Wednesday, November 17, 2010

TEDxHouston - Brené Brown

This is such a great talk! Love Brene Brown.Such a great, great concept but so hard to embrace!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Necklace Display Redo

I have several old necklace displays that I was given years ago by a nice lady who was closing her jewelry business. They are inexpensive cardboard backed black velvet, quite beat-up & they don't match my setup. Needless to say, I don't use them very often. But I hate to throw them away & new displays are expensive. So I got the idea to recover them.

If you've looked at my booth pics, you know that it has an organic look. Lots of linen and wood. I wanted these to integrate into that theme. I got a spool of jute twine from Home Depot. Using a glue pen, I've wrapped the display front and back, top to bottom. It's looking really good! Much better aesthetically and also sturdier and heavier. Nice upcycling!!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Craft Show Photos and Tips

Hi yall!

Here are a few pics of my booth set-up from a show I did last weekend.


Earrings and a few bracelets

More necklaces

Flower Necklaces

Gift Boxes                                 
A few handy tips I've picked up doing shows and craft fairs:
- Invest in a hand truck/dolly. It will save you time and tiredness
- Tweak your display every time you use it. A clean professional display will draw customers to you. Think of it as your store front.
- Take pictures of your display and use them as reference for future shows.
- Don't take your booth down before the show is over. This show, I make a sale during the last 5 minutes!
- A tasteful giveaway, like the gift boxes above, can set you apart from other vendors and send more sales your way.
- Don't put out a bowl of candy for the kids. I love kids - have 3 of my own - but the candy bowl just causes mess and confusion. I keep lollipops under the table. If a child is having a hard time while the parent is trying to shop, I'll ask if it's OK to give them one.
- Pay the extra few $$ for a corner space. It pays off.
- A great tip another vendor shared with me a couple of years ago: Keep your business supplies in a rolling cart with drawers that you don't have to unpack each time. It's a great time saver.
- Keep a running list of what you bring to a show and what you wish you had. Keep that in your rolling cart as a double check that you've remembered everything.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Brave Girls Club

This is a reprint from the brave girls club daily email. They are fantastic!! Check them out at

Dear Beloved Girl,

Great frustration, hurt and anxiety can come from trying to get our worth and our acceptance from other people or from anything that is outside of our own selves and our own deepest truths.

Many of us want love more than anything in the world. We want love and we want acceptance...we want to be understood. Frustration comes when we do no accept the fact that we simply can not MAKE others love us, or accept us, or even understand us. This is why it is so important to first learn how to love ourselves....

When we can get in tune with our deepest truths....the truths that only come from listening to the very force that created us and placed this knowing inside of us.....we can find peace whenever we need it. When we do the work necessary to learn who we really are in spite of who the world may tell us we are....we can find the love and acceptance we so need...whether we have other people in our lives or not. We simply do not NEED to have constant reassurance from others....because there is a voice of knowing inside of us...a voice that comes from the only place that truly KNOWS who we are and what we are capable of.

Be o.k. with YOU, beautiful friend. Be o.k. with the moments of aloneness that come, and that sometimes stay. Be o.k. with sometimes feeling that no one understands or that no one is giving you exactly what you need.....because the only WHOLENESS of spirit that will come is from your own self and your own deepest truth. Be o.k. with this....this is where you will find peace. You can give your SELF love and acceptance, through listening to your deepest truths that come from your Creator. It will be real, true and authentic. And it will be enough.

It really will. It will be enough.

You are so very very loved.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Tis the season!...For Craft Fairs that is!

Just a quick post to share a few pics from last weeks Highlands Ranch Farmer's market. Busy, busy, busy making lots of great stuff for another show this weekend. Come see me at the Highlands Ranch Art and Craft Fair, Saturday and Sunday 9-5. Eastridge Rec Center!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What I learned in 2nd grade

Do you know that book, Everything I Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten? I'm thinking about writing my own version, except changing the title from Kindergarten to 2nd grade. (Just kidding!) I spent a couple of hours last week helping in my daughter's classroom and was so inspired by her wonderful teacher. My experience in the classroom got me thinking; balancing children, work and home responsibilities is a challenge for us all. What if we ran our own lives as successfully as she runs her classroom?

Some of  the things that stuck out in my mind:
- Every kid in the class knew where they were supposed to be and what they were supposed to be doing.

- I heard her say to a student more than once, "You are in charge of yourself. Are you telling yourself to do the right thing?"
- Big projects that weren't completed in time were put in the child's "work in progress" folder.
- Small assignments not completed were put in backpacks for homework.
- The teacher was willing and able to change the plan if needed.
-  Even though there was lots of structure and lots being accomplished, the kids - and the teacher - were still enjoying their work.

The biggest reminder for me was the importance of having a PLAN. It may, or may not, happen, but at least there is a clear direction for what's the most important and what to do first!! To me, that is one of the biggest challenges to working from home. There are so many distractions that you can be busy all day and yet have no idea what you've accomplished.

Keeping with this idea, I'm working with a friend of mine of accountability for the next few weeks. Could be interesting. More to come...

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Up Late

I have a show on Saturday and I've been making jewelry like a mad women. Last night I got in the zone with this variation of my flower pendants. Sterling silver with chalcedony quartz nuggets. Love it! Worth the lost zzzzs!!

Saturday, September 04, 2010

1000 Cranes

I took my kids to the local library this week and was delighted by a temporary art installation of paper origami cranes. These cranes were in honor of Sadako Sasaki and they were just beautiful. In total there were 4000!! paper cranes.

Here are the cranes hung from the balcony. Looking at them from below.

Here they are from above - looking down at the floor below.

Each crane was made by a library patron. Quite an impact!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Satuday Morning

Kids made a pretend tent this morning. Little boy really missed his back to school sisters this week.

Friday, August 20, 2010


So I finally listed these scrabble tile collage necklaces on my website. I've been making these for awhile & they're a big hit at shows. It'll be interesting to see how they do online. I did this photography at the beach in NC and I'm SO happy with the way it came out. You just can't duplicate that kind of light! Here's the link:

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Change These 3 Things for a Happier, Creative Life

This is a repost from my friend Sally Evans' newsletter. I can't say enough good things about Sally! She is a wonderful creativity coach and helped me during a very difficult time in my life. Links to reach her are: and

Change These 3 Things for a Happier, Creative Life
Do you ever feel like you are on a roller coaster ride? One minute you feel like you have things figured out and are excited to start. And the next minute you lose focus or momentum and feel frustrated and unsure about what you want.

I notice that with myself, clients, and friends, that you usually do know what would make you happy.

The answers to what would make you happy and why are usually consistent with your values and the things that matter to you, which typically don’t change too much.

Most of the problems and challenges are in the HOW and THE WAY you go about getting what you want.

3 Blocks to Your Creativity, Success, and Happiness

I Don’t Know How, So There.
You may know what you want to accomplish but you don’t know how and it stops you in your tracks. End of story.

Another variation of this is to say, “I can’t because….” without exploring the possibilities.

Everyone has a learning process in figuring out how to do something and there is plenty of help out there.

Here are just a few ideas of where to start:

  • Read a How to Book
  • Research the Internet
  • Take a Class
  • Join a Group
  • Get a Coach
  • Find a Mentor
  • Find someone who is doing something similar and study what they do.
There is never only one way to do things. You may come up with a creative solution if you give yourself a chance.

All or Nothing Thinking 

 Do you ever get caught up in feeling like there is only one way to be happy?

For example, some may feel like they will ONLY be happy if they make their living doing what they love.

It usually takes time and patience to make a full time living at what you love so you may want to start on the side until you get things going.

The way achieve your goal doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

Do the things that you love in your life in various ways. You might do them for a living full time or part time, you might volunteer your expertise, you might do something just for fun.

Figure out ways to add more of what you love into your every day life.

The Only Thing that Matters is the End
Have you ever worked on something with such tunnel vision that when it was over, you only had a brief moment of happiness that you achieved your goal but realized you put the rest of your life on hold while you did it?

Your quality of life depends on how you spend your moments and days. It is important to have time for play, exploration, and fun. And who says you can’t do that and focus at the same time?

How can you make things easier? How can you make things more fun or enjoyable? Ask these questions over and over.

Sally Evans is a Creativity Coach, Artist, and Author. She inspires you to let go of your inner critic and to create the life you want by using your creativity.

Get your free copy of 9 Tips to Create a Life You Love, at

Monday, August 16, 2010

Decide, from CRESCENDOH

This post is from Jenny Doh's great blog and website, Crescendoh. Here's the link  Run, don't walk and check it out. Good, good stuff!

Delay. Fear. Denial. Indecision. Worry. 
When combined, they can cause BAD to become TOXIC.
IMG_9895The antidote? Ask yourself:
  • Who am I?
  • What do I value?
  • What mark do I want to make within my lifetime?
  • What is my mission?
Once we are able to honestly answer these questions, tremendous clarity finds its way into our lives. And this clarity equips us with confidence, decisiveness, and values-driven focus that allows us to dismiss that which doesn't align with our mission, and embrace that which does align. 
It's as simple and complex as that.

Thanks for coming by today!! Jane
M Jane Designs

Friday, July 30, 2010


Just a quick post to say that I'm still out of town visiting with my family. This is a shot I took while still on the NC coast. It's so beautiful there! Now in the central part of the state at my parent's house. We will be here just another few days, helping out with some chores and getting in a couple of quick visits with friends. Spending so much time with my aging parents leads me to much thought about life. How brief it is. What a short time we are here. How important it is to value each day. How important it is to honor yourself as well as those you love. Lots to think about.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Hello From The Beach

We are in Topsail Beach, NC for our annual beach vacation. I grew up here and my parents still live in nearby Chapel Hill. My father just turned 80 and is not in very good health. This may be our last trip here with him, so the whole experience is bitter sweet. Some things are the same as they are every year. It's hot and humid; the kids are sandy; we've all eaten too much fried food and fudge. The ocean is beautiful and enticing. As with all family vacations, there are many good times and some old - less than good - family dynamics in play. Not much jewelry making going on, but I did bring some pieces to photograph and I'm building some new pages for the website on my laptop during the downtime. When the kids play hard all day, they are ready to collapse at bedtime...leaving Mom a few minutes to myself.

Check out my jewelry at: M Jane Designs !

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Berry Pickin'

Friday we headed about an hour north to pick berries at Berry Patch Farms. I've never done this with my kids before and thought it would be a cool experience...or it could be awful! never know with kids. We got there around 10 and stayed 'till 12. (They were closing early because of the holiday weekend.) Overall, it was a great experience and I'd do it again. The entrance is a charming old fashioned red barn with a country store. There were very cool roosters, chickens and turkeys to look out - and apparently a pig too, although we never found her. They have a tractor driven wagon to take you out to the fields and the driver was really nice and helpful. A few things I'd do differently: check to make sure that something was actually in season to pick, take a water bottle into the field for the kids, and bring along a friend.
The pictures are really cute. However, I had a discussion with a friend the other day, how people always post cute happy pics of their kids - but leave out the gory details that all parents know all too well. So in the interest of honest blogging, I will report that it was not all sunshine and smiles at the berry patch. My 4 year old son was done with the whole thing after about 20 minutes. Being 4, he planted himself in the middle of a furrow and commenced to scream and cry that he a) wanted a juice box b) wanted his Daddy c) wanted to go home - NOW! 
There was also the issue of the potty. Both younger kids had to go as soon as the wagon dropped us off in the middle of farmville. There was a very nice CLEAN porta johnny right there, but of course neither wanted any part of that. So there was a good 20+ minutes of threats and crying to get them in there and get the job done.
If you ask them now if they enjoyed it, they'll all say yes with a lot of enthusiasm. Even the little guy. But that's the thing about kids. They don't remember the bad parts too much, just the good ones. They focus on the positive Another lesson they taught me at the berry patch. Way more important than water bottles or bathroom breaks.

Check out my jewelry at: M Jane Designs !

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

BUSY today!

Wow, this has been a busy day! All kids home + a neighbor kid, took husband to airport, worked out, delivered an order (almost...) and posted new pieces to the website. When the kids go back to school I'll feel like I have all the time in the world!! Check out the two bracelets I just posted to my website. I love them both so much I almost don't want to sell them!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Word Cloud

I love a word cloud! Do you all know what a word cloud is? It's a computer script that will take the random words you enter and arrange them in a creative way. For example, in the one above I used the text from my blog posts to create the cloud. Some programs will make words bigger that are used more often. You can usually pick the colors and also try the words in lots of different configurations. Really fun, and revealing too. When you see what you've been focusing on rearranged in an abstract way, it's takes on a whole other meaning. It can give your words a beauty and importance (maybe false?) that you might otherwise miss. Give it a whirl. Fun stuff.

Today I'm going to complete a stamped custom necklace for a graduating teacher. The words are in Hawaiian. How cool is that!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

New Earrings on Website!

I just added sterling silver spiral swirl earrings in 3 sizes to the website. Check 'em out!!

Simple Mom Downloads

I'm all about finding ways to keep myself on track. Came across these downloads yesterday on . I really like the Daily Docket, which I shrunk down to fit in my notebook.
I've kept a daily todo notebook for a couple of years. It's based on Brook Noel's great book "Change Your Life Challenge". You can find it here  However, with the kids out of school & the schedule being looser, I've been letting the daily list slide a bit. (OK, a LOT!) This new download has gotten me back on track - for now... : )

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Father's Day Crafts

It's the day before Father's Day and I woke up this morning and realized we'd done NOTHING! I came up with some cute, fast, cheap, fun little projects that will save my you-know-what tomorrow. Maybe yours too!!

King For The Day Crown
This gift will be from my 7 year old daughter. I printed the template from When I was printing out the template, I also printed out photos of my husband and the kids. I cut out the faces and glued them onto the crown. I had my daughter color the template and put on some sticker "jewels". Then we cut it out and taped it together. Very easy!!

Daddy, I Love You Card
I found this poem on . I printed the poem out and a pic of my son. Glued the poem and pic onto a blank card. Then I had my son make his hand print and write his name. Awesome!

We also did the old stand-by tshirt. Honestly, mostly because I had the stuff here! Still cute though.

Blogger will not let me rotate this pic. You get the idea.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Blue Sea Bracelet

Another bracelet from that giant heap o' beads I brought back from Santa Fe. This one has some interesting elements. Left to right: sterling silver wire shaped into a coil; next is Tagua Nut; then blue fluorite; center circle is fine fused silver hammered and textured; repeat of other side; then lastly a silver swirly shape forged out of heavy sterling wire. This was so fun! It really hangs well on the arm too. I'll post if for sale soon. I have SO many ideas in my head this summer for things to make!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Open Hands

When I was running this morning I came accross these little hand prints in the sidewalk. They are quite small - toddler size - and had filled with gravel. I must have walked past them a dozen time, but had never seen them. Little hands pressed into concrete, a moment saved for a lifetime. Being outside running clears my head. I see things more clearly & feel stronger, not just physically, but inside too. Open hands...

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Note to self: soccer ball birthday cakes involve lots of black frosting. Which can make every kid attending look like Gene Simmons in full stage make-up.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Fall apart

Fall apart, originally uploaded by ventisette.

Not much to say today. It's raining here and I've been pretty lazy. Just saw this on flickr. So true, isn't it?

Friday, June 11, 2010

1st Round

So, here's the 1st design from all those stones. This is my favorite kind of bracelet to make - all sorts of colors and shapes mixed up together! Here's we have some fluorite, tagua nut, fresh water pearl, forged silver, stamped brass, and some quartz. Whew! That's a lot of elements!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

What Will It Be

See all these beautiful blue, brown and silver beads? I bought these when I was in Santa Fe. How many months ago was that? They've been laying on my work table begging to become something lovely & I going to give them their wish. I haven't made any bracelets in a while, & that's what I had in mind when I selected these. I'll let you know what they become!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

You Are Enough

I'm going to start off by saying that I'm pretty whiny today. I have a little bit of a cold and my muscles ache and my head hurts. Also, just coming off of a stressful weekend full of company, activity and family drama. I'm sure this adds to my general feeling of exhaustion and strong desire to lay in bed with a box of cookies and watch reruns of The OC. But I'm trying to fight it and add something of value to the world, so here goes.

I drug myself out for a run yesterday and had a couple of Oprah ah-ha moments. The first was regarding company coming. I wonder why it is that many of us, myself included, feel the need to completely redo the outward appearance of our lives when company comes? I cleaned and organized and rearranged till midnight! Granted, it did look damn good when I was done. But what was so wrong with everything that I felt the need to change it? Answer? Nothing! My house is not perfect on a daily basis, but it does look OK.

I have 3 kids who are all home for summer vacation. There are toys in the family room. There is sand by the patio. If you look closely there is probably a Popsicle wrapper and a couple of cheerios under the couch. So what? Things are generally clean. The dishes are done and the counters are wiped everyday. Most of the clothes are washed and at least on their way to being hung up. It's all OK. The next time we have company, I'm going to try to resist the urge to think that I have to change to present the perfect image that is in my head. Let you know how that goes.

The other revelation of sorts is a little harder to completely wrap my head around. We've all heard the phrase "you are enough". I think yesterday it actually resonated and sunk into my consciousness a bit. As I was running (awkwardly & slowly btw) I thought, "why not me"? There is no magic that anyone else has that I do not posses within myself as well. The only thing that stands in my way is the limitations that I put on myself. This is true of running, true of work, true of relationships. It is true for all of us. Get out of your own way and see where you can go...

Monday, June 07, 2010

All This Beauty

Snapped this day lilly in the front garden this morning. I'm so thankful for the beauty that is all around us.