Welcome to My Blog...

where I will promote the karat gold and sterling silver genuine gem stone jewelry that I lovingly design and fashion as well as muse over the daily doings of my American family struggling to keep our heads above water in 2010.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Overdue Declutter Over Heahhhhhh...

We moved into a tri-level split from a small single family home that we were bursting out of about eight years ago. With 2 of our 6 children and my mother-in-law, it was a necessary move and we just about doubled our living space.

I've never been a collector - and though I do have beautiful antiques passed down from my family - my home had been pretty clutter free for many years.

Well, that was then...and this was now.

Everywhere I look in my house now has clutter!

Why you ask?

Well - it's a long story.

And I want to keep it kinda short, so I'm just going to fast forward all of the gory details.  Those of you with families can read between the lines, I'm sure.

OH, one important detail that points directly at me - and I don't want to call anyone else in my dear family out - is that I make jewelry...and I sell miscellaneous items on eBay.....hmmmm.... starting to make sense? 

Well, at the end of last week, I was reading one of my fav blogs Spicybugz World ...she has a kinda crazy life like I do and another of my fav bloggers, Ruth, from Ruth's Creations had recommended quite gently that clutter issues can be dealt with with the help of Flylady.

WOW - I hit the link...browsed a few minutes...joined and have been shaming myself for 3 days now.

I cannot emphasize enough that this is a website that has something for every brand of clutterer and clutter in your home.  So, if you are a juvenile offender, a repeat offender or a bonafide hoarder there is help for you.

I guess this was the kick in the butt I needed.  There are so many great causes right now that can use your excess goods.  My local state police barracks is collecting clothing and useable goods for the victims of the Haiti earthquake.  Our local Big Brother Big Sister also collects household items and clothing for local families less fortunate. 

So, for the last three days, I've been decluttering.  I will part with extra sheets, towels, curtains, bed ensembles, blankets, dishes, winter clothing, and general clothing for elders, children, teens and adults.  I have walkers, canes, baby booster seats, televisions, stereos, tables & chairs, couches and on and on.

I know how to do this...I've just been putting it off.

But no more...

This is it!

Thank you Ruth...and FlyLady - though I will really explore her website when I feel like less of a victim and more victorious!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Kids Almost Always Need Their Moms...

Even when they grow up...

I know I am lucky to hear from and see my adult kids all of the time.

I have 4 kids from my 1st marriage and Hubby has 2, together which makes 2 sons and 4 daughters and 4 grandsons and 1 granddaughter.

When they were young and had trouble getting along, I stressed to them that they needed to be able to resolve conflicts on their own.  Life lessons, right?

How could I possibly take sides about who was right and who was wrong? 
How could I know what really had happened? 
How could I know who was telling the truth? 

After all it is all so subjective...and how could I judge between all of these kids that I loved soooo much?

My bottom line became "If you cannot get along together in the same room, then separate until you can".

What I didn't count on was that here they are all well seasoned adults and they still come to me to resolve their differences.  

It's just as tough!


Rather than focusing on the negative, or how they cause me angst at times...I am still smiling.

I know that many parents due to time and distance see their children and grandchildren not nearly enough and I am so blessed to see (most of) mine several times a week if not weekly. 

During the summer, our house with the large backyard and pool is party central and we all have a blast.

Holidays, weekends, school vacations, any excuse...we make great use of the terms "parents" and "family" and we love it!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pregnancy Pact in MA City.....

OK - let me say first that I know that this movie premiere on Lifetime tonight is fiction...

It is loosely based on fact about a coastal seaport in MA where there was a huge spike in teen pregnancy in 2008, supposedly the result of a pregnancy pact between 17 girls as I remember from the news reports, but 18 girls in the movie.

I saw on my local news channel yesterday and again this morning that the families of some of the young girls are angry and upset that this movie was made, and vowed not to watch it.

Well, I'm watching it. And it doesn't matter to me whether it is fact based on a series of incidents in MA or Anytown, USA.

This is a real concern as we parents work to raise our children to be happy and healthy adults.  We want them to make choices, informed choices and to be aware that they ARE making choices every day - yes, even when they are 13 or 14 or 15 etc.

We also want to raise them to be responsible for their choices...so that life doesn't just "happen" to them.

So yes, this means talking about sex and pregnancy when our children are young...really young.  And it also means talking to our boys as well as our girls so that boys understand that they have a responsibility to the unplanned (or planned) child as well. 

I realized that I missed the boat with my oldest daughter when she was not quite 12 yrs old.  We were driving in my car...all 4 of my kids were with me and my oldest spotted a young girl wheeling a baby stroller up the hill we were driving down.  She remarked "I think it is so unfair that people talk bad about teenage girls having babies".


I really panicked inside as I saw our generation gap for the first time.

What I wanted most for her to avoid as a "poor choice" in a limitless world for her was in fact to her indeed a "normal" phenomenon and "no big deal". 

It was a true eye opener for me, and only the beginning of unforseen issues I had to deal with way before I felt ready for them.

So - what's the lesson here?

Talk to your kids...constantly...

Don't be afraid to set your standards to them...

I found that car rides with one child at a time were a really good place to touch base.  It's a neutral place and you don't have to be so "in your face" that your child can relax and open up to you.

And finally...avoid denial...for whatever happens to someone elses child can just as easily happen to yours.

Of course teen pregnancy is only one issue of many potential interruptions in our childs future...soooo
Ditto: Cigarettes, Drugs, Alcohol....

Don't give up - the journey is long - but worth every minute!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Politics Has Me Beat...Back to Jewelry!

I'm sure that I am in good company with these sentiments.

So, took and edited pics from my most recent ring designs.  I'm going to show you one today.  It's what is called a bypass ring where the setting or mounting curves above and below the actual set gemstones.

In this case you will see a Sterling Silver Bypass Ring set with Sapphires in Yellow and Green.

The ring is a size 7...and it is 2.9 grams.
It is soooo darned pretty.
I'll probably list it on Etsy where my rings get the most attention. 

I wish they sold like they collect hearts tho (sm)...
If you're interested in this ring it will sell for $24.99.

Any interest in how to set gemstones?
It's a challenging job, but it relaxes me....well at least when I'm not crushing Emeralds - or Opals - or Agate...
You know, occupational hazards!!!

See ya tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Fall Out From MA Senate Election

Phew....I'm tired.

I live in Massachusetts and we just finished (like you don't know-sm) our special election to fill the late Ted Kennedy's senate seat.

It was a full two weeks of back to back to back to back commercials from each of the candidates (Martha Coakley and Scott Brown) and their supporters.


Today I joined in the nationwide online and social network debate as to the pros and cons of republican Scott Brown's victory over democrat Martha Coakley.  Maybe I should have skipped it.

As a democrat (although a somewhat conservative one) I just cannot understand how we all (dems and gop's) have the same concerns but percieve the way to get relief so differently.

I mean, no one volunteers to get layed off (like I did 2 yrs ago after working in an industry for 22 yrs), but I did...
I wish I could get another job - in ANY industry, but I have not been able to...
I wish I wasn't living under the threat of foreclosure, but I am...
I wish that my health insurance premiums (obtained through my husbands retirement benefits) hadn't gone up significantly TWICE in the last 6 months - along with the deductibles and co-pays, but they have...

I can't pretend to have the answers to all of these issues... heck no... but we won't find the answers in the extremists diatribe either.  We won't even touch the real issues without some real bi-partisan diologue on the local and national level.

And the TRUTH!

Give us all the strength to recognize it when we hear it.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Martin Luther King Day (to me)

I was raised in Boston, MA.

I am the 1st daughter and second child of 6 children.

My parents and grandparents were 1st and 2nd generation Irish Catholics practicing liberal democratic politics during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's.

I attended freedom school during the boycott of the Boston Public School system in 1963 over segregation in the neighborhood schools.  Over 8,000 black children participated in this event.  I was one of very few white children in the church classrooms. The particular issues raised and dealt with at that time were lesser quality teaching materials, lack of any "Black History" for black students, lack of black teachers as role models in the community and crumbling classrooms. 

I took classes in Black History, was introduced to text books about formerly unknown black history makers and scholars and sang "We Shall Overcome" with the conviction of a young girl who had been forever touched.

In 1965 I marched alongside Martin Luther King and Reverend Ralph Abernathy to the Bostom Common in a Freedom March - linking arms and swinging my red scarf proudly.  I was 10 years old. 

My parents "bused" their children to schools in black neighborhoods.  I attended programs in all black neighborhoods and finished my high school education in Copley Sq at a program that originated in Dorchester, MA called the Model Demonstration Sub-System Senior HS.  At the time I was part of a 14-20% minority population of white students.

It was an incredible upbringing.  Did I feel that I "belonged"?  Yes I did, due to the nurturing that I received from the key black leaders in the programs that watched out for their "experimental" white students.  I had a thick skin, and recognized the sameness of the bigotry that I had seen in my white neighborhood as no different or more right than any bigotry that I experienced as a minority in the black community.

When I was about 12 yrs old I complained to my father that since I hadn't been alive during slavery in America, and that neither I or my family members had participated in the segregation of blacks, why did I or we have to pay the price in the world that we lived in?

My father very wisely and sternly explained that as long as I had a white face in a world where blacks continued to be segregated, where prejudice against blacks still prevailed then, I too, would bare the guilt and the shame of those before me.

"Lift Every Voice and Sing" (the Black National Anthem) I learned this anthem as a very young girl and sang with Martin Luther King proudly then and now as I live his legacy in my everyday life to bring equality to all regardless of race, color or creed.

Happy Birthday!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday Night...

Hubby and I went out for fish and chips tonight.  This is the best part about living just outside of the largest fishing port in the US.  We didn't go to a fancy restaurant for fresh fish...we went to a cozy diner - and it was great!

We were expecting a couple of our kids to visit this evening - so made our way home quickly.  It's been a nice night.  Just hanging out with them...talking about the good old days - and a few of the so-so old days.

Reading email, checking my auction stats, trying to figure how to get to know YOU better!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

25% Discount on Jewelry for My Blog Readers

OK - so I was thinking...how can I increase my sales and my blog readership at the same time?  I can't afford to give away the store, but I can offer a 25% discount on all jewelry in my Etsy shop to my blog readers...

So, here's the deal.  If you have read this promo on my blog take a quick visit to my Etsy shop, pick some stuff out,  contact me through Etsy and use promo code "25jjblog" so that I know to discount your purchase.  If you prefer to buy and pay without the discount up front I will reimburse you when I process your order. 

Here's a new listing for you to ponder...
It's a gorgeous new Smoky Quartz Pendant set in Sterling Silver with a 20 Inch chain for $35.00. Well, that's before your discount - right?

Oh yeah - before you have to ask...this will remain in effect until midnight 1/21/09.

Take a chance...What do you have to lose???

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Beatles Rock Band - SO Much Fun!

Hubby and I got the Beatles Rock Band for the Wii for Christmas.  We are having so much fun with it! I'm really thinking that we need to get another guitar and a couple more mics so that we can attempt some of the Fab Fours harmonies...

I'm the resident singer, my son is really good on the bass and my grandson Aiden prefers the drums.  I would love a break on the singing - but Hubby hasn't warmed up to the whole "karaoke" singing bit.  I have though...it is really a blast singing all of the old songs....that you kind of know by heart or at least you thought you did...(sm)

I'm thinking we'll be ready for a rock band party by the end of the month!

Cleaned jewelry this morning...took pics this afternoon and did some listing this evening....after my performance of course.

It was a fun day....

Friday, January 8, 2010

Found Jewelry...

I have had an eBay store for about 4 years now janaes jewels and jems .  I opened an Etsy store in March of 08, but didn't stock it up until August of 09 janaesjewels.  In addition, I have had .com and .net webstores that just didn't have enough "oomph" to justify the monthly fees plus the cost of doing business.  I have runs of good sales and here and there some really great sales...and then there are the dry spells. 

Long story short, I have TONS of inventory.  Every once in a while I'll destash and list pieces for cost just to make room for new styles and pieces.  Well, I did that late last summer and lo and behold I sold a watermelon quartz necklace that I couldn't find ANYWHERE.  I'm telling you - I tore my house up cause where the heck could it have gone?

Finally contacted the buyer, apologized profusely and offered her any other piece in my shop (up to a generous limit) for the same price.  So, I kept a happy customer but it has bothered me to no end.

Well, last night I found my mystery "lost" necklace.  And I now remember the exact circumstances that caused me to "lose" it.  I answered an alchemy request from a new b&m shop on Etsy that was looking for a wholesale lot of jewelry to buy.  Of course, since I design a full line of rings, bracelets, earrings and necklaces I made up a "to die for" lot of medium end jewelry at rock bottom prices.  After I took the pics, wrote the descriptions and put in a bid - I also put the lot of jewelry aside because I just KNEW that she would buy it.  Who wouldn't? 

Well, she didn't....actually I never heard from her (I was brand new - had no sales and no feedback in Etsy) and I totally forgot about it.  Found it last night!  OMG - like I said it was a good size lot including the missing watermelon quartz necklace...and amongst other pieces 5 sterling silver gemstone rings! 

I've thought about those rings in particular but figured I had sold them or given them away.

So, I've got to redo the pics and re-measure the gemstones, and resize the rings and bracelets for accuracy.  How the heck did I manage to lose so much? 

Well - it's a new year.  2010 will be my time to reorganize along with reenergizing. And, get to listing!

It can't sell if I don't list it...right?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Big Foot Tracks in the Snow - What Am I?

As previously stated, I am the only one in my suburban neighborhood (that borders woods) that admits to seeing wildlife in my woods and back yard.  Being a city girl (raised in Boston, MA) I am not very familiar with undomesticated animals.

You see, last year in early summer I saw what was to me a HUGE bird.  It was at least 4 feet tall with a very long neck and a very large butt of dull toned feathers about 12-15 feet ahead of me.  My pomeranian and I had just walked into the woods and we both froze when we saw the bird and we startled it as well.  I was doubly shocked when it started to lift off - it looked way to heavy to gain any height and as it lifted I worried about it clearing the trees - but it was OK. 

I've never seen it since...but what I have learned is that when I hear all kinds of "chattering" in the woods it is definitely indicative of a less than ordinary presence. 

Now, last January when I saw these tracks in my back yard I took pics so that fewer people called me crazy.  What baffles me is the stride....as it only looks like one foot at a time with 12-15 inches inbetween.  Also, the size of print which is enlarged due to the snow I'm sure...is still about 10-12 inches.

So what do you think?

The tracks went from the woods in my back yard to the driveway...have more but this is probably the best representative.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

No Formulas for Me AND Check Out These Birds!

I've noticed that many bloggers are using formulas for their day to day posts.  I wish I was clever enough to come up with some new original ones - I cannot even remember what Tuesday is supposed to represent. 

I really only recall that Wednesday is often "Wordless" which means pictures - and I'm not prepared for that either.  Besides, Wednesday in my house is "Wacky" or so says 6 yr old Grandson Aiden who stays with us on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and gets teased endlessly by Papa Rick...which is supposed to signify that it is Wednesday...

But it isn't...

It's still Tuesday!

HEY! Just thought of something...

I'm in the Northeast - 60 miles south of Boston in MA, to be exact.  We had significant snow over the past couple of weeks, and early Saturday morning, hubby called me to come look at the HUGE birds perched in the trees that border the woods behind my house.  There were 3 ...do any of you fine readers recognize them?  Let me know.  I'm the only one in my neighborhood that has rare/strange bird and animal sightings.  Maybe tomorrow I'll post some of the pictures of tracks in my back yard....

At any rate - the birds sat in my tree for about 3-4 hrs and then were gone.

Til tomorrow....

Monday, January 4, 2010

Down to Business in 2010...

I'm  keeping my head down and working on my jewelry like crazy rather than lamenting over my current financial situation.  I finished setting about 4 semi-precious sterling silver rings, one 14K yellow gold and one 14K white gold. I also listed about 12 rings on Etsy that I hadn't listed as yet.  Wanna see one?  Let me describe it 1st.  It is a 11x9.5mm Ruby set in a Sterling Silver setting with Butterfly prongs!  Well, 2 of the prongs are Butterflies - so it makes a Butterfly enclosure over the Ruby.  Tell me what you think....

This ring is selling on Etsy for $29.99 and is a size 9.  Oh, you want a link, right?  Well here it is (sm)

I've also been filling our job applications, attaching resumes and writing cover letters too.  I've got huge financial obligations - so got to get a wiggle on!  I would love a pep talk here and there.  It's always nice to get an objective point of view.

Til tomorrow!

Let's have an Open Conversation...

What can I do to help you today?
What can I learn from You today?

If you are an online seller you know that the competition is really tough. I design and craft jewelry for all occasions - so what makes me stand out in the crowd?
Is it my one of a kind designs?
Is it my quality metals, gemstones and attention to detail?
Is it my Brand? Pictures? Creativity?

I strive every day to try something new, to incorporate fresh ideas, to inspire new sales, to reach more of you.

Let's share together...Let's see where this goes!