October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and to help with the cause I will be donating 10% of my Etsy Shop sales for the entire month to Breast Cancer Connections. This is a Bay area organization that provides education, counseling, resources and community to those people diagnosed with cancer and their families. They also provide testing to those who do not have access to insurance to help them get screening. Breast Cancer Connections is very dear to me as they were there for me when I dealt with my own breast cancer ordeal and they really helped in answering my many questions. Please spread the word and help me support this awesome organization.
Yesterday I lost an earring, which is something I hardly ever do. However, when it happens, it can be extremely irritating. It’s these times that have made me establish my “Lost Earring” policy: if a customer loses one earring, I will sell them a single earring instead of making them buy a whole new pair. All they have to do is send me the lonely earring so I can match it. Does this sound good to you? Hint: your answer should be, “YES!!!”. Think about it for a moment. If you buy a pair of earrings at Macy’s, but then you lose one six months later, are they going to let you replace the lost one for half the price of the original pair? I don’t think so. In fact, I have had customers send me earrings they purchased in Italy to see if I can find a match and quite often I can!
I instituted the “Lost Earring” Policy because I’m not Macy’s, and that’s the beauty of handmade. I want to make sure my customers get plenty of enjoyment from their purchases. It’s always a bummer when you can’t wear your favorite earrings anymore because you lost one, and I want to help my customers keep on wearing their stylish Venetian bling for as long as possible.
“I did not know that places existed where the very landscape could shape so much of the life in and around it or that people could be so much a part of their environment or carry it within. ” I just read this on a photographer’s profile page on Etsy and just felt the need to share. Feel free to check him out here.
Our family has been fortunate enough to do a fair amount of travel – most recently to Kauai where the environment is so obviously a part of one’s life. You can feel that “live Aloha” attitude in the rhythm of the day and it is so easy to adapt to that feeling while vacationing there.
When we traveled last year through Canada and then on to Alaska, this was one of the things that truly stood out to me. Perhaps because we traveled such a long distance or through such varying landscapes. We experienced everything from the city atmosphere of Vancouver to the Calgary Stampede to the vast stretches of land in the Yukon to the fishing villages and wildlife of Alaska. It was especially evident that the environment shaped it’s people in these areas where the people had to adapt in order to thrive.
Artist’s often state that they are inspired by nature but they are not the only ones. We are all inspired by nature and by our environments and by the people around us. It is easy to find that when we travel but my hope is that you will find your inspiration daily in the space you call home. Thank you to Nicolas for this beautiful reminder.
We had a wonderful Italian meal last night that began with Carpaccio and Burrata. It so reminded me of the walking trip I took in Umbria a couple of years ago. The region is very well known for their cured meats and I remember many beautiful plates of meats, cheeses and crusty breads consumed of course with a nice bottle of red wine.
I don’t know that I have actually had Burrata before but it was so creamy and delicious that I had to find out more. Our waiter said that Burrata is the creamiest part of the mozzarella. But I also found a recipe stating that Burrata is mozzarella with a creamy center. You can find a recipe to make your own Burrata on the Sunday Suppers blog http://sunday-suppers.com/how-to-make-homemade-burrata/
With these wonderful appetizers we hardly needed dinner although we did enjoy salmon smothered in a light creamy tomato sauce and a perfectly cooked filet mignon. If you are looking for a family owned authentic Italian meal in the South Bay, I would highly recommend A Bellagio in downtown Campbell.
While exhibiting at Art & Wine Shows, one question that I have been asked several times is “How long does it take you to make a pair of earrings?” With a chuckle, I respond “After your first 500 or so pairs you get to be pretty quick.” This question makes me wonder, what is my customer really asking? I suspect they are trying to place a value on that one pair of earrings. So I thought I would share with you some of the steps that go into offering that one pair of earrings for sale.
My mission at Dolce Beada is to bring you jewelry that combines the traditions of Italian glass bead making with contemporary jewelry styles. This means selecting authentic high quality beads handmade in Italy. In doing this I am always researching new color trends and new styles with the best Venetian glass sources. Choosing new designs is always a risk. I want to offer a variety of choices but I also have to ask myself, “will this color appeal to my customers?” “which colors look best in this new design?” “Is this color going to be a classic or too trendy?” At the same time I am offering new designs, I have to make sure that I have plenty of my most popular styles on hand as well.
After I have made my decisions about which beads to buy and how many, I have to make sure that I have the other pieces I need to make the jewelry. So for earrings this would be the sterling earwires, the headpins and the small silver detail beads that I like to add to accent the Venetian beads. I try to have plenty of these supplies on hand so I can make batches of earrings at one time.
Because each of the Venetian beads are handmade, they all have a little of their own “personality”. So when I make earrings I have to hand match each pair. I look at the thickness, the size, the depth of color, even how the foil lays under the glass in order to match up the best pair of earrings. And sometimes a bead does not match well enough and ends up in my collection of earrings without mates hopefully to be used at a different time.
Once the earrings are made, they are put on a display card, priced and stored until they are ready to be presented at a show or they may need to be photographed to be offered online for sale.
Once I have put together a collection of choices, it is up to you to find the pair that you value the most.
I recently had a friend ask me “What’s the big deal with Pinterest?” So I was explaining to her what I like about it which is basically that it is a great way to collect images in one place, which is fabulous for anyone who is a “visual” type. I have a few of the standard boards that they suggest when you sign up and a couple that I have added. But definitely my favorite board is Scenes of Venice. I find these images to be inspirational and at the same time very calming. I love the way that the light and the buildings reflect off of the water. To capture these moments in a photograph is amazing and makes me feel like I am right there. I wanted to share one of my favorite photographs above by Ashleigh Hodges from her Etsy shop.
I have a confession to make and I feel very ashamed. When I first visited Venice, I couldn’t wait to leave it behind. I know, I hear the collective gasping of air. As our train pulled in I loved it because it is an amazing sight – a city built on water. But once we got there I guess it was too much for me. The water was dark and smelly, we were constantly getting lost in the maze of “streets”, our hotel room was crazy tiny and the food was sooo expensive and not even very tasty. This was not meeting my expectation of “the city of Romance”.
Fast forward about 20 years.
The last time I was in Venice, I didn’t want to leave. And I am trying to figure out how this happened. In those 20 years have I gained a new sense of adventure? A greater level of patience? Perhaps a less rigid expectation? Definitely an appreciation of some alone time with my husband! But visiting Venice now that maze of “streets” calls me into its’ mystery. Every bridge and every building connect me to the traditions of the ancient city. The tales of the ebb and flow of the water and their affects on the lives of the Venetians beg me to listen. Now it is a city of Enchantment. A place that beckons me to return again and again.