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Archive for August, 2009

The 3 Little Affairs-A Frugal Fable

August 31st, 2009 at 05:40 pm

Once upon a time there were 3 crafting entreprenuers.

Forward Fashion Number One concentrated on just two kinds of products and (probably unconsciously) made them to follow the style of the moment.

Sweet Thing Number Two had an abundance of good intentions but never built her dream.

Practical Personality Number Three sweated the slow days, rejoiced in the occasional big day, and kept on keeping on.

All three had success, albeit in varying degree. Which was I?

WOW! I did some summer accounting to help me decide how much to spend at this weekend's Gem and Mineral Wholesale show.

May-Aug Expenses
Fees for 10 Sat Farmer Market Booths ~ $115
Fee for annual Art Assoc membership ~ $130
State Sales Tax ~ $80
Fee for annual City Biz License ~$55
TOTAL Summer Fees ~ $380

May-Aug Income
New Consignment/Wholesale Order ~ $75
Art Assoc Earnings ~ $ 115
Farmer Market Sales ~ $275
Special Weekend Market (new one) ~ $75
TOTAL Summer Earnings ~ $540

I am amazed I had such great income over the summer!! A couple of the sources are not necessarily going to repeat next summer. But I guess I am committed to hard work and finding something to take their place!

and naturally, the best part is skipping off to the gem show with about $100 in my pocket.

Watch here for what will be some gorgeous new designs after Sept 7th like these!

IOLITE and PERIDOT TASSEL EARRINGS

Mini chip peridot strands anchored by sparkling onion cut iolite briolette. Sterling posts.

Oh and for those of you that got this far...here's a coupon for BOGO Ben&Jerry's sundae good 8/31/09 only
http://benjerry.com/scoop-shops/feature/sundaes-on-mondays/

Gem Show Jitters

August 28th, 2009 at 03:06 pm

Worried about spending too much! The wholesale gem and mineral show is coming to town in a week and is on my schedule.

This is a somewhat infrequent occurrence, a couple times a year or less, at least within convenient driving distance. There are larger and more more varied events, but they are regional and cost more in time and lodging.

Much of my needed supplies are best suited to buying at such a show. Why?

#1: Not for your eyes only.
Handling and feeling the stone (or glass or pearl) items in person is vastly superior to ordering on the internet. How many times have you made a purchase on the net only to receive the item and it is smaller, less weighty, off color or different than your expectations? It's no surprise a photo shows only the very best qualities of a product, (and not the flaws).

#2: The Bargain Hunt
Prices can be lower in person and shipping is non existent. I'm not above bargaining at a wholesale show and have been successful in receiving multiple item discounts, cash discounts, and more.

#3: Chasing the Elusive
Hard to find and specialty items are available. Such as tools for the hobby jeweler. The local hardware store does not carry nylon pliers. And you must hold them before buying to check the fit/comfort in your hand. Have you ever bought a chef's knife before holding it? Didn't think so.

...Pause for a message from your friendly frugal artisan...

LIMITED TIME OFFER - FREE JEWELRY BOX
Red brocade, new, compartmented jewelry box with purchase of any featured item (click on the link below).

Pretty Cheap Jewelry


Just ask for it at check out. Hurry, only 1 left.


Sooooooooo....
What strategies do you advise in controlling spending?

A: Staying Black.
How about determining mid-year profit and investing the cash to prepare for holiday stock? After the month's end I will compute summer sales vs. summer expenses. Drat those big fees in July! My city business license, state sales tax, and farmer's market booth fees added up! My intuition senses I have broke even from June-Aug.

B: Getting Red.
Every weekend in Nov is booked with holiday fairs, and a much larger opportunity is in the works to have merchandise in the city shopping mall. A couple new additional events might also be added to my schedule. Based on last several years earnings, a modest income can be forecast.

C: The grocery philosophy.
Make a list, stick to it and shop the perimeter? Well, making a list is very crucial. Nothing like walking into the store, getting dazzled with the entryway displays and forgetting what you came for, right? There are certain things I really must get now, like gold filled wire or sterling chain. These are staples and I'll regret if I don't have on hand in the next 6 months.

Thanks for any help you offer below!

Playing with Rocks

August 19th, 2009 at 09:48 pm

Thank heaven for a frugal hobby! Spending my last week of freedom making something out of almost nothing (school starts next week and I go back to work during the day).

Low Cost Stone Pendants
Collect rocks for polishing, especially if they are in a Rock Hounding guide and known to shine well. We went on a road trip for summer vacation and made a point of stopping at rock collecting sites which we knew were nearby!

Give the tumbler a whirl. OK, I happen to have one, including a supply of grit. This part of the hobby is not without cost but is fairly reasonable. Naturally I plan to polish stones for a number of years.

Let time pass. Check stone conditions and change grits as needed. These took a few weeks total.

Now for the hard part. Experiment with wire wrapping into pendants. It takes practice but wire is cheap!

Alternatively, glue fold-over bails on the flatter ones. If you get really ambitious, make your own bails and glue on smaller pieces. (I'll do this for some pairs that might make good earrings).

Voila!

Fan Fare

Shell pattern in midnight blue wire over bluesy-green agate. Hung on double blue-black string accented with sodalite and silvertone beads.

Upward Spiral

Marble-look agate in tan, greys and white held in double spiralled wire.

Copper Cage

Zig Zags everywhere over red agate. Copper wire and black leather strand.

Hands Across the Rocker

Free form fun in simple silvertone wire around black speckled agate.

Your feedback welcome (especially on that wild copper one!)

Why are these Frugal?

August 12th, 2009 at 02:14 pm

Why do you suppose these are frugal?
In preparation of festivals every weekend in November, as well as a possible holiday storefront for the Art Assoc in my full-time town, I'm using as much of the summer vacation to create jewelry and build inventory. Only 2 more weeks free time until kids go back to school, and I go back to the day job. My hands are getting tired...

Anyway, these are made using the last few garnet gems, cubic zirconia briolettes, and choice odds and ends in the box. NEVER say never to a bead. So glad to have found them a place in the cosmos. So it's definitely a frugal use on my end.

DREAM PUFF RING

Pearl, ruby red garnet, and more in 14K GF wire.

BLUESY GREEN BRACELET

Casual mix of stone, glass, and metal. Unlock a heart with the charms.

ICE CREAM DELICIOUS EARRINGS

Ruby red garnets like a cherry on top of a scoop of whipped cream white freshwater pearls. 14K GF

VOYAGER RING

For the adventurous in colors of the far flung seas, lands, and skies. 14K GF wire.

GRAPE CLUSTER EARRINGS

Concord colored bunches of pearls, cz, and stone. 14K GF

Free, Firsts, Fun, Frugal

August 7th, 2009 at 01:53 pm

Chim chimminy, chim chimminy, chim chim cheree. OK, nevermind Dick Van Dyke - Don't you love those chalk art thingy's?

This weekend is a Chalk on the Walk event and guess who is coming?
Lorelle Miller. Think Sistine Chapel, Boticelli, flowing robes.

For the first time a Marketplace is going to be held and I jumped at the chance to have a booth. The event management was so practical!! "We're not going to charge vendors since we would feel bad if no one made any sales being this is the first year!" WELL. Another first!

Here's a few pieces I'm taking out for the first time too:

GRAPE BUNCH EARRINGS


RECYCLED GUITAE STRING BANGLE-PEACH PEARL


BUTTERFLY NECKLACE

Building it and it is COMING!

August 3rd, 2009 at 01:52 pm

Should have written this down, but it's such a pervasive goal I couldn't forget it anyway.

Most merchandising profit comes at the winter holiday season, right? Obvious. Happily, I've had the pleasure of my books at least breaking even after the end of the year.

After several years of busting my b*tt breaking even, it would be nice to make a little profit. While staying true to the raison d'etre, 'Great Quality @ Inexpensive Prices'.

Subliminally I knew I wanted to increase sales during 'off season' times of the year. Especially summer.

For the 2nd year, the local citizen group had an art/crafts area at the Farmer's Market. I participated in about 1/2 the available Saturdays last year to get exposure for me and the event. I signed up for 2/3 of the Saturdays this year.

The books aren't done, but it's going fine. I expect to have a small profit. Nothing large, but worth the time and effort.

Don't count me just lucky. Yes, it was fortune that the persons who organized the event knew me and asked me to come in on the ground floor. But I am smart and savvy enough to be out there NETWORKING so that I am known!! Yes, it was a relief that the management charged a fair fee, a percent of sales or a very nominal flat rate so the sellers would not be in the red. But it's hard work to pack/plan/transport and display, make sales, break down/store and do it all again in a week.

OK, count me lucky, because I enjoy it.

Now have a peek at the Spin Necklace!