when Emily was 11.
Along with spending quality time with Jon and Emily, I also wish to take in the beauty of God's earth more frequently.  Too often I get consumed with jewelry design, and all that it takes to create and run my business.  When I do this I tend to neglect God, my family, my health as well as rest and relaxation.  I am reevaluating things I've previously thought to be so important.  I hope to get my priorities stronger as the years go on to be God, my health, my family and my personal rest and relaxation, and than my awesome jewelry design business that I love so dearly.  If I can do this, I believe I will continue to find success.  If I don't, than I know that my health will be the first to continue to decline.  I plan to add more exercise and stretching into my daily routine, or I won't be able to do this wonderful vocation I so love. 
Sometimes, I feel like this lone Palm tree with its roots entrenched deep into the rock, and I struggle to find my way.  I truly hope to be more balanced my next 50 years should the Lord choose to give them to me.  I tend to try to live each day to the fullest and not to look back.  To be more daring.  To live more fully.  To be more in tune with my body and what those achey, damaged muscles are telling me.  And to take time and smell the roses.

Wish me the best as I try to be more of the woman God intended me to be, so that in the end I am around to live a grateful life and to glorify Him in all I do.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Flea Market Under Glass - Saturday

My daughter, Emily, and I
worked together on Saturday
during the "FMUG".
The show was great!
I was selling as fast as
I could make them...
Here I'm writing up a sale.
So fun to have photos of me
working doing what I love.
Working with an out of state customer...
sizing a necklace to her specifications
for layering with another piece
of mine that she bought at
another time.
Fun!
I love that my friend, Mary
and her daughter, Hanna
surprised me by coming
to the show.
:)
All photographs are courtesy of M Kahle Photography
and Mary's talented eye...
My customer, Susan, shown here with me
got up at 3 a.m. and drove in from
Green Bay, WI,
with her dh for the show.
Amazing customers!
This vintage bisque doll
turned angel necklace
found a very happy home.
A few of the pieces I still had left
towards the end of the sale...
My precious daughter...
what a great helper
she truly is.
Lots of fun pieces...
this key was a fun find
and
was actually redesigned
from this original creation to
something better
for a customer that bought a long necklace
from me in the morning,
went to lunch,
and came back for
another one to layer with.
:)
I so love these prop elements in this photo.
The mannequin was transformed by me
(see the tutorial for that here).
My business sign tutorial
can be viewed here.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Flea Market Under Glass ~ March 3, 2011



This is a fun little video clip of Sue Whitney the mastermind behind this event, sharing a bit of what was offered towards the front part of the greenhouse at the "Flea Market Under Glass" event held last week-end. It is coming again soon...only 6 more months, and will be even better as we move into Show #2.

So excited that Sue is wearing two of my pieces of jewelry that I re purposed and created. They are adorable on her and she rocks my stuff.

Thank you Sue for all of your hours, and hours, and hours of work to create such a fabulous event.  You rock!

Flea Market Under Glass - Day One



The official extra sweet Ali Haupt, is the creator of this fabulous video from Day 1 of the event I just finished up sharing my jewelry designs at.  She is a sweetheart, obviously talented and a unique find and addition to the Junk Market Style team.  Thank you Ali for this youtube master piece.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Natural High

Just a little update...
the FMUG
(Flea Market Under Glass)
event was
SUPBURB.

Who would of thunk it...

We were given the go ahead
after a successful pre-event
in the form of a 10 vendor trunk show
held January 29th...

Sheyenne and Sherri drove 12 hours each way from Montana to shop this show.  They ended up renting a trailer to bring their wares home, as their pick-up wasn't big enough.  They have great taste...fun style and are the sweetest ladies ever...  They each bought a fun necklace from me and have keepsakes from their experience here.  I know they'll be back again soon.  They were SOLD on the event Sue created.
Sheyenne chose this fun necklace as her wearable keepsake from the show.
"Penny", my penny doll necklace I created for the event, found a good home.
Penny and her new owner.  See that smile?  Penny was making her smile.  You see 2 years ago the Minneapolis Star Tribune did an artisan expose' about me as a jewelry designer whom was re purposing and creating jewelry with found elements and vintage finds.  Another penny doll I created a necklace out of and was named Claire was featured in that article and this lovely lady saw it in the newspaper spread, and came to the Junk Bonanza event to purchase her.  She was already sold to another customer and this lady was sooooo sad.  Fast forward 2 1/2 years and you're at the "Flea Market Under Glass" event.  Another artisan had Penny for sale and had turned her into an ornament.  I changed her up with a restyled outfit, new accessory bling I prefered, added the wings, took her down to the bare doll again and reattached the items I kept and added the new, wire wrapped arms for her to hang from and took vintage faux glass pearl beads and made rosary style links with them to create the chain portion of her.  I then added a cool padlock style toggle clasp and she was ready for the sale.  I spent an entire night creating the pearl/linked chain portion while watching the only TV show I ever watch each week, "the Bachelor".  Now, how fun is this story?  Customers like this lady and her excitement to find "Penny" which by the way, she loved better than the origianl doll necklace I had made, is what makes my business so much fun for me.

Talk about loyalty...
This photo is of me on the right, and Susan on the left.  I am changing the length on a necklace for her.  She and her husband got up at 3 a.m. to drive here from out by Green Bay, Wisconsin to come to the show to see me, as well as the other vendors.  They are friends I met while selling with Sue at other events and they've been wonderful customers and now friends through the Junking industry events I'm a part of.  Now how lucky am I?  Thank you Pat and Susan for making the trip.  I hope you weren't disappointed and enjoyed yourselves.      (photo courtesy of Pat McClearney-husband of Susan)

Yes,
in 4 1/2 weeks
the
FMUG event
was brought to you...
courtesy of a fabulous
Otten Bros. team
along with the
brain child of the incredibly
talented
Ms. Sue Whitney of
Junk Market Style.
A large area in the middle of the greenhouse was staged and created by the outstanding talented Sue Whitney of Junk Market Style.  These design styled areas were a wonderful addition to the overall experience of the "Flea Market Under Glass" experience and these living spaces helped people to be educated on re purposing JUNK treasures and turning elements into unique accents and useful items in their home decor, garden decor, etc.  This particular photo showcased an outdoor living space and was filled with wonderfully creative inspiration....

Notice the incredibly FRESH ideas for displaying your FRESH plants?
All FRESH plants were courtesy of OTTEN BROS. NURSERY
whom hosted this fabulous event.
 Me in my vendor space...Day 1.
My dear friend, Laura, came and worked for me on Thursday.  She was a huge help.  Thank you Laura...

Than you throw in a mix
of 40+ hand picked junk vendors
along with a sprinkling of
fabulously talented
Artisan vendors
and
finally add the incredible
networking that the Otten group did,
Junk Market Style Events,
incredible vendors
and
the added boost of KARE 11 TV
filiming onsite and running
segments of 2 minute snippets
and it all
='s
the most incredible
opportunity ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Karla (left) was a vendor and friend I brought into the show and Carolyn (right) is my loyal friend and helper.  Carolyn worked with me on Friday, and arrived the night before from a FL vacation and still helped me out.  Amazing friends I'm blessed with.   I love you ladies!
 One of the pieces I created Friday night, which SOLD on Saturday.
 SOLD this morning on Facebook.

:)

More details will follow
in future posts.



Thursday, March 3, 2011

"Flea Market Under Glass" Event Starts Today

Good Morning my lovely blogger friends. 
 It's 4 a.m. the day of the big event, and I cannot sleep...
What does a girl do? 
 She goes online and promotes the show...
truly, you will not want to miss this event.
My jewelry aside,
it is an incredible site to behold.
The entire place is rocking...
and you'd never know that it's still Winter.
Details of my Penny Doll Angel girl. 
I spent an entire evening,
creating the rosary style links
on this little precious girl.
She is being showcased...
on my angel manequinn.
A simple but fun necklace!
An ultimate mix of JUNK elements
are used to create this
one-of-a-kind
design.
Some fun
JUNK and QUEEN
inspired
pieces.
A few even humorous designs.
This one has the jist being...
vaccinate your dog
to
avoid the bullet.
The show is at Otten Bros. Nursery in Long Lake, MN
It's a fabulous greenhouse,
currently being used to house the
thus the garden inspired pieces.
My cabin was the inspiration
for this fun design.
Ahhhhhhh,
Spring
take me away
to the 15,000 sq. ft.
Otten Bros. greenhouse
turned into an
indoor Minnesota
Flea Market extravaganza
which includes
wonderful JUNK
incredible displays
by Sue Whitney of Junk Market Style
and 40+ fabulous artisans
and vendor areas.
I even created some
vintage redesign
Bridal bling.
And beach inspiration...
yes, it will one day be warm again in Minnesota,
the snow will be melted
and we'll be romping on the beaches.

Besides,
I'm off to Mexico for some
fun in the sun,
sand,
surf,
and ocean.

A girl needs some fun when she's ready to hit the big "50".
See you on the beach...
I'll be the gal with
NO JEWELRY,
NO CELL PHONE,
and
NO COMPUTER
for a week.
:)

Don't worry,
I will still have my camera,
my inspiration magazines,
will have my nose on the ground,
looking for found elements to create with,
but inbetween the walks on the beach,
the playing in the surf,
and the fabulous food and drinks,
I will vow to slow down,
enjoy my family,
and catch up with
some reading.

Sorry for the quality of photos and lack of editing. I remembered at the last minute to take some photos with my cell phone, and borrowed them off of my facebook page.  Will try to post updated photos as the show goes on.  It runs today, March 3-5th and the link is provided above for more information.


Mimi-Toria's Design Jewelry Style