MIMI-TORIA"S DESIGNS ONLINE Square Market Online Store

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Creating "Soul" Series - Part 2

Good morning dear friends.  Today, I am sharing with you a blog post that I started quite some time ago, and actually is Part 2 of a "Creating Soul" series that I was writing.  I found it in my draft box and felt let to share it with you since at one point it was on my heart pretty strongly, and truly is some interesting thoughts.  I'd love to hear what you think about it, good and the bad.  Have a blessed day!

2 ~ Uniqueness of Product

Is your art your creating unique?
Do people easily duplicate it?  

Or maybe you are someone that consistently uses other peoples design ideas to make your products?

(an example of a unique piece that isn't easily duplicated)

Have you ever personally noticed when something that is lovingly hand-created has soul?

What about the opposite?

Have you ever noticed items that are hastily created and lack soul?

For me personally, I struggle with this.  I tend to create some of my vintage jewelry redesigns to be quite time consuming and elaborate.  They are filled with "soul" and speak to the customers quite intensely.  I love when this happens.  My customer "feels the love", understands the work it took to create an elaborate piece, they connect with the piece and than appreciates it enough to spend their hard earned cash on my creation.  This is the utmost highest compliment a designer can experience.  :)  

Thank you to all of my loyal customers these past 16 years I've been creating jewelry!

But then sometimes, because of the lack of enough time in the day, the demand for large amounts of product, and because I cater to a broad range of customer styles, I also create items that are more simplified in their design.  I try to not lose the "soul" factor, but at times I wonder if I lose that connection I so want to convey through my designs.  That which I'm describing as the "soul" factor.

Along with simplification of designs, these unfortunately can than more easily be duplicated by others.  I've been noticing it more and more with quite a few fellow creators that do this on a regular basis.   Do you often work hard on a design and/or concept to only see others take it as their own?  Thus the issue and problem comes with "copy cat artists".  

Creativity takes courage.
~Henri Matisse

(an example of a more simplified design I created in 
early 2009 and has been duplicated by many others)

Adding "soul" value to your products...

I find that as an artisan if we try to keep our products "unique" and more complicated they are less likely to be duplicated.  Something, I love to do, but don't always have the extra time to invest 2-4 hours into every necklace I create.  This again can be a struggle at times for the above reasons, as well as sometimes a lack of vintage found elements availability and/or price fluctuation's on products used with regard to the good old economics 101 "supply and demand".  

Try to be a cutting edge designer that comes up with the creative designs vs. the copy cat artist that tends to only use others work.  I know there's a fine line here...  Some of you may say "everything is out there", it's "already been done", etc., etc.  Not really always true.  There are constantly new mediums and techniques available to us jewelry designers all the time.  I personally attempt to try to keep educating myself with new techniques and styles that I can incorporate into my designs to keep things new and exciting.  Try to keep things fresh.  I am currently attending a workshop the end of the month to learn a technique I've always wanted to learn and hope to incorporate those skills into my designs in the future.  I really work hard at coming up with my own designs.  We often doubt our abilities when in fact if we take the time to spend time in the creative process, many times the ideas flow out of us.  This is one of the things I've been trying to relay to my students out in Rogers, MN, where I teach at the new shop "The Vintage Jewelry Collection".  I am teaching Vintage Redesign 101 & 202, and thus not teaching a project, but rather an entire Style and Art including techniques, hard to find elements, what supplies I use, etc.  What I want my students to know, is that they can and should take parts of ideas, techniques taught to them, supplies they like, etc., but then give it their own twist, so that it isn't a direct copy of what someone else is doing.  Often, I have found myself not showcasing or sharing things that I'd normally love to be sharing, because I want them to remain a new design offered by me at an upcoming show, or event.  Some people in this business get most of the ideas/designs from others, and I've even had people that will than undercut my pricing and sell a few booths away at the same show.  Morally, I was raised that this is wrong. 

Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.

~Mary Lou Cook

Develop your own style...the below example is one of the design lines that I have been creating for a number of years now, and is recognized as a "Mimi-Toria's Design" by others when my customers wear these style of necklaces with the vintage pocket watch faces and the addition of the "flying sparrow", "French Eiffel tower", and or vintage rhinestones.

Examples of designs recognized as "Mimi-Toria's Designs"

Convey and/or learn to be confident enough to show your customers what sets you apart from others.  Take the time to explain the details that set your creations apart from the booth next to yours, the retail shop down the street, the other etsy stores, blogs, and/or other web shops designs.  This is something I don't always do a good job at, so need to also work on this area myself.  Consistently strive to take your art form to the next level.  And most of all, I feel we each find our true success when we are original in our designs.  Then we are sharing "our soul" and not "someone else's heart and soul."  

Does this make sense to you my followers?  Only then does that satisfaction of a job well done truly reward us with the "connection" we seek with our customers.  It's such a joy when something "I created" with the Lord's direction and guidance speaks to one of my customers.  I just love that!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Marburger Farms - Garden Edition - JUNKMARKET Style

This video clip is fun to watch. It shows Sue, of Junk Market Style educating us about what to look for when planting garden containers, and was filmed at Marburger Show in Texas this past Spring. The Marburger Show is one of those things on my bucket list to do.

Click on the link below to see this video.

Fun fact is cute and funky little Sue is sporting a Mimi-Toria's Designs necklace during the filming of this clip too.  Although this clip may be a bit old, many of you may not have had the opportunity to see it yet, and it is filled with interesting and educational information.

I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.  Sue is always a hoot and so entertaining.

Marburger Farms - Garden Edition - JUNKMARKET Style

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Gearing up for Junk Bonanza 2012

I am looking forward to September 13-15th this year and am honored again to be included in the great line up of vendors that will be showcased in Junk Bonanza out at Canterbury Park in  Shakopee, Minnesota.    This will be my fourth year returning and my third year to my exact same location, SPACE #256.  Please head on in to see me inside the main building and off to the right in the front corner of the right side.  You can look for my Mimi-Toria's trademark, "Carolina my angel winged and crowned mannequin", which I've used for three years at shows.  You can also watch for this sign that I created for  each and every show as well.  These items are part of my business branding and I plan to continue to use them to define my Mimi-Toria's brand.

Below are a few examples of what you might expect to find in a Mimi-Toria's Design booth.  I will be sharing more photos of my creations leading up to the Junk Bonanza, but these are available for sale now, and other items will be created each and every day for the show.  Contact me at gretchen.schaumann@comcast.net.
You can also check out my  business facebook  page here: https://www.facebook.com/MimiTorias for additional photos of what I've been creating.  

This necklace has the most gorgeous maroon garnets wire wrapped and linked into it, as well as some large chunks of smokey quartz nuggets.  Both of these types of beads are in the semi precious gemstone categories and are lovely to work with when designing vintage redesigned jewelry such as I create.  Again, another trademark of Mimi-Toria's Designs is the use of the pocket watch faces paired with the flying sparrow birds in the center of them.  I have created these for four years now, and most of my regular customers have purchased one of those clock face focals in their first ever necklace.  It is definitely a fun look and one that has come to be recognized as a Mimi-Toria's Design.  I own several and wear mine regularly.  This one is extra special as the brushed gold tone watch face is rare and much harder to find than the white enamel ones, or silver toned ones.  I truly adore this piece.  There is a section of vintage pocket watch chain and connector incorporated into this piece, as well as rhinestone elements that are just gorgeous.  The addition of the antiqued gold vintage religious medals and additional elements make this definitely a one-of-a-kind design.
It is offered at $129.  SOLD

An interesting piece and one that I personally love and am tempted to keep for myself.  I did try it out and it lays and hangs just as I wanted it to, so am pleased with the overall design of it.  It is always good to test your designs to see that there are no quirky behaviors while it's been worn.  No sharp pieces, no twisting or flipping, etc.  My 16 years of Vintage Jewelry Design has surely taught me a think or too in regards to learning from ones mistakes in the past.
This necklace has an "Explore" with bird flying image that has been etched into copper to create its focal.  The frame around it was created with a vintage brooch and is secured into its location via it's original metal tabs.The addition of the Black Diamond AB vintage Swarovski bi-cone crystals, the hand torn silk bits of ribbon, and the secure technique of wire-wrapped beads makes this a one-of-a-kind must have necklace.
It is offered at $89.00.  SOLD

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

JUNKMARKET Under Glass and Mimi-Toria's Designs

March 1, 2 & 3, 2012
Hours will be:
March 1  8-10 Early Bird Shopping (see info. below)
March 1  10-6 p.m. (Thursday)
March 2  10-5 p.m. (Friday)
March 3  10-5 (Saturday)

I am so happy and excited to be a part of this great event.  I have been having some recent back issues, but have been working hard to provide you my customers another wonderful experience and will have new lines of jewelry available as well as some of my trademark pieces that my customers have come to love and define a Mimi-Toria's piece upon appearance.  I will post photos as I get a chance, but it's time to get back out to my workshop and get busy.  So here's the details...
Otten  Bros.  greenhouse  will once  again  be  hoppin'  in a few short weeks March. Yep!  That's right....  were baaack!  And once  again all of your favorite  vendors  and vintage finds will be here, and  you will be able to shop in a warm and inviting greenhouse!   Now how fun is that?

Otten Bros. Garden Center and Landscaping is located at 2350 West Wayzata Blvd, Long Lake MN. JUNKMARKET Under Glass hours will be Thursday at 8-10am with Early Bird Shopping.  Beat the crowd and get the great buys and scoop up the one of a kind finds before anyone else! Remember, the early bird gets the worm!  Early Bird Shopping admission is $20 which is good for all three days!  Regular shopping hours start Thursday from 10am-6pmFriday and Saturday 10am-5pmRegular Admission is $5 for each day.

Hope to see you there!!!!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Copyright Thief Caught

Life is always interesting here at Mimi-Toria's Designs.  A while back a friend of mine, notified me that my blog content appeared to of been lifted and put on a UK website and that I might want to check it out.  Hers was also stolen, and while dealing with hers, she had noticed and notified the other victims as well.  Mine being one of the four or five that had been stolen from, I readily was contacted and she shared what she had learned in order to get her information removed.
I wasn't sure what I should do, so initially I posted a facebook status and asked others opinions on what they thought I should do, and/or if I was over reacting, etc.  Lots of great feedback ensued and in particular one facebook friend that took the time to comment referred me to her website.  Deb's site "Deco Diva Debi" has an entire area on her blog page that is devoted to how to deal with this type of thing.  After viewing her information offered you can read about how I went about handling it via her blog post below.  It is a great article and since I've been house bound and somewhat bed ridden for two weeks with back issues and am standing at my counter to type this post, I will not babble any more, but will let Deb's post do the talking.  Take from it what you can, learn from it and pass on the information to anyone you may know that has experienced any of this type of thing.
It truly is frustrating to see 1000's of you working hours casually lifted aka/stolen, and than have it show up half way around the world on some strangers site, so that they can make $$$$ off of your hard work and labors?  Some people have no shame...
A little side note:  This was not a stolen design idea, which can be disheartening enough, but this was 2 years of my life shared through my jewelry designs, photographing them, editing them, sharing and writing about them, photographs of my daughter, my Dad, my family, etc., and it was all lifted complete with photos, titles and all content, with no links back to the owner at all.  And for what purpose?  To sell "AD SENSE" ads, so that they could make money off of the readerships clicks on the ads.  Tacky, I say.
See the article below that Deb wrote and shared with her readership on her blog.  I'd love to hear if this has ever happened to you, or what you think you'd do if it were your personal situation.


Monday, February 6, 2012

Details are a Good Thing

So I'm trying to be better about updating my blog, and since I'm homebound nursing my back to health I will post two days in a row.  Score for me. . .  :)

This was a custom order for my husbands, Aunt Debbie.  She attended a Junk Market Under Glass event with her sweet daughter, Christi and I happened to be wearing my personal "Believers Necklace".  She loved it, and asked that I try to do a focal similar to mine for her.  It took a while for me to amass the right elements, but than finally, it all came together for me.

This was sent to Debi right before the Holidays and this is what she received in the mail.  The photograph of the mannequin with wings is one I took last Summer and had made into professional stickers.  This made a nice little extra touch for her otherwise white cardboard jewelry box that I have been packaging my SOLD items in when shipping via the mail.

I love bakers twine for packaging and happened to have it in aqua/white, black/white and grey/white for my packaging choices.  When I found this pretty aqua feather in my stash and the ivory floral pick, I decided to use this for her package.  I of course, was short on time, and oh how easy it would of been to throw that white box in the bubble mailer.   However, I'm glad I took the time for presentation.  This was one of my highest price point items, thus deserving of forcing myself to slow down and take that extra time to gather the right materials to make a statement.  In turn this went from a blah, to ahhha package with a few extra touches.

I bought these picks one year at the end of the Holiday season on clearance for like .29, and it probably would be about that same time of the year that I bought these, so if you like them places like JoAnn's, Michaels or Hobby Lobby would be apt to be the kinds of places to carry something that could be used like I did here.

This photo shows the focals of the necklaces.  My original one that she loved is on the right.  What I recreated for her is the one on the left.  Each of ours has about 18 vintage religious charms and I carefully chose each and every one to be more desirable for a person that is of a Protestant faith vs. the Catholic faith.  So no saints were used, and only one of Mary.
Many of you know that I create only OOAK (One of a Kind) jewelry designs, so when Debi asked me to make one like mine, I explained to her that I couldn't do exactly.  When one works with vintage elements like I do for these creations, I can only make it resemble one another, not duplicate.  The "believe" silver tone and bronze tone word tabs and the crown elements are new, so that portion was changed with the words being chosen in different metals, but all else is vintage elements.  A pretty good match and I think she was pleased in the end with the results.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Few January Sold Items

It has been a while since I posted some of the jewelry I've been creating and/or have sold, so thought I'd share a few items real quickly tonight.  My Internet is having fits, so I'll make it short and just a few photos.  Enjoy...  Sorry, but these all have sold at either recent events or through my face book site.

On a side note, I have been laid up most of last week with quite a severe back issue, but am hoping that I am on the mend now.  It appears that the good Lord is telling me to slow down a bit, and smell the roses, as I tend to go pretty non-stop when I'm awake.  Unfortunately, this may mean some down sizing at future shows, but this will unfold according to how my back heals from this injury.  It was not lifting excess weight, but rather reaching for a jewelry product off a shelf in a backwards grab while walking forward and my sacroiliac came to a screeching halt and chose to lock up for about a week.  Not a fun thing to experience, but indeed I am much more fortunate than many that actually have a lingering illness they are battling and even those that are fighting terminal disease.  This just has gotten my attention.

Bethlehem Steel, Sparrow Point numbered vintage brass tool tag id, along with a sparrow bird, turquoise nugget and a long antiqued gold tone ball chain necklace.

These two lovelies are both sold, but are buttery soft leather adjustable style cuff bracelets and I have a variety of these types of pieces that will be featured at the March 1-3rd Junk Market Under Glass event at Otten Bros. Nursery in Long Lake, MN.  This is a fabulous event that you'll want to be sure to plan to attend and schedule it on your calendar.

I will continue to create my original hand stamped spoon pendant necklaces with bling and also simply stamped spoon pendants for those that like a more modern feel to theirs.  These pendants are scattered through out the internet with others selling them now, but I'm happy to say that mine were originally created into necklaces early on and still are an original design that had been inspired by a local gal stamping plant markers out of silverware.  About four years ago, I bought some of hers, and made them into pendants, and soon after started using my vast collection of silverware I had been collecting to hand flatten, hand stamp, hand polish, hand ink, drill and hand select the bling pieces that I would cold solder to each pendant, choosing it according to what had been stamped on them.  Thus, the hand stamped spoon pendant was born...  Because of the wear and tear on my body and an injury I suffered while setting up at an event several years ago, I have since started hiring a friend to use his industrial press to save my back from one step in this multi step process.  You may think they are simple, easy to duplicate, but truly they are a labor of love and quite time consuming, when you attempt to create a well made design.

This was one awesome piece that had two different chain options sold with it, so that there were many ways in which it could be styled.  With it's oversized leather tooled cross, vintage key, gorgeous chunky semi precious gemstone bead and funky heart and cowboy hat, it was a quick seller at my recent Trunk Show.

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Fresh Beginning ~ 2012 ~ One Word Choice

As the New Year has arrived with only today to reflect on 2011, I would like to wish you all a Happy and Blessed New Year!

Looking back on 2011 and all that has transpired, I would have to say that I am once again so grateful.  It is with thanksgiving and praise that I will go forward into 2012 hopefully a better person.  As I believe we should each continually grow in our lives,  I personally will continue to work on my spiritual, family,  personal and business growth for 2012 and on into the rest of my life.

With these challenges, I can say that I am so excited to start 2012 with a fresh new attitude.  One I haven't always been aware of nor have I always practiced as much as I would of hoped.  So in 2012, I am choosing to through aside certain words I normally would use in my vocabulary and make a concentrated effort to add certain words that maybe in the past I would not of taken note of or chosen to use.  The words I toss out will be ones that normally would tend to hinder my growth and I am giving them the boot, and with God's help moving forward to a better place.  I have goals to accomplish and things to learn and see.  Many of these words were a part of the reasons I haven't accomplished what I'd like to, or become the person that I believe God would like me to be.  You may be wondering, what some of these words may be, that I am hoping to extinguish with God's help?  To start with a few of the words on my list will be "I can't", "fear", "failure","scared", etc.  I think you get the picture...

If you've followed my blog for a year or more, you might remember last year when I chose a word to live 2011 by.  Trying to pick just one word is a joke for a wordy girl like me, so I cheated.  I chose two words.  They were shared in my "One Word to Live By" post.  You can read about my struggle to find that choice word here , as in that blog post I shared all about my 2011 word I had choses for growth.  It was interesting to go back and read what my thoughts were about it.  I of course, had forgotten about some of the things I had planned to change and goals I had set, and I actually found I had failed on many accounts.  Below is a portion of that post from 12 mos. ago and the struggle I was experiencing at that time with choosing just one word.  So here is part of what I had written...

Nope...I wasn't sure.  The word "inspire" kept coming to me.  I "inspire" to be a better person in 2011.  I "inspire" to be a better Mom, Wife, Friend and Sister in 2011.  I "inspire" to grow in my jewelry design business, and as a jewelry designer.  I "inspire" to learn to do more effective photography and photo editing.  I "inspire" to learn new things in 2011.   I "inspire" to be a better blogger.  I even plan to "inspire" some of you in 2011 through my blog.  I "inspire" to share more tutorials and how-to's on my blog as well.  So, "Inspire" is what I chose...

Wait you say...  That's two words.  "Redesign" and "Inspire".  Guess what?  I'm breaking the rule.  I am so not a rule breaker, but I'm starting 2011 with being a rule breaker.  I'm choosing two words to live by in 2011.  I maybe should have chosen "motivation" as both of my words are motivational words, but "Redesign" and "Inspire" are what kept coming to me through my pondering.

So now its 2012, and I've chosen my word for 2012.  It will be "I CAN"...  Yes, another two words, but if you are having problems with the rule breaking I'm doing, than I'll just say it's "ICAN" and than I'm only using one word. :)
Here's what motivated me to choose these words.  For the past two years I have been following along, have learned an amazing amount of information both with regards to photography, PSE use (or rather my need to get one for Christmas this year), fell in love with the use of textures and layers on photos, and also was even contributing for a short time on Kim's Inspiration Studio blog (this blog is no longer active).   Cool stuff for sure, but then I dropped the ball and got super busy with life and my jewelry business and neglected the stuff I wanted to do to learn and grow.

So late last week this blogging friend of mine, Kim Klassen has a wonderful blog post she shared at Shutter Sisters. It was totally what I needed to get motivated and ready to move forward in 2012.  As a blogging fan of Kim's various blogs, it was through her that I was initially inspired to figure out what it was that I wanted to do and how i wanted to grow in 2011.  I am so thankful for her challenges and continuation of encouragements that she shares through her blogs.  Her recent post at Shutter Sisters garnered many comments, and below is an example of another reads comment and than my personal comment as well.

One reader commented:
I am taking your quote: Whatever you want in life, you can do it…. It may take hard work…there may be mountains to climb, obstacles to move....but it's completely doable. First you must believe you can. This will be my 2012 words to live by...

This is what I shared:

I CAN learn PSE10... I CAN learn how to use the fabulous accumulation of Kim Klassen layers/textures and brushes that I've been buying for the last 2 years... and I CAN become more proficient with my photography which will than enhance my vintage jewelry redesign business.

I CAN grow in my love for Jesus, my husband and daughter and be a light to those that He puts in my life through my every day life journey and my art career as a jewelry designer.

Thank you Kim for another beautifully inspiring post, for being so real and for the challenge to do more of the "I CAN" vs. the "I CAN'T". Need to be of that attitude for 2012. One step at a time!

December 30, 2011 | Gretchen Schaumann

As I read the above comment I had just written from my heart in Kim's blog post response, I knew right then that the words "I CAN" were destined to be my words for 2012.  Kind of an interesting way that they came to be the words, but perfect for what I need to do.  Indeed, they aren't fancy words, or poetic and such, but they are instead action words, which is perfect for what I desire to do and be in 2012.

The last two days have consisted of me using the new action words "I CAN", as I have spent both days on my MacBook Pro trying to organize and sort through tons of photos to eliminate some of the mess I have on my computer and also have been working on learning Photoshop Elements 10, which I got for Christmas.  Kim Klassen, is offering a free Photoshop Skinny Mini eCourse starting January 9th, and I'm signed up to participate in it.  To learn more about this wonderful free opportunity go check out her Kim Klassen Cafe site.  Thank you Kim for all that you've shared so graciously that has encouraged me on my journey.
Thanks to Heather H for spending time with me at Caribou Coffee to help me with editing the above photo last Thursday on my new PSE10 software I got for Christmas.  This is some of the techniques and looks that I hope to continue to learn for 2012 and enhance my photos and business through the use of these techniques.  I will be taking Kim's class this month and it should help as well.  Necklace was created for a Christmas gift for one of my customers, by her thoughtful husband.  He has done this for her two years now, and he always has a meaningful reason behind his purchases for his wife.  So cool!

So, long story short, my word for 2012 will be "I CAN".  What will your word or goals be for your fresh New Year?  Another of my goals is to improve my blog visually, as well as actually do better with posting.  Maybe, I will get to the point where I can post a short post and not such a long winded one like this one has become and actually do the posting more often.  :)  That would be awesome...  I have good intentions and than life gets in the way, or the photos aren't ready, etc... and than I don't post.  Here's to a better New Year..

My next jewelry event is coming up soon and I will share more about that in the days ahead.  For now, mark your calendar for January 28th, a Saturday.  This event is one you'll not want to miss...

Sorry for the lack of photos in this post, as I've been doing some messing around with my computer and can't quite upload the new photos of jewelry quite yet.  This blog post was originally started days ago, so I'm going forward and hitting the "post" button, or it will be like other posts and end up sitting in my draft box never to be posted...    I need to be better about finishing one task at a time.  However, in my defense, my daughter asked me to spend some time with her on her last day off of Christmas break, and thankfully I decided to take the opportunity and put aside my blogging and learning, so I apologize for mostly words, and only one photo.

What is it  that you would  like to do  differently this year?  Anything  at  all, or  do  you  not do  the whole New Years self improvement  thing?  Please  share your  hopes and  dreams  for  2012  with  me.  I'd  love to hear them.   Can you believe  that  I've only done this for  two years  in my  entire life?  I did  not grow  up in a  goal  setting family, so this is all new to me.  Kind of fun...

~Be blessed~

Mimi-Toria's Design Jewelry Style