Keeping Busy

Hui.1 is officially 2

I officially have a 2 year old.  Eee gads.  

Labor Day has officially come and gone, along with the summer, but the lingering heat waves are still upon us until at least mid-October.  The cool, overcast mornings remind me of my days trekking back to Cal Poly Pomona for the start of the new calendar school year.  I haven’t stepped foot in an academic classroom in over 8 years, but the notion of the sun burning through the cloud cover mid-morning is permanently ingrained in my memory.  This weekend is supposed to hit the high 90’s, even in Orange County.  Despite the heat, I love this time of year.  It’s like hitting a metaphoric “reset” button and the seasons actually start changing.  This fashionista is ready for light sweater and hoodie weather so I can don my Doc Martens and go stomping around with the kids in tow.  Yes, I am the cool Mom who tries to make an effort to look like I didn’t just roll out of bed.

One of my bestsellers

On the jewelry end of things, the Laguna gallery is doing well.  I just dropped more traditional chainmaille bracelets and I need to get working on more re-stocks for the items that have already sold.  My best seller has been the tri-colored graduated necklace and earrings.  Nice to know one of my favorite earring designs is doing so well.  I just added some new inventory to XCVI Fashion Island and I’m planning to drop off a new style Rock on a Rope to XCVI Mission Viejo this weekend.  Both XCVI shops have said that larger focal point necklaces have been their bestsellers, so I’m testing the waters with a giant Rock on a Rope.  The beauty of this new design is that it can be worn long to compliment the fall season’s sweaters and tunics, but can also be worn short when desired.  The stone is large because it has to carry it’s own weight and stand out when worn long.  The biggest I have so far are 40mm fire agate coin shaped beads.  All the beads I found for this test project are perfect for the warmer fall tones.  XCVI Fashion Island has me tentatively scheduled for a trunk show in mid-October and XCVI Mission Viejo’s should be in early November.  Exciting, but also means I need to get my butt into gear about inventory.  It shouldn’t be too bad with Hui.2 getting bigger and not needing me to hold him all day long.  I also have some new ideas for streamlining production as well as chores around the house that I’ve been slowly implementing with great success.  So there is hope and motivation to get everything together and smoothly.  Let’s see how this goes.

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Opportunities, Traffic, and Tranquility

Playing in the studio

Hui.2 will be two months old next week. Where has these past two months gone? Mostly trying to get as much sleep as possible and squeezing in some creative time during those rare moments I can catch a break. But he’s getting used to the concept of not needing to be held all day long, which is really nice. Hui.1 still pokes at him in awe and occasionally too hard. But with two boys so close in age, they’ll be best friends and mortal enemies. I expect yelling, “don’t poke your brother” at both of them several times a day once Hui.2 is more active.  Hui.1 is already starting to realize Hui.2 fights back and he doesn’t like it.  I had both of them on my lap and Hui.1 slid off the rocker because Hui.2’s feet were touching him.  Hilarious.

The Laguna gallery wants more pieces and they want to give me a shelf in addition to being in their premier front display case. They’ve sold my best two chainmaille necklaces already, in addition to several earring and necklace sets. This is exciting and terrifying because it means I need to produce more inventory, but it also means more exposure and potentially more sales. At least it’s a great spot for the bigger, more intricate pieces. I also have to get my Perfect Rings polished and ready to go as well. The gallery wife told her husband it’s okay if I come in with two pounds of jewelry for them to sell. Like I said, exciting and terrifying.

Tranquility and Traffic

Despite the summer traffic trying to get into town, spending time in Laguna is a nice reprieve from my daily life of diapers and tantrums. I went down there for an artist demo this past Saturday for my first adventure away from the kids. There’s something magical to be said about the crisp salty air and relaxed atmosphere of the beach and all its tourists. I hope to spend more time there, grabbing a bite to eat at the local cafe before my allotted demo time. Sitting around making jewelry and smiling at potential customers who wander in is a great way to spend an afternoon. With all the distractions I have at home, having such a focused and set time to make jewelry definitely falls under the self-care category. Of course, it won’t be so bad at home once Hui.2 gets older, but for now, it’s a nice change in scenery. For a closer reprieve, I can take the family over to the Fullerton Arboretum for an afternoon adventure. There’s no traffic, free parking and admission, and full of wonderfully lush greenery, bubbling brooks and waterfalls. Jesse loves visiting there, Hui.1 loves frolicking amongst the plants and walking paths, and there are plenty of tranquil places for me to park and make jewelry. Maybe we’ll do that when Jesse.1 visits for Labor Day weekend.

Hui.1 found a stick by the stream

Doing consignment seems to be my best bet until I can leave for a whole day without worrying about Hui.2. Then there’s the notion of finding a one-day show to vend at, which there are plenty of, but it’s more a notion of finding the perfect fit. Pagan Pride Day is always a good bet considering my love of stones and both the staff and attendees remember me from previous years. The biggest thing I need to remember when I go back is to bring more sets of jewelry. I admit I’ve gotten better about making mix-and-match sets, so that’s a plus. The Chinese Knot Collection would be a big hit there with the price point and all the gorgeous stones.

All and all, the babies are happy and thriving and I am doing better than surviving. Which is better than most parents can say at this age. My main focus for now is beefing up my inventory to re-stock the shops (XCVI Fashion Island also needs a re-stock), as well as finishing two pieces for the grand collection photo of a new collection that has yet to be released. It’s pretty epic and full of chainmaille. Sometimes I feel as though I have too many mediums to work with (stones, Swarovski Crystal, and artisan glass beads), but it’s just another creative challenge to make it all work. Just like the babies, it’s all worthwhile in the end.

37 Weeks and Counting

Beautiful day at Laguna Beach for a jewelry drop off at Orange County Creatives

I’m officially at 37 weeks.

Hui.1 came just as I hit 37 weeks, but before I started going to the weekly OB appointments.  I’m doing my best to take it easy and hopefully let this baby stay awhile longer.  Sunday was the beginning of my maternity leave and I’ve been keeping busy by digging back to my roots with some basic chainmaille and coming up with some new designs for the summer and fall/winter collections.  It’s true that artists and fashion designers have to keep up with their seasonal collections at least 6 months in advance, if not more.  As crazy as it sounds, it really isn’t.  There needs to be time for photos to be taken and edited before anything else actually happens.  I’m still struggling with the whole concept, but only because I know this baby is going to take up most of my summer before I can truly get back into the swing of things (resting and baby come first).  But, I have my stores fully stocked and there’s always the US Postal Service if they need more jewelry.  Photos are another story, but I will have the summer collection posted and listed on Etsy sometime in July.  If you can’t wait, go check out these new Grace Bead bracelets at XCVI Mission Viejo, as well as some awesome lariats (see photo below).  Orange County Creatives has some adorable summer earrings and I’ll be sending more in as my earring pile gets bigger (follow them on Facebook for photos).

 

XCVI
Shops At Mission Viejo
555 The Shops At Mission Viejo
Mission Viejo, CA 92691
(805) 953-9340

Orange County Creatives
761 S. Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(978) 473-9658

For those of you who know and understand how important it is to be on maternity leave, don’t worry, I have been nesting and resting.  Check out my completed Hui Hui Nest.  I picked up the side table on Sunday.  It’s such a perfect fit.  I can even make chainmaille there now, because I’ve nested as much as possible and there’s nothing more to do but sit and wait.

And now we wait…

Hui.1 has been enjoying himself at least.  His new favorite thing to do while I’m working is sitting on my lap and turning my lamp on and off.  Now if only he’d stop poking beads and ring tins with the pliers like he’s trying to fork his food… but these are those precious moments that need to be treasured because before I know it, he’s going to feel like he’s too big for Mommy hugs and the like.  So I let him spill my rings everywhere and poke the beads with the pliers.

“Like sands through the hour glass…”

Putting Your Best Self Forward

I’ve finally hit that point in my pregnancy where I’m going “la la la”.  My sense of style is at its best and I make the effort to dress my best before I go out into the world.  Even on days when Hui.1 and I are just going to the store to pick up groceries, I make sure I at least have a pair of earrings on.  When we go out with the hubby, I go all out with the jewelry because the best marketing tool is being seen wearing it.  My favorite pieces of late have been the Single Stepping Stones necklace and various pieces from the Chinese Knot Collection.  Doing so has been so much fun and I couldn’t be prouder of either collections.  It also helps that XCVI has finally become more accessible with their pop up shops popping up all over Southern California.  You can read about how I discovered XCVI here.  You can also find a variety of the Chinese Knot Collection at their Fashion Island location if you’re in the Southern California area.

Since I have no control over my body until the end of June, there’s really no use in cursing at my flaws and trying to hide that Mommy pooch some of us know all too well.  I suppose it’s part of the pregnancy glow myth, but for me, I’m still 5 pounds under the weight I started at because of the gestational diabetes.  After this baby arrives, I’ve decided to stick with the diet, because let’s face it, our society eats too much processed food and sugar than we should.  It’ll be an 80/20 ratio… 80% of eating mindfully and 20% of “let’s party” because food needs to be enjoyed and savored instead of being treated like the enemy.  Yesterday I made a conscious decision that I never need to cook white potatoes again.  Give me some artisan bread or a bowl of rice to go with my meat and vegetables and I’m happy as a clam.  An 85° C bakery and cafe just opened a few miles away so we’ve been going once a week to pick up their baked goods because it’s inexpensive and just so darn tasty.  My mom was the one who always went to pick stuff up, so experiencing it on my own was beyond magical.

Putting your best self forward isn’t easy, but we have to show the world just how awesome we are.  Figure out what makes your inner self shine outwardly and the rest is a piece of cake.  Or in my case, a piece of bread.

Holidays 2013

The Laguna Beach gallery sold this necklace last week.  I’m really excited at the prospects of the future with this gallery.  It’s called Orange County Creatives and I’ve linked a Google Map to it for any locals who would like to check it out.  The owners are also excited about their future because they’ve only been open since the beginning of November and it’s been going well so far.  They’ve joined the Art Walk Association so they’ll be getting a trolley stop at the January 2nd and all future Art Walks.  Tourist and wedding season should spice things up a bit as they get in contact with the surrounding hotel concierges.

I’m really looking forward to where this venture ends up going.  One of the owners told me the straight up chainmaille and the chainmaille with my favorite glass beads get the most attention.  That makes me happy and scratches the itch to do nothing but make beautiful chains.  Now that we have a TV, I just need to find a good lap tray to do just that.

I also sold these earrings while I was there on Saturday doing a live artist demo.  A lovely Beaumont couple was spending the day on the coast and the wife was very happy to know I knew where Beaumont is.  These earrings are certainly my favorite pair ever.  It’s a perfect blend of 3 metals and 3 different sizes of barrels.  Perfect for everyday wear, dressing up and dressing down.  I need to make a whole bunch more of these just to keep them in stock.  And keep a pair for myself.

Allison and I got a ton of stuff done last week, so I can somewhat enjoy the holidays that are coming up.  I have a few projects to work on and get to her soonish, but it’s nice to cross off most of the things on the to-do list.  2014 is going to be an exciting year and I hope I can keep up with it all.  I haven’t checked in on XCVI, but I’ll wait until after Christmas.  Hopefully all goes well.  I need to start cranking out more jewelry to restock when needed.  Yup, lots to do and lots to be thankful for.  I’ll do a yearly recap before New Years.

XCVI, Here I Come!

It’s official.  I’m an artist consigning with XCVI’s Pop Up Shops.  My headquarters will be the Fashion Island store, starting with 3 lariat and earring sets.  I’m delivering them this week and I’m still a bit starry-eyed over the whole concept.  I’ve been following XCVI for years, ever since my family found their clothes in a boutique in Maui.  I’ve quite honestly hoarded whatever I could get of their clothes.  In the past few years, I’ve been able to buy more items here instead of in Hawaii.  It’s been great because I could live in their clothes all year round.  I just discovered their cord leggings to help keep me warm in the winter, as well as scoring two gorgeously chic leather jackets from their winter warehouse sale this past weekend.  With my adorable and oh-so-cozy black bow UGGs, I am seriously loving the extra chilly Southern California weather.  Their flowy and casual style also makes great maternity wear!  I loved wearing this XCVI top with such pretty lace and fringe to a friend’s bridal shower when I was 5 months along (notice how well it went with my jewelry too!).

Their clothes are designed and manufactured right here in the heart of Los Angeles and I am beyond honored to be able to work with them in their Pop Up Shops.  This is a dream I never knew I had, but the opportunity arose, I dived in head first.  With the help of social media, I caught the attention of the Retail Operations Manager who asked me to send him some pictures and prices.  Allison helped me to put together a proposal and I was a shoo-in right from the get go.  I’m in, I’m in, I’m in!!!