Saturday, August 16, 2008

Blog Giveaway!

How cool is this? I've paired up with Amanda from Alayna's Closet and we're doing a giveaway. You can go to her blog, submit a comment with your favorite item from my shop, A Lily In The Garden , and win a pair of these earrings -

They're made from recycled soda cans and are super lightweight so they're as easy on your ears as they are the environment. You can find them here. I can make them as studs or even clip on if preferred. Don't like the colors? I have dozens to choose from!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Busy, busy weekend.

Wow, where to start? A good chunk of the fence is up and the deck is completely torn out. We have a crew coming to do some more clearing and haul away the debris tomorrow. It will be nice to see all that gone. Of course, I had to get some "in work" shots. My favorite is of Em wielding the drill.

My designer's block has lifted. I did a new optician's lens called Song of Persephone. A comment by a friend triggered a second piece - Lament of Demeter. I don't have pictures of the latter, but here is Song of Persephone. I'll get pics of the Demeter piece tomorrow weather permitting.

It felt good to do another piece. The optician's lens necklaces are perhaps my favorite thing to make. Each one has its own story, character. I don't think I could replicate one if I wanted to.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

What a racket!

OK, so we're redoing our deck and fence in the backyard. Being responsible citizens, we're following proper procedure and getting the right permits. What this means is we need paperwork from the county, the city, and WSSC (I think). No problem, wait... yes problem, each of these entities carries a fee and requires an inspection at various points in the project. What a stinking rip-off. I swear Maryland is one of the most money-grubbing states in the country. We're getting nickle and dimed at every turn in this project. Ridiculous. What really burns me is they're trying to bring in slots because there is no money for the schools. (Brilliant, create a gambling problem in a struggling economy. Great plan, huh?) How about we get rid of these nonsensical bureaucrats and channel THAT money into the schools? There would be more than enough to go around.

Ok, had to get that off my chest. In spite of governmental regulation the project is going very well. We even had some company out there today.

One of the reasons the deck got so bad is for the last five or six years we have had tenants. Usually a family of rabbits and for the last two years a family of groundhogs. Needless to say, I wouldn't let my husband tear up with deck with babies under it. This was the first year we had no wildlife. I'm pretty sure it has something to do with the new family and the Lab they let run loose. I would be more upset about it but this is also the first time in a while I didn't have to call out animal control to deal with skunks under the shed. But I digress. This little guy hopped over pretty close and was gracious enough to wait until I got my camera.

I'm a sucker for the local animals. Two years ago a robin built her nest in our crabapple tree. Unfortunately for her, they were replacing the gutters on our street right around the time the eggs were hatching and the tree was very close to the street. It took some effort and some threats to contact the media but I was able to convince them to save us for last and that gave the babies time to grow enough to fly away. My husband thought I was nuts. I'm sure the city felt the same way. Whatever. Those three little birds at least got a chance.

The upgrade to the steampunk pictures is going well. I now know green isn't really that good of a background color. Oh well, sometimes you just have to try things and see how they'll work.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Part of the reason I opened A Lily In The Garden is I wanted to give my youngest an outlet for her art. Obviously being her mother, my opinion is somewhat biased. But anyone who knows me well knows I set the bar higher for family, not lower. Little did I know however, that ultimately I would prove to be the obstacle. Nonetheless, what are obstacles anyway but something to overcome.

So what am I babbling about? Cards, or more precisely, making them. It's a learning process for sure. More adhesives to master, paper types to learn, new tools, and totally different shipping techniques. We're getting there though, bit by bit. So far we've created little more cards featuring the art she did for the shop banner. See for yourself -

They're small, about business card sized. They're good for thank yous, gift tags, or even little notes dropped into lunches and briefcases. As we refine our technique, they're getting more and more plausible. Right now it takes too long to make them but we are getting faster. Currently I'm using the samples as little gifts with purchase for the shop. I haven't had any feedback on them, but I also haven't asked. This is the next design, I think -

I love the watercolor effect of her work. She also has an expansiveness to her pieces that I find very visually appealing. They give me the feeling of being able to breathe.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Wow am I tired!

We got the lumber for the deck delivered today, all two pallets of it. The guy showed up late and Mr. Lily had to leave for work so the girls and I put on our game faces and moved one of the pallets ourselves, a couple of boards at a time. It took us awhile and got tougher than expected as the wood was wet but we did it. A few bruises, couple of splinters, and a mosquito bite or two, not bad really. I can't wait until this is done and we have a new deck. I might actually learn to enjoy the backyard.

It was a busy work day too. Started out off with a great sale. Let me give other sellers some advice, don't be afraid to ship to an alternate address. Shipping to the confirmed PayPal address doesn't offer you as much protection as you think but making things easier for your customers (ie. shipping directly to the recipient rather than shipping to them so they have to ship to the recipient themselves) increases sales. I doubt I would have had the sale in the first place without working with the customer, much less a multiple item purchase without the offer of free upgraded shipping. Risk is an inherent part of business, all you can do in manage it. Just don't manage it so tightly you alienate potential regular customers.

I've been reworking my pictures in Bits & Bobs & Things Inbetween. It's unreal how far my jewelry photography has come. It was a real struggle for me. I mean, I can take pictures of people without an issue! But jewelry? Forget it! Ugh, talk about an Achilles heel. But perseverance pays off. They're still not exactly where I want them to be but see for yourself how they've improved -

Big difference, huh? I also took the time to go through the descriptions and tags and really tighten things up. It's like having new merchandise!

Speaking of new merchandise, I've got the coolest earrings to list in A Lily In The Garden. They're clear quartz and labradorite on sterling silver. The flash on the labradorite beads is just gorgeous! They're not listed yet but will be very soon. (Part of me is not ready to let them go.) Here -

I'm expanding my repertoire and starting to work with sterling silver and gold filled with gemstones. It really opens up new possibilities. It's more work but I'm glad I opened the second shop. I love steampunk, but I want to be able to dabble in anything.

Saturday, August 2, 2008


I can't believe I haven't mentioned Molly yet! Who's Molly? Here -

She's a six year old tortie-tabby shelter rescue. My youngest and I were at PetSmart earlier this week and decided to go over to the adoption center to see the kittens. All summer we've been trying to get a new kitten and it's just never worked out. While we were there, the grumpiest looking kitty ever made eye contact. She just sat there are stared at me. When I got close enough she reached through the bars of the cage to bat at my fingers and tried to pull my hand in to scratch her ears. Something about Molly's facial feature and coloring make her look likes she's always scowling.

It was love at first sight.

Despite her appearance, she is very mellow and fairly affectionate. She adjusted to Emily and I right away. She even tolerates my husband, something the other cats won't do. He's nice enough just a big guy. I took her to the vet for a check up Wednesday and it only took her about six hours to stop hating me. I'm supposed to put drops in her ears for the next two weeks but boy, that isn't going well. She lets me do it but won't come near me for the rest of the day. It's hard. She needs the drops but I don't want her getting an established routine of avoiding me. I'm ready to resort to bribery.

All in all, she's a wonderful kitty. Of course I don't know her story and I try not to jump to conclusions, there's no telling why she ended up in the shelter. It just makes me sick to think had they gotten there a day later, Molly might have been put down. From what I heard the shelters and rescues in my area are overwhelmed. This is the first time in a while they've had trouble placing the kittens. Spay and neuter, folks. A quick google search brought up this list of low/no cost spay and neuter programs - . Let's not have any more like Molly.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Meet Jesse Janes!

Every now and then I hang out on Etsy's Promotions forums. It's an extremely fast paced board about, well, promotions. There are threads to talk about your new items, your blog, to show items in certain colors, themes, all sorts of topics. About a week ago, I opened a giveaway thread and just happened to be the 500th heart.
The thread was started by Jesse Janes, you can see her shop here. As my prize she sent me one of her gorgeous tile pendants. The one I picked is just like the one below, but in red. This one is a sweet combination of pink and blue and is available in her shop here. The craftsmanship on mine is wonderful and I've received many compliments wearing it.

In addition to the bamboo style, she has lots of other tile pendants. Some are whimsical like this Rainbow Hearts piece.

I really like this keychain as well! You can find it here. Tell me this isn't perfect for those long car trips!

The shipping was fast, the pendant very well packed, and JJ is very friendly. So if you're looking for something for yourself or a gift for someone else, I can't recommend her shop enough! Stop by and pay her a visit.

photos used with permission